Jacob’s Cookbook

27 Apr

A brownie recipe from Jacob's new cookbook

I know I’ve mentioned it in the past, but I meet some amazing people in my job at the newspaper, and I mean really amazing. So often I come home after a story, completely stunned by what I’ve just learned about the person I’ve just interviewed. Two weekends ago I had an interview that completely blew me away both as a parent and as someone who loves food and cooking.

Two weekends ago I met Jacob.

Jacob is 14. He’s an eighth grade student and he’s about to publish a cookbook as part of a project he has to do for school. The proceeds from his cookbook will benefit the local community food bank.

That in itself is amazing, but that’s not what blew me away, actually.

Here’s what did: when I interviewed Jacob I asked him where he got all of his recipes from for his cookbook.

His answer: he made them up.

Jacob has not only created a cookbook at age 14, which will benefit a worthy cause, but he created all of the recipes himself from scratch, including how much of each ingredient for each recipe. He created the cookbook page layouts, made all of the recipes, took all the photos of all the foods, and typed them all up himself.

I just about fell out of my chair.

I said to Jacob, “That. is. amazing.”

Jacob with his cookbook before it goes to print.

Jacob said he knew that, but I don’t think he REALLY knew that. I mean I don’t think I could just MAKE UP a recipe (never mind a cookbook full of them) and figure out all the stuff that has to go in it, all by myself and I am FORTY YEARS OLD-I’ve been cooking for several of his lifetimes and I couldn’t do that!!

I sat and interviewed Jacob for about 45 minutes or so, and my article about him can be seen here.

More importantly though, I have one of Jacob’s dessert recipes right HERE on my blog!  That’s right, he was kind enough to share one of his recipes with me and one with the newspaper. I am so glad that the one I have is a dessert recipe, since apparently Jacob and I both have a sweet tooth.

Here it is, Jacob’s recipe which he created himself for Orange Zest Brownies.


“As most people know, opposites attract. Well it is the same for flavors in food. A citrus flavor will go great with a sweet and creamy flavor. That is why orange chocolate brownies are perfect! Enjoy!” -Jacob Gebhart,  Amazing Appetizers and Decadent Desserts

Easy ingredients!



2 oz. unsweetened chocolate

1/3 cup shortening (I used 1/3 cup butter instead.)

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1/2 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 TBSP orange zest

3 oz. cream cheese

1-2 TBSP milk

2 and 1/2 cups confectioner’s sugar

1 TBSP orange zest

The orange zest gives it a great flavor.



Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray.

Heat chocolate and shortening in a 2 quart sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly until melted.

Remove from heat, add sugar, eggs, vanilla, mix well. Then add remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Spread batter in prepared pan evenly.

Bake for 25 minutes or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.

Make sure to cool completely before cutting and frosting.


With an electric mixer, on medium speed, combine cream cheese and 1 TBSP of milk.

Add sugar, a little at a time, beat after each addition. (I added the last TBSP of milk halfway through as it got thick.)

Then add the orange zest and combine.

Cut cooled brownies into 9 pieces. Spread each square with orange cream frosting.


I found the recipe very easy to follow and quick and easy to make, just how I like my recipes to be! If you’re a taster when you bake, I highly recommend tasting the batter after the sugar is added but before the eggs. SO GOOD. I also tasted the cream cheese frosting before and after the zest was added, to see just how much the zest changed the flavor, and I was amazed at what a little bit of zest can do both to the texture (it was immediately creamier) and to the taste (it did now have that hint of orange flavor in it.)

For the orange zest, I used the zest from two medium oranges and split it between the batter and the frosting. It did work out to be just about one whole tablespoon in each, I’d say.

I opted to serve my frosting “on the side” as optional because with all the different likes and don’t likes at my house,  I didn’t want anyone not to want the brownies because they had “stuff” on them.

I also took half the batch to a friend’s house one afternoon and we enjoyed them with our coffee.

Great job Jacob, thanks for sharing your recipe with me! It truly was a decadent dessert!

Anyone who is interested in purchasing Jacob’s cookbook, Amazing Appetizers and Decadent Desserts, when it’s published, please send an email to Jacob at jayg@cox.net.

3 Responses to “Jacob’s Cookbook”

  1. Sue Meyerson April 28, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    I LOVE orange and chocolate! So, I will definitely be trying this one! Thanks!

    • Jacob Gebhart April 29, 2012 at 4:16 pm #

      If anyone wants a copy, there are limited amounts of the books so email me soon!


      All proceeds go to the Rhode Island Food Bank.

  2. Jo-Lyn May 23, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Yummy and so easy!!

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