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Brownies -- Bake-Off I


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#31 Priscilla

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:15 AM

In re the World Peace cookies/salty brownie idea, from the same inspiration I had increased the salt (I use my regular flakey Pacific evaporated from Giusto's) quite a lot in the last 2 batches of brownies I've made, coincidentally in the past week, with excellent results.

The reason for the 2 batches so close together was because the two male members of my household, WP cookie fans who also are the brownie consumers, said they were the Best Brownies Ever. Which is also their Richard Scarry-esque name, The Best Fudge Brownies Ever.

The recipe was printed on my latest bag of King Arthur AP flour, espied while emptying the bag into the canister, which suited me and my 1/2-a-13x9"-pan at the time due to its ease. (I halved the recipe.) It's got chocolate chips in it, which I personally disappove of in brownies, but I am the lone voice in my household on this account.

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#32 miladyinsanity

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 09:46 AM

Can blondies count? 

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Feh: blondies are an abomination against brownies and, possibly, food in general -- although a salted caramel blondie... now, that might work....

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I think you've been given honorary membership into the PMS thread. :biggrin:

But I'm looking at the blondie recipes I have, and think I can come up with something. Disaster coming right up.
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#33 shaloop

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 11:09 AM

My favorite brownies are Chewy Brownies from fine cooking. Rich, chocolaty, and chewy. Excellent as they are or as the base for countless adornments. I also LOVE the banana brownies from a Brownie Cookbook. Can't remember book title or author, will post when found.

#34 jende

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 12:31 PM

My favorite brownies are Chewy Brownies from fine cooking.  Rich, chocolaty, and chewy.  Excellent as they are or as the base for countless adornments.  I also LOVE the banana brownies from a Brownie Cookbook.  Can't remember book title or author, will post when found.

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I adore the combination of banana and chocolate (in fact, it's the only fruit I can stand to mix with what I already consider God's most perfect product), so please do tell us more. I'm assuming it's bananas mashed up in an otherwise chocolate brownie?

#35 merstar

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:14 PM

My favorite brownies are Chewy Brownies from fine cooking.  Rich, chocolaty, and chewy.  Excellent as they are or as the base for countless adornments.  I also LOVE the banana brownies from a Brownie Cookbook.  Can't remember book title or author, will post when found.

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I love the Chewy Brownies also. Which way do you like them better, room temperature or chilled? I've been eating them mostly chilled, but they're also great at room temp.
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#36 Pam R

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 01:45 PM

Chewy is the way to go. If it's cakey, then it's a cake.

What about a cheesecake brownie? You know, some cheesecake batter swirled into a rich and dark brownie.

#37 shaloop

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:23 PM

My favorite brownies are Chewy Brownies from fine cooking.  Rich, chocolaty, and chewy.  Excellent as they are or as the base for countless adornments.  I also LOVE the banana brownies from a Brownie Cookbook.  Can't remember book title or author, will post when found.

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I adore the combination of banana and chocolate (in fact, it's the only fruit I can stand to mix with what I already consider God's most perfect product), so please do tell us more. I'm assuming it's bananas mashed up in an otherwise chocolate brownie?

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It's from Ultimate Brownie Book by Bruce Weinstein

#38 Ling

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 07:43 PM

I think I need to try Ling's recipe, though. Her's look like they might be perfect.

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Oh, thanks! I actually haven't made that particular recipe in a long time. I have since modified another brownie recipe that I really like. It's very chocolate-y, moist, and melts in your mouth because it uses the meringue technique (whip whites separately, and fold). It uses both cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of salt. Sometimes I add some espresso and/or cinnamon, and sometimes glaze them with ganache.

I've tried a lot of the well-known recipes out there (like the Medrich cocoa brownie recipe) and have found them just OK in terms of chocolate flavour.

The Katherine Hepburn recipe has many variations--the version in Recipe Gullet (also posted upthread) doesn't have nearly enough chocolate for me, so I've never made them, but the version in Dorie Greenspan's book is a good one.

Edited by Ling, 20 March 2007 - 07:45 PM.


