Showing posts with label brownies. Show all posts
Showing posts with label brownies. Show all posts

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Black & White Brownies, Because Chocolate Comes in Many Shades

I've never been a huge fan of white chocolate. I don't hate it. I don't even dislike it. It's just not something I'd choose over dark or milk chocolate. Oooh dark. Drool drool drool. But the point is, I don't advocate on white chocolate's behalf.

This Black & White Brownie by King Arthur Flour just rocked my world so much that I'm willing to give white chocolate another chance to be on the Hot List. Give the recipe a try and see if you understand what I mean. Or maybe you were already a white chocolate fan and it's a no-brainer that you'd like this brownie and I'm preaching to the choir? But if you were like me, unimpressed, bored even, by the thought of white chocolate desserts, then view this as a very unique opportunity to grow your palate.

Besides the delicious taste and texture of these brownies, they are fun and whimsical looking because of the scattered dark chocolate pieces that bake on the top of the white batter. I recommend using large, geometric chocolate chunks, such as round wafers (Trader Joe's now sells these!) or square blocks.

Sorry I don't have step-by-step pictures of this brownie. But save the jawdrops and appalledness for someone else (with tougher skin). I'm not perfect (Doh! The cat's out of the bag!)! I didn't have my camera out during the making of this brownie and I'm pretty sad about it. I'm kicking myself enough already for the both of us. But come on, I know you can do it! You don't need photo instructions. There are very few ingredients, all basic, and no fancy technique to learn and apply. I believe in you!

Black & White Brownies
Adapted from a recipe from King Arthur Flour
Makes 16 brownies

1 cup (6 ounces) chopped white chocolate
1/4 cup (2 ounces, 1/2 stick) butter
3/4 cup (5 1/4 ounces) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups (5 1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup (6 ounces) bittersweet chunks or chopped chocolate, divided

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9-inch square pan.

In the microwave, heat together the white chocolate, butter, and sugar in a heatproof bowl. Only heat for 30 seconds at a time because you don't want to burn the chocolate (and white chocolate has a tendency to burn easily). You can also do this over a double boiler, but I often find the microwave does the trick, and it's a lot easier!

Remove the bowl from the microwave when the butter is melted and the white chocolate has softened. Then stir in the vanilla, nutmeg, and salt. Wait till the mixture has cooled down to lukewarm, then add the two eggs and beat to incorporate.

In a small separate bowl, stir together the flour and baking powder. Add these dry ingredients to the egg/chocolate mixture. Stir in 3/4 cup of the chocolate chunks. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and scatter the remaining 1/4 cup of chocolate chunks over the top.

Bake the brownies for 20-25 minutes, until light golden brown and the edges pull away ever so slightly from the pan. Remove from the oven, place the pan on a cooling rack, and allow to cool completely before cutting.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Rub-a-Dub-Dub Ice Bath Brownies

Oh Alice, you've outdone yourself. Alice, as in Alice Medrich, the first lady of chocolate, whose out-of-print cookbook Cocolat is worth a hefty sum ($150+).

These brownies come from another Alice Medrich cookbook, which I shockingly, GASP!, don't own, called Cookies and Brownies. It was a Food & Wine Magazine Best of the Best Award Winner, named one of the best 25 cookbooks of 1999. But fortunately, my mom owns the cookbook! And she made these brownies and called me up, quite possibly with a bite of brownie in her mouth as she called, exclaiming between chewing that she had discovered a serious contender for best brownie.

What? But I thought I had already found the single best brownie in Tartine Bakery's brownie. And that was after searching high and low, testing out brownie recipes from my various cookbooks for several years. This is going to mess everything up! I'll have to test my mom's discovery out for myself and see how it compares to Tartine's. Oh darn, a baking project. :)

So my mom sent me the recipe and as she concluded the email, she wrote:
Don't eat too many!!
Love, Mom
Ha! I knew I was in for a treat. I baked them up, and sure enough, they were amazing. I think I ate two whole rows of brownie in about an hour. Oops. Won't happen again, Mom; I promise!

Interestingly, when the brownies come out of the oven, they are placed in an ice bath immediately to cool. Don't shy away from making these brownies because of that extra step. But don't skip the step! I think it's one of the defining characteristics of this brownie. The ice bath is easy. It's extremely convenient that the brownies are baked in an 8x8 pan (I suggest metal, not glass), because you can simply use a standard 9x13 pan for the ice bath and the 8x8 pan will fit perfectly inside the larger pan.

