The creaming method refers to whipping or paddling sugar into butter until the butter is light and airy followed typically by egg, flavorings and flour.  It’s used for cakes and cookies that don’t need lots of leavening from the egg–chocolate chip cookies, pound cake.  And brownies.

When is the creaming method for Brownies especially unpleasant?  When they’re also Fryed.

Browns 7, Steelers 34 (a score, bad as it is, that scarcely describes this butt-ugly performance).

If you live in Cleveland, apparently, you’ll have to make your own brownies.

Not being a pastry cook, I use Mark Bittman‘s brownie recipe (stay away from the boxed stuff).  The better the chocolate you use, the better the brownie.

Bittman’s Non-Cleveland Brownies

Time: 40 minutes

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted or unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt if you use unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional.

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine chocolate and butter in a small
saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate is
just about melted, remove from heat, and continue to stir until mixture
is smooth. Meanwhile, grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. If you like,
also line it with waxed or parchment paper and grease that.
Transfer mixture to a bowl, and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a
time. Add flour (and salt and vanilla if you are using them), and stir
to incorporate. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain.
3. Pour into pan, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Yield: About 1 dozen brownies.


78 Wonderful responses to “Monday Morning Pastry Reflections: The Creaming Method”

  • Doodad

    I will pass this on to the daughter, our pastry chef around here. I stink at it.

    At least you don’t have to pull for the Falcons. I guess I should just cook a cornish hen every game day. That is about how formidable they are.

  • Scotty

    But is that worse than when a team loses by a last second Field Goal, hiding a dismal performance and the loss of four players (three starters) to injury – one serious.

    Denver 15, Buffalo 14.

    Deep fried, like a Chicken Wing . . .

  • Charlie

    Everything about the Browns is worse than everything about your team. Trust me.

  • Frances

    Cool on a rack before cutting? Sure, that’ll happen. Just give me a spoon and a glass of milk.

    Sorry about the Browns. At least the whole rest of the country doesn’t hate your team no matter what. Go Skins? :/

  • Tags

    I can’t help noticing that the same ingredients for the creamed brownies would also be fitting in a Modell Mud Pie.

    I’m just sayin’.

  • Adrienne

    My poor husband has been a Bills’ fan for 30+ years. The late ’80s were especially hard. He actually turned off the game yesterday because he couldn’t watch his team snatch defeat from the Jaws of victory once again.

    My Steelers, however, rocked like a mighty thing that rocketh. At least Browns fans can mend their broken dreams with baked goods.

  • Carri

    ummm…pardon my nit picking but the only thing being creamed in your post is the Browns! You aint doing no creaming in those brownies!

  • Tags

    The reason the ladies never tell the emperor he’s naked is that they prefer him that way.

  • ruhlman

    carri, ok, it’s a bit muddy in this recipe, so to clarify, technically creaming is paddling butter and sugar which aerates the butter. with these brownies your creaming the sugar with the fat (which happens to be chocolate and butter), but now, there’s not a whole lot of aeration going one. Nor was there from either of our quarterbacks.

  • cafelady

    I know how you feel, I’m a Dolphin fan. I’m drowning my sorrows in brownies.

  • Emily

    Creaming + Brown(ie)s + Fryed. Is that some kind of football reference? The kind that makes me want to throw my laptop at your head?

  • Lenn

    As a Steelers fan, I have to say that I think my son (who is 7 months old) made a Cleveland Brown in his diaper just before kick off.

  • Tags

    So you got stuffed by the Steelers. Welcome to the club. You won’t be the last team this happens to this year. If you get reamed by the Raiders, though, my heart goes out to you.

  • Susan

    Oh, how joyous I feel to be a Cowboys fan. Being a woman I have strange reasons for liking my teams, there’s the Manning connection (unless they are playing the ‘Boys), Green Bay (Austin area kicker, still like the Steelers. College: Texas Tech, Texas, South Carolina, and any team coached by a Bowden.

    Brownie recipe sounds good, I like to stir in some chunky bittersweet before putting in the oven.