#39 Pan

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 08:20 PM

Feh: blondies are an abomination against brownies and, possibly, food in general -- although a salted caramel blondie... now, that might work....

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I've always liked butterscotch blondies with butterscotch chips and no chocolate. Caramel sounds good too, but not noticeably salty would be to my taste.

Other good variations include cappuccino or mocha brownies. I've never had a cheesecake brownie that I've liked. I prefer more of a chocolate taste, and brownies seem to be too small to get enough of a cheesecake flavor or texture for my taste. Then again, I know how much amazing talent there is here, so it's very likely that if one of YOU made the cheesecake brownie, I'd love it!

#40 lovebenton0

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Posted 20 March 2007 - 09:48 PM

Chewy is the way to go.  If it's cakey, then it's a cake.

What about a cheesecake brownie?  You know, some cheesecake batter swirled into a rich and dark brownie.

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personally i like a cheesecake marbled brownie sometimes. i've made them for many years, don't remember where my recipe was inspired from. probably lack of enough chocolate to do a whole pan. in my house they're ''tuxedo brownies''... half ''white'', half ''black.''

whether full chocolate or tuxedo, definitely chewy gooey, not cakey. if nutted, i prefer pecans. love the edge, and must have that crispy top. other variations i like... cinnamon is good, especially with espresso.
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#41 SusanGiff

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 07:11 AM

I think I need to try Ling's recipe, though. Her's look like they might be perfect.

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Oh, thanks! I actually haven't made that particular recipe in a long time. I have since modified another brownie recipe that I really like. It's very chocolate-y, moist, and melts in your mouth because it uses the meringue technique (whip whites separately, and fold). It uses both cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of salt. Sometimes I add some espresso and/or cinnamon, and sometimes glaze them with ganache.

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Ooh, those sound good. Have you posted the recipe?

#42 SusanGiff

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 07:16 AM

Also, I'd pay almost any price for a recipe approximating the brownies at Sullivan St. Bakery on 47th St in New York. (they call them tortini di cioccolato, but they taste like brownies to me). This is quite possibly my favorite brownie on earth.

#43 jende

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 07:33 AM

My favorite brownies are Chewy Brownies from fine cooking.  Rich, chocolaty, and chewy.  Excellent as they are or as the base for countless adornments.  I also LOVE the banana brownies from a Brownie Cookbook.  Can't remember book title or author, will post when found.

View Post


I adore the combination of banana and chocolate (in fact, it's the only fruit I can stand to mix with what I already consider God's most perfect product), so please do tell us more. I'm assuming it's bananas mashed up in an otherwise chocolate brownie?

View Post



It's from Ultimate Brownie Book by Bruce Weinstein

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Thanks, I'll check it out.

#44 shaloop

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 07:36 AM

Feh: blondies are an abomination against brownies and, possibly, food in general -- although a salted caramel blondie... now, that might work....

View Post


I've always liked butterscotch blondies with butterscotch chips and no chocolate. Caramel sounds good too, but not noticeably salty would be to my taste.

Other good variations include cappuccino or mocha brownies. I've never had a cheesecake brownie that I've liked. I prefer more of a chocolate taste, and brownies seem to be too small to get enough of a cheesecake flavor or texture for my taste. Then again, I know how much amazing talent there is here, so it's very likely that if one of YOU made the cheesecake brownie, I'd love it!

View Post


I like cheesecake brownies. It took me awhile to get the cheesecake part to my liking, many of the recipes ended up with a somewhat wet cheesecake after sitting. I start with the Fine Cooking, Chewy brownie recipe linked to in my earlier post and add my tweaked cheesecake batter (which is different than what I make my cheesecakes with.) MMmmmm......

#45 natasha1270

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 08:50 AM

I'm a fan of Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies recipe with or without nuts. Sugar & cold eggs to hot butter & chocolate for glossy top. I have also read this advice in an article quoting Alice Medrich. Rapping the pan midway is essential!

"Shocking" the pan by placing it in the fridge or atop a pan of ice water is also supposed to produce a crispier/denser texture but I haven't played around with this much. True?

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#46 Ling

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 10:26 AM

I think I need to try Ling's recipe, though. Her's look like they might be perfect.

