The saga is almost over. Over the course of this epic series, we’ve made risotto and oatmeal, scrambled eggs and delicious stir fries, hearty stews and even a few cups of rice. Now, in the final episode, we’ll cross the last frontier. Plug in your rice cooker and get ready to bake.
Yes, that’s right. Bake. Dutch-oven style.
Until now, I’ve been your fearless, expert guide to the world of rice cookers. For this installment, however, I’m pushing my own limits, and trying something entirely new.
I’d seen rumors online of Rice Cooker bread and cake. Still, I was hesitant. I’m not the best baker even with a conventional oven, so I wasn’t too confident about pouring a mass of dough into a pot. I had bad mental images of cakes collapsing when I took off the lip, and cakes turning out all mushy and gross in the center.
I decided to start with brownies. Foolproof, brownies, if you subscribe to my school of thought – crunchy, gooey, chewy, burnt-black, or even half raw, a brownie is better than no brownie at all.
So, what exactly did I do, and how did it go?
It was a crazy success. The result was better than I’d dared hope, and the whole process was faster and easier than I’d expected as well.
Essentially, all I had to do was pour the batter into the pan, switch it on, and wait. When the rice cooker got too hot and switched itself off, I waited 4-5 minutes for it to cool down, and then switched it back on for another cycle. To my surprise, I only had to reset it like this one time. The total time from prep to enjoying the first brownie took about 1 1/2 hours… actually not that bad considering that it takes about 45 minutes even using a conventional oven.
When I ate the first brownie, still molten-hot from the cooker, it was extremely soft and gooey. I think it was all this-side-of-done, but only just. Now, liking my brownies gooey, I was fine with this. But I wasn’t sure it had cooked evenly all the way through in the cooker, and I was prepared to write a mixed review, warning off those who like their brownies well done.
I left the brownies out overnight to cool, however, and when I got them ready the next morning to take to the potluck, I realized that they had undergone a remarkable change. Everything had firmed up nicely throughout, and the edges, once slid carefully out of the cooker, were delightfully crispy and chewy. In short, they were perfect, normal brownies.
At dinner, I got compliment after compliment about how good they tasted. (Thanks for that, Betty Crocker! ) No one could believe I’d cooked them in a rice cooker.
Most versatile appliance ever to hit the market? It’s a bold claim, but yes. Yes, I think so.