  • Tana

    I’m so glad I am not monogamous with my Football Love. I spread it around: I love the Patriots and the Niners, am crushed by Michael Vick’s situation, and love Steve McNair and Ronde Barber and a whole bunch of other great players. Except Peyton “Crybaby” Manning. I cheer every time he’s on his butt.

    Sorry about your team, Mr. Ruhlman.

  • Alan

    Brownies are indeed a salve needed by Browns fans everywhere today. At least they’ll taste better than what was left in our mouths yesterday, namely bitter defeat. We should just stop buying what they’re selling, namely substandard, mediocre football. That’s what we do when a car doesn’t live up to expectations, or a home appliance doesn’t – we stop patronizing that manufacturer. Besides, it would free up lots of time on a Sunday to do something meaningful, like make a galantine, or pork belly confit.

    GO Br … umm, maybe next year.

  • Neal Langham

    That’s no way to be Alan.
    I like the Browns because
    no matter how lousy a team they put on the field, the people of Cleveland always cheer as
    loud or louder than the fans of the best team in the league.
    You guys should be Dog Pounding it.
    P.S. Go Cowboys!

  • parkbench

    Cheer up, Ruhlman. Everybody’s been beating the snot out of my Raiders, which *is* the most hated team in the NFL. You’ve at least got something to look forward to, however briefly!


  • charlie

    Susan…sorry but you are not allowed to be a fan of the Cowboys, AND any member of the Manning family, AND the Packers AND the Steelers.

    The Cowboys and Steelers are sworn enemies! Is nothing sacred anymore?

    I feel dirty just reading that post.

  • Ken

    I was at the game…and in addition to the Browns coming apart ONE MINUTE into the game, I purchased Nacho’s and Cheese at the Concession stand…only to find that the chips are STALE.

    In week one?

    Ruhlman, you need to send your books to Browns Stadium.

  • Tags

    I hope you folks dry your tears in time to see Charlie Frye throw that fifth (and winning) touchdown against the Cowboys this February.

    (If it’s against the Eagles, all bets are off)

  • French Laundry at Home

    I loved it when Marky Mark (sans Funky Bunch) played for the Eagles last summer. I’m still mad that he wouldn’t take off his shirt during all those late-night scrimmages with his friends. Oh, wait. That was a movie. But still. He could’ve taken off his shirt.

    GO EAGLES! Amish country represent!

  • Bob delGrosso

    It’s a bad day indeed when you have to rely brownie recipe and a mediation on the creaming method to pull you out of the doldrums. The next time you run into a day like that may I suggest you dial your iPod to Led Zeppelin and hop on a bike?

  • Snoozer

    Did I read correctly? Crushed by Michael Vick’s situation? Do you see him as somehow deserving of sympathy? Because if there were any real justice, he’d be subjected to the treatment he meted out to those dogs.

  • kristin

    Glad the Colts won on Thursday against New Orleans. BTW, Ruhlman why bitch about the Browns when your baseball team is actually FINALLY good enough for post season play? You will have plenty of time to bitch and complain about the Browns, meanwhile revel in the thoughts that the Indians are doing well right now,like you know, top of the Central Division well, which something that I know you are not really that used too. Hopefully for your sake they will make it out of the Division though, not that I will care, I am a loyalist to that team in Detroit.

  • veron

    Brownies are my ultimate comfort food. And yes no boxed mixes,please – they always have a chemically after taste to them.

  • artnlit

    Oh my poor Ruhlman and co. Quite a spanking you received from my Steelers. Perhaps add some ‘special’ ingredients to your brownie mix a la Bourdain. That could take some of the sting out (or at least numb it!). And the Eagles? YUCK; even worse! LOL. But I love brownies, so thanx for the recipe.

  • casa

    Ruhlman I thought the Non-Cleveland=Non-creamed. Is it to early to go with “The Mighty Qunn”, that’s the question.

  • brandon_w


    I’m cheering it all this week because the ability to do so could end abruptly. I feel bad for you Browns fans, one week in and you already have to say “their’s always next year”.

  • Jennie/Tikka

    Oh great – now all I can think about are brownies!! Thanks, Ruhlman!