As far as how they size up to Tartine's? I think I'm going to have to say TIE because both are incredible, leaving me wanting more. And both are extremely fudgy. I could not be happier with the results!! My mom was right! The only reason I'd say not to make these is if you fall under the camp of cakey brownie lovers. I hands down belong to the fudgy, not cakey, brownie lover society. So they are my dream realized. Go after your dreams.

Ice Bath Brownies
Adapted from a recipe by Alice Medrich in Cookies and Brownies
Makes 16 brownies

8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces, toasted (optional)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8x8 metal pan with foil and drape extra foil over the edges so you can lift the brownies out later for cutting on a cutting board.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth. Be very careful not to burn the mixture. If you think you're not the careful type, use a double boiler or heatproof bowl set on top of a pan of gently simmering water. It's a lot harder to burn chocolate and butter when using a double boiler.

Remove the saucepan from the heat. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring in each until it is well incorporated. Beat in the flour until the mixture comes away from the sides and looks smooth and glossy, about 1 minute. Stir in nuts, if using. Pour the brownie batter into the foil-lined pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. The surface of the brownies will look dry but a toothpick inserted in the center will still be quite gooey. That's a good thing!

While the brownies are baking, prepare the ice bath. Fill a roasting pan or large baking pan (a standard 9 x 13" pan works perfectly) with ice cubes and water about 3/4-inch deep.

When brownies are ready, take the pan out of the oven and immediately place in the ice bath. Careful not to splash water from the ice bath onto the brownies! Cool the brownies completely in the ice bath.

When cool, remove the pan from the ice bath and lift the foil edges up and out of the pan and place the foil on the cutting board. Cut the brownies into squares to serve.

Store in an airtight container. Because these are fudgy, they will taste delicious for at least 3 days, and if you're lucky, up to 5 days!

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Melt the chocolate and butter together, then add sugar, vanilla, and salt...

Add the eggs, one at a time...

Add the flour and gently combine...

Spread the batter into the foil-lined pan. Notice I added half the batter first, then stirred toasted walnuts into the remaining half and then poured the nut batter into the other half of the pan. Then bake at 400 degrees for 15-20 minutes...

When done baking, immediately transfer the pan from the oven to an ice bath until the brownies are cool...


Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Fudge Brownies with Mint Chips and a Don't Overmix, Don't Overbake Mini-Lecture

Brownies! I have made so many versions. And probably more than once have I found the recipe that is the recipe to destroy (mwahahahaha) all other recipes (ahem, Tartine Brownies, how I love thee!). Yet here I am again, baking up a batch of some new variety. Because it's just plain fun to try new recipes! It never gets old. Or I'm easily amused.

The key to making these fudge brownies fudgy is twofold, actually. Don't overmix, and don't overbake! I must sound like a broken record at this point. In so many of my blog posts, I warn that overmixing or overbaking will ruin an otherwise perfectly good recipe. But it can't be stressed enough. It makes all the difference. Heed my advice or succumb to dry, rock-hard baking disgustingness. Your choice.

I added green mint chips for a more festive, colorful brownie. Chopped up peanut butter cups would be another yummy addition. I was excited to see brown sugar in the recipe because many brownie recipes use white sugar, and I'm a huge fan of brown sugar baked goods. Linda Collister is a great baker, and so I look forward to trying more recipes out of her Chocolate cookbook.

Fudge Brownies
Adapted from a recipe by Linda Collister in Chocolate
Makes 16

1 1/4 sticks (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) sweet butter
4 large eggs, beaten
1 3/4 cups light brown sugar
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
a good pinch of salt
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
1 cup minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
3 1/2 oz. walnut or pecan pieces, chopped white or bittersweet chocolate, or a combination

Line a 9-inch square pan with foil so that there's an overhang on all sides (for pulling the foil up later).

Melt the butter in a sauce pan or the microwave and set aside to cool.

Resist the temptation to use a mixer. With a bowl and wooden spoon, gently beat the eggs with the sugar, just until combined. Add the cooled butter and the vanilla and stir to combine. Then sift the dry ingredients directly into the batter (salt, cocoa, and flour). Stir just until combined (hardly at all). The more you stir, the more cake-like and less fudge-like your brownies will beware of overmixing!