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Oh, thanks! I actually haven't made that particular recipe in a long time. I have since modified another brownie recipe that I really like. It's very chocolate-y, moist, and melts in your mouth because it uses the meringue technique (whip whites separately, and fold). It uses both cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of salt. Sometimes I add some espresso and/or cinnamon, and sometimes glaze them with ganache.

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Ooh, those sound good. Have you posted the recipe?

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No, but it's the "Cakey brownie" recipe in the Scharffen Berger Chocolate cookbook. I don't know why it's called that, but it's not a cakey brownie, at least not when I add an extra ounce of chopped chocolate. I also add a pinch of salt, 1 less tablespoon of flour, 1 extra tablespoon of cocoa, and sometimes espresso and cinnamon, and a ganache glaze. Be careful not to over-bake!

#47 Kerry Beal

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 05:41 PM

Posted Image

World Peace Brownies on the left, World Peace cookies on the right. Tomorrow I'll take them to work and get folks to taste them and see what they think. I have a cold, totally stuffed head and can't taste a darn thing, so I'll have to count on other taste buds to tell me how they compare.

If they taste similar I'll post the recipe.

#48 JFLinLA

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Posted 21 March 2007 - 08:55 PM

[quote name='JFLinLA' date='Mar 20 2007, 12:32 AM']Can blondies count? 

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[/quote]

Feh: blondies are an abomination against brownies and, possibly, food in general -- although a salted caramel blondie... now, that might work....

View Post

[/quote]

Fine, Chris. I can accept that blondies may not be brownies. However, before you declare them an abomination against food in general, I challenge you to try my recipe in the archive. They are killer! Coffee-Kahlua Chocolate Chip Blondies If you give them an honest try and still don't like them, then we will agree to disagree about what we each like.
So long and thanks for all the fish.

#49 SusanGiff

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 05:15 AM

I think I need to try Ling's recipe, though. Her's look like they might be perfect.

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Oh, thanks! I actually haven't made that particular recipe in a long time. I have since modified another brownie recipe that I really like. It's very chocolate-y, moist, and melts in your mouth because it uses the meringue technique (whip whites separately, and fold). It uses both cocoa and bittersweet chocolate, and a bit of salt. Sometimes I add some espresso and/or cinnamon, and sometimes glaze them with ganache.

View Post


Ooh, those sound good. Have you posted the recipe?

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No, but it's the "Cakey brownie" recipe in the Scharffen Berger Chocolate cookbook. I don't know why it's called that, but it's not a cakey brownie, at least not when I add an extra ounce of chopped chocolate. I also add a pinch of salt, 1 less tablespoon of flour, 1 extra tablespoon of cocoa, and sometimes espresso and cinnamon, and a ganache glaze. Be careful not to over-bake!

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Thanks. I'll try to find it. Meanwhile, I made your old recipe yesterday. They took a lot longer than 25 minutes to bake for some reason (hmm...it just occurred to me that I may have used an 8 inch pan) but they were worth every minute. Fantastic, and even the family (previously devoted to my other recipe) loved them. In fact, the babysitter mentioned them when we got home last night. Definitely a keeper!

#50 Trishiad

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 07:45 AM

Funny, I made Ling's "Old" brownies yesterday also. I didn't use the nonstick and completely forgot to adjust the temp. They took closer to 55 minutes to cook at 325 in a regular cake pan with a parchment liner on the bottom.
delish, and worth the wait.
My 5 year old really enjoyed making them with me because the recipe called for the handmixer and some pretty easy stirring. He practically made them himself. And I practically ate them all myself. There is half a pan this morning.

#51 Cleo

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 11:03 AM

I'm not a huge baker, but I have been on a quest for the perfect brownie for quite some time. To me, a brownie should be very chocolatey, dense, chewy with nice glossy top. Definitely not cake-like (although I've been know to eat those too). Nuts I can take or leave, but I generally don't add them when I am in charge.

Recently I've made:

Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies
Katherine Hepburn's
Baker's One Bowl Brownies
Nick Malgieri Supernatural Brownies

Believe it or not, the ones that I liked the best are the Baker's One Bowl. Next up on my list is to be the Fine Cooking/Chewy Brownies. Sounds like those might just have them all beat.

