baking therapy: brownies, continued continued

Yep, another brownie attempt. I am very determined.  And some good news: I’m almost there. The recipe below, plus a few tweaks, may just be the one. I’m not going to rejoice yet, but I am feeling pretty good.

Classic Chocolate Brownies, adapted from Ghirardelli Chocolate
Makes 16 brownies
1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips (I used Guittard)
4 oz semi-sweet chocolate baking bar (I used Scharffen-Berger semi-sweet baking chocolate bar)
1/2 c butter, cut into pieces
1 t vanilla
2 large eggs
3/4 c plus 2 T flour
1/4 t baking powder
1/2 t salt

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Chop the 4 ounces of semi sweet chocolate bars into 1-inch pieces. In the top of a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool to room temperature. Stir the brown sugar and vanilla into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs and mix well. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Slowly fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture, mixing well until blended. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake for 45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean.

Remove from the oven and cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting into 2-inch squares.

Conclusions: Crusty top! Chewy sides! Fudgy middle! Pretty darn good. I even wanted to eat more than one (which is my true test of a good dessert – I’m usually pretty burnt out after one serving so if I want another, it must be really good). BUT, since I’ve decide to be really picky about this project, the top could be crustier, the brownie chewier and the middle a little less fudgy.

The Tweaks

1. Use all Guittard chocolate chips (or other lesser-quality, but still decent baking chocolate) instead of the 4 oz of Scharffen-Berger. The Scharffen-Berger chocolate is just too good (I cannot believe I’m saying this, but I think it may be true) and makes the brownies a bit too chocolatey.

2. Cook those little guys for even longer. The original recipe recommended 25 – 30 minutes. I did 45 and they were still a bit mushy. The extra cooking time hopefully should make the brownies a bit crustier and chewier, and less fudgy.

I think I will give my updated recipe a try this weekend for the Superbowl. You know I’ll be reporting back!



baking therapy: brownies, continued

After last week’s brownie baking adventure (with the end result of brownies that were more like chocolate cake), I decided to give it another go. This time I went to Martha.

Whole-Wheat Brownies, from Martha Stewart’s Everyday Food
6 T unsalted butter, melted
1/2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/3 c cocoa powder
1 1/4 t baking powder
1 t coarse salt
1 c packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/4 c unsweetened apple sauce
8 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour 8 inch square dish.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flours, cocoa, baking powder and salt.

In a large bowl, stir together applesauce, sugar and egg. Place butter and 6 oz of chocolate over a double boiler to melt. Stir chocolate into sugar mixture. Stir in flour mixture. Pour into pan and top with remaining 2 oz of chocolate.

Bake 40 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Conclusions: Also delicious (and perfectly complimented by vanilla ice cream – oh so comforting), but still on the edge of cake territory. These brownies were closer, but I still long for a brownie with chewy edges, a fudgey middle and a flaky top.  Ahhhh.

After two attempts, I now have a very strong compulsion to make the perfect brownie and fulfill my fantasy. Up next: Ghiradelli’s Classic Chocolate Brownie. Let’s hope this one makes the cut!



baking therapy: brownies

I came home from work today and really wanted to bake. And when the mood strikes … I’m thankful I have an above average supply of butter on hand.

Jordan and I have also been hitting the Ad Hoc at Home cookbook pretty hard lately. Thomas Keller works magic in the kitchen and this cookbook compiles his family style recipes.  Thanks Liz and Kyle for this awesome book!

Brownies, from Thomas Keller’s Ad Hoc at Home
Note: Below are the measurements for the whole recipe. I halved the recipe because I didn’t think it was wise for Jordan and I to eat an entire tray of brownies in two days (the recommended period of freshness).
3/4 c flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t kosher salt
3/4 lb unsalted butter, cut into 1 T pieces
3 eggs
1/2 t vanilla paste or extract (I used extract, although vanilla paste sounds awesome)
6 oz 61% – 64% chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces (I used some Scharffen-Berger I had laying around from a previous dessert)

Preheat an oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9″ x 9″ baking dish (I used a loaf pan because I halved the recipe).

Sift together flour, cocoa powder and salt.

Melt half the butter in a small saucepan. Pour the melted butter over the cold butter. Stir to melt the butter. There will be some butter chunks. These are awesome.

In a mixer, mix eggs and sugar until light and fluffy. Add vanilla. Add in 1/3 of dry ingredients alternating with 1/3 of the butter. Continue with remaining dry mixture and butter. Last, add in chocolate chips.

Pour into prepared dish and bake for 40 – 45 minutes, until the center when poked with a tester has just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Cool in the pan until a bit warmer than room temperature.

Invert and cut into pieces. Dust the tops with powered sugar before serving.

Conclusions: Quite good, but more of a cake-like texture then a brownie texture. The little gooey bits of dark chocolate definitely made the dessert!

Still searching for a brownie recipe!