I just received a press release on the joys of baking. And I couldn’t agree more with the people of Maya, the homegrown brand of hotcake and cake mixes made by Liberty Commodities Corporation.
According to Maya, there are five reasons to love baking that have nothing to do with eating. Baking brings back good memories. Check. Baking doesn’t make you break the bank, as the saying goes. Check. It’s sort of like magic. It’s celebratory. It’s for sharing. Check. Check. Check.
Good memories, indeed, and good feelings, too. Whenever I bake brownies, I’m drawn back to all the times I’ve baked this chocolaty, nutty treat: when, as a teen home from boarding school, I attempted to bake my very first brownies, with edible but rather patchy results.
Or the time I’d bake brownies in our home in Syracuse, New York, with my then 5- and 3-year-old daughters as my little helpers.
The brownies baking in the oven always made the kitchen smell so good; the only thing better was feasting on the baked brownies afterwards.
And it’s true. Baking doesn’t make you break the bank. It’s inexpensive. Eggs, flour, butter —they’re all affordable and can be put together without an expensive electric mixer. Some of Maya’s mixes don’t even require a full-size oven. Maya has a special line of mixes specially prepared for the oven toaster.
What’s more, baking can actually start you off on a good money-making business. Think Mary Grace, Cravings and other bakeshops which all started out as a home business but are now multimillion-peso earners.
Baking is like magic, too, a scientific wonder in itself. How else explain the alchemy that happens when a slosh of flour, water, sugar, butter and eggs transforms into a magnificent butter cake or a soft and fluffy chiffon?
And naturally, when there are baked goods in the kitchen, it’s time to celebrate and time to share. In short, baking is a feel-good activity that brings happy and delicious results every time.
Though I usually like baking from scratch, I sometimes use mixes, too, especially when I need something fast. However, I often like to put my own personal touch on these mixes. You’d be surprised at how versatile these mixes can be. You can add nuts, fruits, even sour cream and chocolate chips on cake mixes to make them even richer and more decadent.
Here’s my take on Maya’s Decadence Fudge Brownie Mix. Using the mix as base, I added some of my favorite ingredients. The maraschino cherries, nuts and chocolate chips give these brownies fruity, nutty and chocolaty flavors all in one bite. It’s brownie overload.
1 package Maya Decadence Fudge Brownie Premium Mix (available in supermarkets)
¼ c water
1/3 c vegetable oil
1½ c maraschino cherries, well drained
1 c roughly chopped cashew nuts
½ c semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 350ºC (180ºF). Grease the bottom of an 8-inch square pan, then line it with wax paper. In a bowl, combine Maya’s Decadence Fudge Brownie Mix, water, vegetable oil and egg. Mix until well blended (you can do this by hand or with an electric mixer).
Wipe the cherries well with paper towels, then slice them in halves. Add the cherries, nuts and chocolate chips to the mixture. Pour into prepared pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool, then cut into squares. Makes about 16-20 brownies.