Oh, and I don't like blondies or cheesecake brownies.

#52 Ling

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 01:29 PM

Hey Susan and Trishiad, glad to hear you liked the recipe!

Here's the modified* Scharffen Berger brownie recipe that I like to use now in case you don't have the book.

Melt 8 tbsp unsalted butter with 5 oz. chopped, high-quality bittersweet chocolate, and stir in 1/2 cup of sugar. Stir in 4 yolks off the heat.

Pour mixture into bowl, add about 4.5 tbsp cake flour, 6.5 tbsp cocoa (I use Valrhona), 1 tsp baking powder, pinch of salt (and some cinnamon or espresso powder if you like) and stir.

In another bowl, whip 4 egg whites. Gradually add 1/3 cup more sugar and whip til stiff peaks. Fold chocolate mixture into whites in thirds.

Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes. I prefer to see moist crumbs when a skewer is inserted, though the recipe says bake until the skewer comes out clean. (The recipe says 30-35 minutes but I prefer them a touch underbaked so they'll set up a little more as they cool and stay very moist.)

I like to top these with ganache. You can also mix in 1/2 cup of nuts if you want in the batter.

*The original recipe had 4 oz. of chopped chocolate, and equal parts (1/3 cup) of flour and cocoa, no salt, and a bit more sugar.

Edited by Ling, 22 March 2007 - 01:31 PM.


#53 sugar plum

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Posted 22 March 2007 - 06:43 PM

This thread reminded me of my all-time favourite Brownie recipe. I, in fact, stumbled upon it just recently while watching the lovely Nigella Lawson on Food TV Canada at Christmas time. It's her "Triple Chocolate Brownies" featured on her chocolate episode. They are exactly what I love...rich, dense, chocolatey and absolutely nut-free. They have chunks of chocolate in them which, in my opinion, just adds to the decadence of this Brownie. She also has a very similar recipe called "Snowflecked Brownies" from Feast.

I forgot why I hadn't made them since December and then I looked at the recipe again. It calls for 12 oz of bittersweet PLUS another cup of white chocolate chips and semisweet chocolate chips (in December, I just used all semisweet). It's an expensive recipe!

#54 Lindacakes

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 08:30 AM

Cleo, I am very very interested in your testing, and how the winner compared to Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies. Nick's are my favorite, in part because I have the recipe memorized. I can get it together very quickly and always keep appropriate chocolate and dark brown sugar in the house to make them. I've mailed these all over the world to people as gifts . . .

Like most everyone, I prefer a fudgey, chewy brownie with a shiny crinkly top.

However, there is a bakery in Hoboken that makes a very good brownie, or at least, when they're fresh, they're very good -- the bottoms are somehow dusted with granulated sugar and this adds to the texture, they're a wee bit on the cakey side, and they're frosted with a very soft milk chocolate frosting.

No one has mentioned frosting. For some, this is gilding the lily, but I like that texture/taste thing that happens when the teeth come down through the soft fluffy icing and then hit the harder fudgy part with denser darker chocolate.

I once had a very charming conversation with a woman I met while browsing cookbooks (I do this a lot, chat me up in your local B&N) about our favorite Maida Heatter recipes. She swore by Maida's Christina's Brownies, which I've yet to make but haven't forgotten.

I don't think folks have really mentioned what chocolate they're using, which I think is important. I use a 70 percent Valrhona.

I also had an absolutely haunting espresso brownie once, at the Taste Bud catering shop on Third Avenue. Once. Still remember . . .
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#55 jende

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 09:27 AM

Posted Image

World Peace Brownies on the left, World Peace cookies on the right.  Tomorrow I'll take them to work and get folks to taste them and see what they think.  I have a cold, totally stuffed head and can't taste a darn thing, so I'll have to count on other taste buds to tell me how they compare.

If they taste similar I'll post the recipe.

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I'm dying to hear how the World Peace Brownies came out.

