Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Mississippi Mess-Up

We had a group of B.Y.U. students over for Family Night this week. I was in charge of treats. I decided to make Mississippi Mud in the Dutch oven out in the backyard. We got the charcoal going, I mixed it up, got it into the Dutch oven, put the briquettes under and on top, and went inside and set the timer. When the timer went off, I went out and removed the coals.

Mississippi Mud is supposed to be chocolate cake with its own built-in hot fudge topping. We were going to have ice cream, whipped cream, and maraschino cherries with it. Make sundaes out it it.

When it was time for the treats, I lifted the lid off the Dutch oven. I've probably made this twenty times over the years. I'm not sure what went wrong, but I think maybe the briquettes were old and didn't give off enough heat. In front of me was a big pot of chocolate soup.

Did this stop the B.Y.U. students? Heck, No! They were good sports. They spooned it over their ice cream, then added the whipped cream and the cherries. These are college students, and this is free food.

Later that evening, after everybody had left and I was cleaning up, I was contemplating the best way to get rid of the remaining soup. I decided to try to salvage it. I poured it into a 9 x 9 baking dish and put it in the oven. What came out of the oven was fabulous. This dense, moist, chocolate cakelike-but-not confection. I ate some that night. I had more for breakfast. And every time I passed through the kitchen, I was compelled to cut just a tiny square and pop it in my mouth. Okay, here's the real confession: cut a tiny square, squirt whipped cream on it, place one maraschino cherry on top, then pop it in your mouth. Repeat often throughout the day.

So here's the recipe for Mississippi Mess-Up. The ingredients are the same as for Mississippi Mud (Jolene Marshall's recipe), but the directions are different.

4 eggs, beaten
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup milk
1/4 cup oil

Mix in a large bowl, beating vigorously by hand until smooth.

For the original recipe, you would now pour the above mixture into a well oiled or foil-lined Dutch oven. But we're not going to.

2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 1/2 cups hot tap water

Mix brown sugar and cocoa together. For the original recipe, you would sprinkle this mixture over the cake batter in the Dutch oven, and then slowly pour the water over the top. You don't mix it up at all. You would then put the lid on, put 24 coals on top and 6 coals underneath and let it bake for 30 minutes. But we're going to go ahead and mix the brown sugar and cocoa mixture and the hot water right into our cake batter. Mix it well. Soup. Then pour it into a 9 x 13 baking dish and put it in the oven at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes. Maybe fifty. When it tried this again, the timer went off after 45 minutes but I missed it. I'm really not sure how long it was in there. Just check it. Mine cracked a little bit on top.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I need to make a quick run to the store. We're out of whipped cream and maraschino cherries.

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