If using nuts, chocolate, or any other mix-in (I added mint chips), gently fold those in now. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and use a spatula or the back of a spoon to smooth the top.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. I prefer to slightly underbake mine for more goo and less cakiness so I watch the clock and check my brownies a good 10 minutes before they're supposed to be done.

Put the pan on a damp cloth to cool completely.

Lift the brownies out of the pan using the handy dandy foil lining that you have hanging over the edges of the pan. Place on a cutting board, and then cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container and eat within 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
Beat the eggs with the sugar, then add the melted (but cooled) butter and vanilla...

Sift together the salt, cocoa, and flour...
Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir just until combined...

Gently fold in your mix-ins (here I'm using mint and semi-sweet chocolate chips)...

Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the top...

Bake at 325 degrees F for 35-40 minutes...

Let cool completely before lifting the foil up to remove the brownies...

Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Spicy Brownie from Brooklyn's Baked Bakery

Not to be confused with OMG-my-mouth-is-on-fire-this-is-so-frickin'-hot-I'm-going-to-need-a-fire-extinguisher spicy. The ancho chili pepper called for in this Spicy Brownie is the kind of spicy that warms the mouth and gives the brownie a full-bodied, sort of smoky flavor without burning a hole in your tastebuds. It reminds me of Oaxacan mole sauce, which, as you may know from trying mole, is often not hot at all. So don't panic because of the recipe name; just rejoice.

It's an amazingly fudgy brownie (as opposed to cakey), which is my textural preference in brownies. And because it's so dense, not to mention rich from the dark chocolate, you don't need more than a small square piece to do the job. That's why an 8"x8" pan is really plenty to serve a large dinner party. I'm so impressed by this recipe, which I found posted on, and which originally comes from a small, creative bakery in Brooklyn called Baked run by two guys, Renato Poliafito and Matt Lewis, that I am dying to buy their cookbook and try everything in it! I think it's next on my Gift to Self List.

The Details
359 Van Brunt Street
Brooklyn, NY 11231
(718) 222-0345

The Spicy Brownie
Recipe from Brooklyn Bakery Baked and posted on
Makes 16 brownies

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. Dutch cocoa powder
1 tablespoon ancho chili powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 ounces coarsely chopped dark (60 percent) chocolate
1 stick unsalted butter , plus more for pan
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

Preheat oven to 350°. Butter sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 8" x 8" pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cocoa powder, chili powder, and cinnamon.

Configure a double boiler (fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and fit a metal bowl on top without letting it touch water; bring water to a boil). Place chocolate and butter in bowl and stir occasionally until both are completely melted and combined, about 6 minutes. Turn off heat, but keep bowl over water and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove bowl from pan. Let stand until room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Add eggs to chocolate-butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add vanilla and ginger; whisk to combine. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle flour-cocoa mixture over chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (do not use a whisk!), fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour-cocoa mix visible.

Pour batter into the greased pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Bake brownies for 27 to 30 minutes; brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool brownies completely before cutting and serving.

Step-by-Step in Pictures
In a bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, salt, cocoa powder, chili powder, and cinnamon. Then set aside...

Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan or double boiler...

Add the brown and white sugars, then let stand for about 20 minutes...

Add the eggs, vanilla, and ginger, and stir until combined, then add the dry ingredients...

But don't overmix! Just barely incorporate the dry ingredients...

Bake at 350 degree F for about 27 minutes...

Delicious and amazingly fudgy!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Kosher for Passover Macaroon Fudge Bars

Here is a delicious, fun way to use up your leftover Passover macaroons. Every year I buy a container because it's tradition, but 8 days later, Passover is over and I usually have more than half the container left. No more waste! I love repurposing ingredients. Marcy Goldman came up with this genius recipe where you basically make a Kosher for Passover brownie and then fold in chopped macaroons. It tastes even more delicious if you use her glossy fudge frosting on top. These are dense, not light, so I'd recommend cutting the brownies into bite-size pieces. And if you really want to keep things interesting, try using other macaroon flavors than chocolate. Doesn't Manischewitz make a toffee flavored one? And a banana split flavored one! Mmmmm.

Extraordinary Macaroon Fudge Bars
Recipe by Marcy Goldman in A Treasury of Jewish Holiday Baking
Makes about 30 squares

6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter or unsalted Passover margarine
1 1/4 cups granulated or brown sugar
1 tablespoon Passover vanilla sugar (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)
3 eggs
3/4 cup matzoh cake meal
1/4 cup potato starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups lightly packed quartered or coarsely chopped Passover macaroons (any brand or flavor)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8x10-inch or 7x11-inch brownie pan or (in a pinch) a 9x9-inch baking pan will do.