#56 Kerry Beal

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 09:35 AM

Posted Image

World Peace Brownies on the left, World Peace cookies on the right.  Tomorrow I'll take them to work and get folks to taste them and see what they think.  I have a cold, totally stuffed head and can't taste a darn thing, so I'll have to count on other taste buds to tell me how they compare.

If they taste similar I'll post the recipe.

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I'm dying to hear how the World Peace Brownies came out.

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Everybody loved them, but the texture wasn't quite what I was after. I want the brownies to have the same sandy crunch to them that the cookies did. I made the cookies with 1/2 cup of coarse dark brown sugar only (instead of the 2/3 cup brown and 1/4 cup white called for). So my next experiment will have some turbinido sugar stirred in at the very last minute, with the salt.

I'll let you know how they turn out.

#57 Cleo

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 11:06 AM

Cleo, I am very very interested in your testing, and how the winner compared to Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies. 

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Don't get me wrong. Rarely will I ever turn away any brownie. But I can't seem to find a "go to" recipe that I LOVE. Maybe I don't even know what I'm looking for, but trust me, I will know it when I find it.

Also, I think I did something wrong when I made the Outrageous Brownies, because they never really firmed up in the pan. I literally had to scoop everything out and dump it in the trash. A rare occasion in my house, when a batch of cooked brownies goes straight into the trash!

Maybe at some point I need to do a side by side tasting of the different ones that people like in this thread (oh yeah, just what I need!)

#58 Toliver

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 11:21 AM

Posted Image

World Peace Brownies on the left, World Peace cookies on the right.  Tomorrow I'll take them to work and get folks to taste them and see what they think.  I have a cold, totally stuffed head and can't taste a darn thing, so I'll have to count on other taste buds to tell me how they compare.

If they taste similar I'll post the recipe.

View Post

I'm dying to hear how the World Peace Brownies came out.

View Post

Everybody loved them, but the texture wasn't quite what I was after. I want the brownies to have the same sandy crunch to them that the cookies did. I made the cookies with 1/2 cup of coarse dark brown sugar only (instead of the 2/3 cup brown and 1/4 cup white called for). So my next experiment will have some turbinido sugar stirred in at the very last minute, with the salt.

I'll let you know how they turn out.

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I was imagining that you could do a layered brownie with the World Peace Cookies. Use the cookies as a bottom crust with the brownies on top. Though as crumbly as the cookies can get, I don't know if they'd hold up well once they were cut.

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#59 lapin d'or

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 01:09 PM

This thread reminded me of my all-time favourite Brownie recipe.  I, in fact, stumbled upon it just recently while watching the lovely Nigella Lawson on Food TV Canada at Christmas time.  It's her "Triple Chocolate Brownies" featured on her chocolate episode. 

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Nigella's brownie recipe is my favourite too and it has always been very popular when I have taken a batch in to work. The recipe does call for a lot of chocolate but it is very easy to make and every time I've made them they turned out really well.

I have quite a lot of oddments of chocolate leftover form confectionery making right now so it could be time to make some more brownies.

Jill

#60 Kerry Beal

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 01:12 PM

Posted Image

World Peace Brownies on the left, World Peace cookies on the right.  Tomorrow I'll take them to work and get folks to taste them and see what they think.  I have a cold, totally stuffed head and can't taste a darn thing, so I'll have to count on other taste buds to tell me how they compare.

If they taste similar I'll post the recipe.

View Post

I'm dying to hear how the World Peace Brownies came out.

View Post

Everybody loved them, but the texture wasn't quite what I was after. I want the brownies to have the same sandy crunch to them that the cookies did. I made the cookies with 1/2 cup of coarse dark brown sugar only (instead of the 2/3 cup brown and 1/4 cup white called for). So my next experiment will have some turbinido sugar stirred in at the very last minute, with the salt.

I'll let you know how they turn out.

View Post

I was imagining that you could do a layered brownie with the World Peace Cookies. Use the cookies as a bottom crust with the brownies on top. Though as crumbly as the cookies can get, I don't know if they'd hold up well once they were cut.

View Post

Interesting idea. My brownies have big chunks of chocolate and nuts in them, maybe I could replace the nuts with chunks of world peace cookies. We could call them universal peace brownies.