    Condolences for the Browns….I’ll have my own sports-related issues to deal with shortly when hockey season gets underway. I’ve got the Cubs of the hockey world to deal with….the L.A. Kings – who are juxtaposed to the Stanley Cup-holding Anaheim Ducks.


    Brownies….must……have…..brownies. Can….not…..focus…..on….anything….else…..

  • Mer

    Oh please. Stop your whining. Things could be worse – you could be stuck with the Wolverines and the Lions.

    Answer me this – why don’t brownies cooked in a glass baking dish set as well as those cooked in metal?

  • Uncle Hulka

    The Eskimo (Mighty Quinn, correct?) better be good, because if he’s not, we’re going to regret not having a first round pick next year…Based on early returns, it may end up being #1 overall!

    I’m just glad I didn’t pull the trigger on a brand-spankin’-new Charlie Frye jersey for $235 last Fall.

  • gb500

    Uncle Hulka, would you like me to pick you up a new Seahawks jersey? Better colors —

    And while I am from Seattle, Go Buckeyes! Can’t wait to see UW lose.

  • Kara

    Thaks for the Non-Brownie recipe. Made them last night, with walnuts ‘cuz I’m nutty like that. They were delicious.

    I have to say that I didn’t believe I’d get 12 brownies out of the recipe, so I cut them into nine pieces. The simple, delicious little squares were so rich! Next time, I’ll keep to the suggested serving size.

    Oh, and please stop crying about the Browns. My Raiders lost to the freaking Lions, OK? The Lions!

  • Clarkehead

    Charlie Frye – traded to Seattle today. And they re-sign Ken Dorsey. And it’s still too hot to bake brownies. Ugh. 🙁

    If there is a God looking down on the Browns this afternoon, Brady Quinn will be named Sunday’s starter, and Fall will come quickly so I can try this recipe.

  • RI Swampyankee

    Cheer up Ruhlman. These things go in cycles. While my beloved Patriots have done well in these Belichik years, well enough to keep me happy into my dotage, I remember when they were the doormat of the AFC.

  • RI Swampyankee

    That said, the Celebrated Mr. B wouldn’t happen to be a Jets fan, would he?

  • charlie

    all you people saying stop crying, quit bitching, cheer up, my team this, my team that…you don’t understand Clevelanders.

    Red Sox fans, Cubs fans, etc are lightweights when it comes to despair.


  • Uncle Hulka

    Well said, Charlie.

    Being a Browns fan relegates us to a whole different level of pain.

    And thanks for the offer, gb! But I’m true blue, er, I mean, Brown and Orange.

    In fact, my wife, a born and bred Chicagoan, said upon seeing the Browns uniforms, “Geez, they look like Burger King employees.”

    No respect, I tell ya.

  • Tags

    Season’s gone, it’s just week one
    already down the drain
    I wish those pipes just this one time
    would suck away the pain

    All the little kiddies on Santa’s knees beggin
    Santa bring, Cleveland rings,
    surf scum, barmaids, tattooed punks and scarred babes beggin

    Santa bring, Cleveland rings, Santa bring, Cleveland rings,
    Santa bring, Cleveland rings, Santa bring, Cleveland rings

    It’s Modell’s fault, but he’s not here,
    revenge would be so silly,
    and we don’t want no also rans,
    like every year in Philly

    All the dog pounders with Kielbasa on their breath beggin
    Santa bring, Cleveland rings,
    So save us from dying our thousandth death we’re beggin

    Santa bring, Cleveland rings, Santa bring, Cleveland rings,
    Santa bring, Cleveland rings, Santa bring, Cleveland rings

    Last time we’re champs was in ’64
    we had Jim Brown running up the score
    made Dirty Dozen, walked out the door
    and we haven’t won anymore

    Oh, Santa bring, Cleveland rings, Santa bring, Cleveland rings,
    Santa bring, Cleveland rings, Santa bring, Cleveland rings

  • Cruisin'Chris

    Ok – I’m finally going to post here after lurking. I spent the first first minute of the new football season here in Chicago anchored in front of the Ticket realizing that this was not going to be THE YEAR – again. Yesterday, as I was walking through Cleveland Hopkins, I overheard a conversation at the shoe shine stand – “some folks are talking about whether they’ll make the play-offs this year – we’re wondering whether we’ll win a game.” That about sums it up. It was good to be home, though. Also good to see Bourdain sporting that Cleveland t-shirt on Monday’s episode in Buenos Aires (my e-pat home).