In a saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter or margarine over low heat. Cool to room temperature. Stir in the brown and vanilla sugars, eggs, cake meal, potato starch, and salt. Stir in the macaroon pieces.

Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes, until the top seems set and is beginning to take on a crackled appearance. Do not overbake. The brownies should be set and seem dry to the touch, but there should no be a dry crust around the sides.

Cool the brownies in the pan until serving time or, let them cool to room temperature if frosting. Cut into squares.

Glossy Fudge Frosting
2/3 cup water or brewed coffee
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons unsalted butter or Passover margarine, softened

Heat the water or coffee in a small saucepan. As it comes to a boil, reduce the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate. Remove the pan from the stove and stir until the chocolate is thoroughly melted. Cool in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes. Whisk in the softened butter or margarine and spread the frosting on top of the cooled brownies. Decorate the top by running the tines of a fork through the frosting.

Step-by-Step in Pictures

Melt the chocolate and butter together, then cool to room temperature...

Stir in the sugar and vanilla...

Add the eggs...
Then add the matzoh cake meal, potato starch, and salt...

Add the coarsely-chopped macaroon pieces into the chocolate batter...

Spread into a prepared pan and bake for 40 to 50 minutes at 350 degrees F...

Cool completely...

Prepare the Glossy Fudge Frosting and spread over the cooled brownie surface...

Let the frosting set, then slice and serve!

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

No way! Yes way! Rocky Road Brownies for Passover

My cousin Rachael is famous for her Fudgy Chocolate Marshmallow Brownies. They're requested at all sorts of events - birthdays, get-togethers, catered events, and various milestones. They're essentially Rocky Road Bars on account of the chocolate and marshmallow combination. They are extremely rich and sweet with all the right textures and flavors going on. They look beautiful on a cookie tray and, well, you just can't say enough good things about them. But oh yeah, one more thing, they are NOT kosher for Passover. Doh!

So thank goodness for Marlene Sorosky, who developed a Rocky Road Brownie recipe that IS kosher for Passover. It's no cousin Rachael's, but it's good, and to think you could have anything remotely like the original during a holiday when flour is a no-no? Um, yeah, I'll take what I can get!

Rocky Road Brownies
Recipe by Marlene Sorosky in Fast and Festive Meals for the Jewish Holidays

4 ounces (4 squares) semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 pound (2 sticks) margarine or butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup matzah cake meal
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
2 cups mini marshmallows, or large marshmallows, cut up
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

1 cup mini marshmallows, or large marshmallows, cut up
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

Place oven rack in center of oven and preheat to 325 degrees F. Grease or spray with nonstick spray a 9x13-inch baking pan.

To Make Brownies: In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt chocolate and margarine on high (100%) for 1 to 2 minutes, or until melted. Stir well. Stir in sugar and cool slightly. Whisk in eggs, one at a time. Stir in cake meal and salt. Stir in chocolate chips, marshmallows, and walnuts. Pour into prepared pan. Spread evenly.

To Bake: Bake for 30 minutes, or until set.

To Top: After 30 minutes, sprinkle brownies with marshmallows. Return to oven for 3 to 4 minutes, or until puffed but not browned. Remove from oven. Place chocolate chips in a small, heavy plastic bag. Microwave on high (100%) for 60 to 90 seconds, or until melted and smooth when pressed with fingers. squeeze chocolate into one corner of bag. Cut a small tip off the corner and drizzle chocolate over brownies. Sprinkle with nuts. Cool completely. Cut with a serrated knife into 1 3/4 x 2 1/4-inch bars. (Brownies may be refrigerated up to 4 days or frozen.)

Makes: 30 brownies.

Step-by-Step in Pictures

Melt the chocolate and margarine together...

Add in the sugar...

Add the eggs...

Then stir in the cake meal and salt...

Get rid of all lumps...

Stir in the marshmallows, chocolate chips, and toasted nuts...

Spread the batter into a prepared pan...

Bake for about 30 minutes at 325 degrees F...

When the brownies are done, top with more marshmallows and return to the oven to bake until they're puffed up...

Pipe melted chocolate through a plastic piping bag or sandwich bag across the top of the brownies...

Sprinkle with more toasted nuts, then you're done!...
Related Posts with Thumbnails