I sit and watch masterful chefs on television who whip up concoctions that are museum-worthy. It scares me, and I know how to cook, so I can’t imagine what they do to the novice cook. But unless you, and I, get into the kitchen, wrap that apron around the waist and get our hands dirty, we’ll spend our days watching, and not doing. That’s why I’m writing this blog, and my cookbook…”The ‘If You Can Read You Can Cook’ Book.”

If you can read, you are capable of creating your own masterpieces. The key is to read slowly; to understand what is taking place and how the ingredients mix together. Read every recipe twice when you’re using it for the first time. The first read whets your taste buds. The second read gives the process order. Like science, which cooking is, working through a recipe reveals a magic of its own.

My friend Marlene Scher dragged me to pie class because I was afraid of dough. Mine were always major disasters. One 3-hour session forever dashed my fear and now I relish getting my hands into that bowl and feeling the silky loveliness that a well-balanced dough renders. And I can even recognize when the dough is, or isn’t, well-balanced now, and I know what to do to improve it!

After the pie dough hurdle, I faced another fear:  chocolate ganache. You know, that chocolate coating that seems to hug the sides of a cake, or shimmers on top of a brownie, but it doesn’t look or taste like frosting?  That’s ganache. And all it is is heavy whipping cream and semi-sweet chocolate bits.

Make a pan of brownies. While they’re baking, follow the recipe below for the ganache. When the brownies are done, turn them out on a cooling rack. When they’re cool, and when the ganache is cool, marry them!  Your family will LOVE you!  Everyone you share a brownie with will LOVE you! But best of all — You’ll LOVE you– and you’ll never be afraid again!

Fear will keep you out of the kitchen and on the couch. So, get up, go into the kitchen, and cook.


Heavenly sweetness streaming down from above.
Heavenly sweetness streaming down from above.

                CHOCOLATE GANACHE

This incredible sheet of chocolate goodness is what takes brownies from edible to sensational. It’s heavenly, chocolate-y, sinful and your family will argue over that last piece!  Oh – it can be used on cakes, as a dip for cookies, for pastry and tarts. Anything that would be enriched by a glaze of chocolate can only get better!

Prep: 10 minutes/ Cook: 10 min./ Ready: 20 min.
What You Need:
250g. bittersweet chocolate pieces
265ml heavy whipping cream
1 tbsp. dark rum (totally optional. Any flavoring is delightful)

Utensils and Tools:
Measuring cup
Kitchen scale
Measuring spoons
Medium bowl
Small sauce pan
Cake rack
Parchment paper or baking tray

Mis en Place: All ingredients

Measure the chocolate in a medium bowl and set aside.

Heat the cream in the small sauce pan using medium heat. Don’t let it come to a rolling boil, just the start of a boil. If it starts to climb up the sides of the pan, quickly remove it from the heat until it settles down again. Reduce the heat.

Chocolate. Heated Cream.
Whisk the heated cream. Put the chocolate pieces into the cream and whisk until they’re all melted. The ganache should be liquid and look like a silky glaze.

Add the rum, or flavoring of your choice. Or not.

Let the ganache cool, whisking occasionally.

Brownie Meets Ganache.
Put the brownies on a cooling rack that’s been placed over parchment paper or a baking tray. If you’re using parchment, turn the edges up so the ganache won’t spill over onto the counter.

After 20 minutes, give the ganache a quick whisk and then pour it over the slab of brownies that are sitting on a baking rack with parchment paper below. Using the pastry knife, spread it from the center to the edges and let it roll off the edges onto the parchment below. Let the entire masterpiece cool for several hours before cutting into the heavenly goodness.

For frosting, let the ganache cool until it’s thick. Whip it with the whisk until it thickens more and becomes fluffy.

Your life will never be the same!

Love at first bite!
Love at first bite!


    • Here’s the secret to the best brownies….

      There is only one boxed product that’s allowed in my kitchen…Duncan Hines brownies!

      Buy the darker chocolate mix and follow the directions – no variations! I use an 8×8 pan with squared edges (bought it in the UK but now I see that you can get these straight-sided pans here. The brownies get some height in this pan, as opposed to using a larger one.

      Line the pan with parchment paper, going both ways and using two pieces so that all the sides are covered with the parchment. If you have problems with the sides staying put, smear a bit of butter in the pan before putting the parchment in. The paper will stick and using it averts the crispy, overdone edges. And you can use the parchment ends to lift the brownies out of the pan and onto a cooling rack.

      Happy Cooking!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.