Fans of Food Network and the Hallmark Channel know Jonathan Bennett well. While the popular actor radiates on the screen, Bennett is accomplished in the kitchen. Anyone who has read The Burn Cookbook, a Mean Girls Parody Cookbook, appreciates that delicious food and good fun are the perfect pair in the kitchen.
Whether it is special occasion, a romantic evening or Valentine’s Day, dessert is always on the table. As more people have stepped into the kitchen, baking has been an escape. From that simple chocolate chip cookie to an elaborate layered cake, the delicious aromas from the kitchen can satisfy the biggest dessert fan.
Although the desserts might come from the kitchen, those sweet treats do not have to be filled with any negative food connotations. With a few simple swaps, any dessert recipe can have a little less sugar but still have all the delicious taste.
Recently, Bennett spoke with FoodSided romantic desserts, his recent engagement and why baking makes people happy.
FoodSided: Why do you think that baking and the sweet treats that we enjoy from it make people happy?
Jonathan Bennett: Baking makes people happy…it’s scientifically proven (I read once that the flavor of chocolate actually impacts our moods by possibly releasing serotonin.) Have you ever eaten something chocolatey and not felt happy? No. I also think during the pandemic everyone has been trapped at home, and having something to do with your hands that’s fun keeps people feeling a little less crazy.
FoodSided: Do you have a baking trick or hack that can make a novice baker feel more confident?
Bennett: I would say that there are no rules. Baking is a science so you have to follow some rules, but everything else is up to your own interpretation. On Food Network, everyone sees a lot of pretty food, but there are many days when the food doesn’t go as planned and we just edit those out. It also helps to have your tried-and-true favorites on hand at all times; for me it’s Lily’s Sweets baking chips and baking bars. So, don’t let baking scare you. Just go for it, even the best screw it up sometimes.
FoodSided: Since you have been part of several Food Network shows, do you think that all those baked treats have to be Instagram perfect or is it the thought that counts?
Bennett: Nothing has to be perfect when it comes to food or baking. That’s the fun of it, don’t be afraid to try new things and get out of your comfort zone. Just because it looks perfect on TV, doesn’t mean it was perfect every single time. What’s the worst thing that could happen? You order pizza?
FoodSided: Congrats on your recent engagement. Did you woo your finance with your baking skills?
Bennett: I absolutely did. One of the first things I made for Jaymes is my favorite chocolate covered popcorn from my cookbook, The Burn Cookbook. It’s hard not to fall in love with something like that. In honor of our engagement, I actually made the recipe with Lily’s Sweets white chocolate and re-named it POP THE QUESTION Popcorn. Get it?
FoodSided: What is your go-to romantic dessert for a special occasion?
Bennett: Jaymes definitely did not impress me with his baking skills. However, for special occasions in quarantine I have made him a lot of cakes, cookies and brownies (check out this BE MINE brownie skillet I’m making for Valentine’s Day) and he loves them!
Luckily Jonathan Bennett shared his BE MINE brownie skillet recipe.
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter
- 2 Organic Eggs
- 2 Tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
- ½cup Caster Sugar
- ¼cup plus 1 teaspoon All-Purpose Flour, Divided
- 1 Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolate Baking Bar
- 8 ounces Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolate Chips
- 1 teaspoon Baking Powder
- ¼ teaspoon Sea Salt
- Toppings: Fresh Raspberries or Strawberries
- Preheat the oven to 365 degrees. In a medium bowl over a gently simmering pan of water, melt the butter, 4 ounces of chocolate chips, and the Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolate Bar. Once melted, remove bowl of chocolate mixture from water and set aside.
- In a separate (large) bowl, gently stir together the eggs, vanilla and sugar. Slowly combine the chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature. In a medium bowl, sift the 1/4 cup of the flour, the baking powder and salt, then combine with the chocolate mixture.
- Coat the remaining 4 ounces of Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolate Chips with the last bit of flour (1 teaspoon) and then toss them into the chocolate mixture and stir. Should be a thick batter type consistency.
- Spoon batter into 2 or 3 cast iron skillets that are 3.5 inches in diameter or 1 larger skillet. Bake for 20–25 minutes or until a knife comes out of center clean!
- Top with fresh raspberries or strawberries and more Lily’s Sweets Dark Chocolate Chips
FoodSided: Having been in many Hallmark movies, do you think that some people put too much pressure on themselves to create the perfect romantic moment?
Bennett: To be honest, I think there’s no such thing as a perfect romance. Because love isn’t about being perfect, it’s about showing up with all of your baggage, dumping it all over the floor, and the person next to you helping you to unpack it, refold it, and put it where it belongs. The idea of the Hallmark perfect romance does exist in all of that, we just usually don’t have time to fit it all in to 90 mins.
No matter the picture perfect romantic moment, the most delicious dessert or just the happiness that baking brings, Jonathan Bennett inspires everyone to enjoy the sweet life. That idea is something that everyone can attain.
How does food and baking bring you happiness? If there a perfect recipe in your kitchen?