    Oh – and to the previous poster – the Browns situation is far more dire than Britney’s. I think that brings it home for all you non-Clevelander, non-Browns fans.

    Oh, and Pittsburgh didn’t “rock.” It was an incredibly easy win because Cleveland didn’t show up – not because Pittsburgh showed any particular genius.

    I guess the best Brownie treat I’ll get this season comes from your recipe, Ruhlman.

  • Nicole

    At least the Indians are doing well….cheer up mate. The Brady Quinn era will sooon be starting.

  • Maura

    Bob del Grosso said:

    “It’s a bad day indeed when you have to rely brownie recipe and a mediation on the creaming method to pull you out of the doldrums. The next time you run into a day like that may I suggest you dial your iPod to Led Zeppelin and hop on a bike?”

    Bob, you’re breaking my heart. A brownie can solve almost any problem. Although having a brownie and listening to Led Zeppelin could probably set you right for a week.

  • Claudia

    Sorry about the Browns, Michael. Would the creaming recipe for these brownies be “especially unpleasant” because they are bittersweet brownies? (I’m not talking about the unsweetened chocolate, either!)

    And you’re both right, Bob and Maura. Brownies solve almost any known problem in the universe – especially if you whip up a batch AND eat them, to a little Zep on the pod. But no bike, Bob. Bike? Doesn’t that sound like . . . EXERCISE? Like . . . (gasp!) . . . a treadmill? (!) (Too frightening!)

  • Tags

    If I knew you guys had Joe Jurevicius and Kellen Winslow I wouldn’t have worried so much about you. I think you’ll be just fine this year. Not much scoring last week, but the Steelers don’t come back until November. Plenty of time to practice until then.

  • Tags

    Today’s game just makes the dawgs that much hungrier when the castaways come back next week. I’m predicting a Cleveland win in Cleveland.

  • Tags

    The good news is the Browns scored more points against New England than any other team this year. The bad news is that those teams are the NY Jets, San Diego, Buffalo and Cincinnati.

    If NE hold Dallas to less than 17, you may be able to stake a claim.

  • Tags

    Anyway, Lebron, hold on to your lucky Yanks cap for just one more game, please.

  • Tags

    All right, where’s that recipe for victory brownies?

    How about habaneros as a napalm substitute?

  • Tags

    I’m speechless. I was watching my Mom, she was getting restless watching football, so I changed to a movie when I was resigned the Browns would lose. The movie was about Helen Keller.

    What an eye-opener to switch to the NBC halftime report after the movie to find out the Browns had won!

    I hope you have the kind of good luck on the road the Browns had this weekend.

  • Tags

    Finally, a game you don’t have to be medicated for. Still, I kinda miss the drama.

    Some people would call that addiction. I guess I can thank the pre-2007 Eagles for that.

  • Tags

    Do you think Cleveland is close enough to Kentucky to coax Buddy Ryan out of retirement?

    His motto alone is enough to at least hire him as a defensive consultant…

    “Meet at the quarterback”

  • Tags

    Not a bad defensive effort, considering that those guys were a heinie hair away from beating Dallas.

  • Tags

    I shoulda prayed harder.

    Go Colts!

    I hope the Colts fans scream so loud that Tennessee tightens up.

  • Tags

    The delicious agony of the long, sinuous march to the Cleveland Clinch continues until the last drop of tormented blood is squeezed from the anguished fans.

    There is no joy in Clinchville until the last seconds of this mighty season have struck out.

    Then come the playoffs. And dare I say February? The worst that could happen is prime-time football in Cleveland next season, and that sounds pretty good.

    It’s been a long time since a quarterback named Anderson has propelled an Ohio team into the playoffs.

  • Tags

    OK, Lord,

    your faithful Browns fans are hanging by a heinie hair.

    Now’s the chance to show us you love us.

    Please don’t let us down,