Sunday, September 18, 2005

On-the-Fence Brownies

Here are the brownies that I tried yesterday. This recipe came from my King Arthur catalog. Normally I turn my nose up at any brownie recipe that calls for only cocoa and not melted chocolate, but I decided to try this one anyway.

On-the-Fence Brownies
Source: King Arthur

Fudgy, cakey, fudgy, cakey... can't make up your mind? These brownies combine the best of both worlds: the fudge brownie's ultra-moist texture, and the nice rise of a cake brownie.

1 cup unsalted butter (2 sticks)
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 cup chocolate chips (6 ounces)
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional)

1. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

2. Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth; then add the flour, chips, espresso powder, and nuts, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13-inch pan.

3. Bake the brownies in a preheated 350°F oven for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges and in the center (barely). Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving. Yield: Two dozen 2-inch brownies.

As luck would have it, I ended up going way beyond tweaking. First, I found that I did not have enough white sugar, so I used about 1 cup of white sugar and 1 cup of brown sugar. Next, I found that I had less than half a cup left of Dutch-process cocoa, so I used regular cocoa to make up the difference. I did not have any espresso powder or nuts, so I skipped those completely. I also did not add the chocolate chips to the batter, but instead, melted just over a half cup of chips into the butter mixture. Hmmmm....not very similar to the original recipe!

Even after all of my omissions and substitutions, these brownies came out very nicely. They had a nice, rich chocolate flavor without being too rich. They were nice and thick and very moist near the middle of the pan, but they held together nicely, not too gooey. The edges were a bit dry, but moist enough.

I would prefer a slightly chewier brownie, but I was pretty pleased with this one. I would like to make these again, but would like to try it with all white sugar, all Dutch-process cocoa and my addition of the 1/2 cup of melted chocolate chips.

However, before I try tweaking this recipe again, there are several others I'd like to try first. But first I have to re-stock my baking supplies - I'm out of all-purpose flour, sugar and down to my last stick of butter!

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