Anne's Kitchen: Gadgets, grease and ramblings from Anne


Looking for a spring break treat to make while school's out, or a sweet for garden club? Anne Freeze, of Columbus, will be making brownie batter cookies. A recipe is included today.

Looking for a spring break treat to make while school's out, or a sweet for garden club? Anne Freeze, of Columbus, will be making brownie batter cookies. A recipe is included today. Photo by:


Anne Freeze



After my last column about kitchen gadgets I've taken a second to think about each utensil I pick up. I had cleaned out some drawers for the arts council yard sale and gathered together all of my spatulas (five) and food processors (four) and such to weed out what wasn't necessary. It's funny how you can talk yourself into just about anything if you aren't careful. Take those five spatulas: one is designed for fish. It is long and supposedly it is made to get under the whole fish filet so it won't break. I lived a long time without one, and now that I have it I rarely use it. Then there is a plastic one for nonstick surfaces (most of mine are already scratched); one that is kind of heavy and looks like something from a diner grill; and a regular metal egg turner; and then there is one of my favorites. The useful end is about 2-by-2 inches and only 5 inches or so long. I love it for frying one egg in my little iron skillet, and it is perfect for getting cookies off of the pan.  


As for the food processors, well, one is the earliest model of the Cuisinart with the bowl held together with duct tape. It was my mother's and is very dear to me. I have a Robot Coupe with only one speed and a monster engine. I rarely pull it out. Then I have the little one that some people use to chop nuts or small amounts of things, but I mostly forget I have it. Lastly, I have a regular sized one that is most used. As you can tell, downsizing is going to be hard for us!  


I haven't been cooking much, although I did make chicken chili and cornbread for someone this week. The cornbread was made decadent by the addition of bacon grease from Benton's bacon (a sweet gift from a friend). Benton's is owned by Allan and Sharon Benton and located in Madisonville, Tennessee. It began in 1947 and continues today curing hams and bacon with a hands-on approach. Nowadays we call it "artisanal."  


The bacon comes smoked or unsmoked. I'm not a fan of smoked meats, but this bacon is so unique and the smokiness is more alluring than overwhelming. I cooked part of my bacon gift a month ago, and Terry urged me to save the grease. I've used it to flavor green beans and cornbread and I know I'll use it many more times. You can find Benton products online at I saw on Facebook that Allan has recently been presented with the Governor's Art Award by Gov. Bill Haslam of Tennessee. Allan is the first foodways recipient in the history of the award. 


Thinking about Benton's bacon brings to mind Cruze buttermilk. I have only tasted farm buttermilk once, and it was from the Cruze family farm at an event I was attending in Oxford. The dairy farm is located in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the milk is available in limited quantities in Whole Foods-type stores and mom-and-pop stores in Tennessee. The cows are pasture-fed 365 days a year, and the milk is not homogenized. The buttermilk was thick with flecks of butter in it. I brought some home to my friend, Ann Hardy, and we drank a glass in her kitchen. Sure would love to have some more. 


I have two 14-year old girls staying with me, and we are going to make brownie batter cookies and raspberry bars for me to take to a garden club meeting. Let me say that I have never made these cookies before, but the recipe is from my best friend, Trisha Yearwood (not really, but she would be if she knew me), so how can it go wrong? At the end of the week I will be cooking osso buco from shanks I bought at a Christmas party auction this past December. The meat comes from Jay and Lori Chancellor's beef in Brooksville, and I'm looking forward to my first foray with this cut of meat and this venerable recipe. I'll report on it. 








2 sticks butter, softened 


1 1/4 cups granulated sugar  


3/4 cup dark brown sugar  


1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate, melted  


3 large eggs, at room temperature  


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour  


1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder  


1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder  


1 1/4 teaspoons salt  


1 tablespoon vanilla extract  


1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips  




  • Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. 


  • In a stand mixer with the beater blade attachment, beat the butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and chocolate until smooth. Add the eggs and mix until fully combined.  


  • Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt in a bowl and add slowly to the batter until mixed. Add the vanilla and fold in the chocolate chips. 


    Drop by generous spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack to cool. 





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