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Brownies -- Bake-Off I


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#61 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 23 March 2007 - 08:30 PM

All these brownie talk has spurred me to cook brownies today. Off to the grocery store for me and I'll post results in here later.
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#62 miladyinsanity

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 03:41 AM

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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.

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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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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.

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I almost did that with a batch of chocolate chip cookies.

I wonder if you can get that sandy texture by removing an egg.
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#63 LittleIsland

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 04:08 AM

maybe I could replace the nuts with chunks of world peace cookies.  We could call them universal peace brownies.

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Maybe it should be chunks of frozen WPC dough instead of the baked cookies... then you might get a brownie with (hopefully) chunks of soft (rather than crisp) cookie in it. Hmmm have some WPC dough in the freezer, must try!!

#64 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 04:43 AM

I followed the recipe for Chewy Brownies that Shaloop posted. I was very pleased with the results (got great reviews from hubby and the boys).

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#65 miladyinsanity

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 05:19 AM

maybe I could replace the nuts with chunks of world peace cookies.  We could call them universal peace brownies.

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Maybe it should be chunks of frozen WPC dough instead of the baked cookies... then you might get a brownie with (hopefully) chunks of soft (rather than crisp) cookie in it. Hmmm have some WPC dough in the freezer, must try!!

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But we wouldn't be getting that trademark WPC sandy texture.
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#66 Beanie

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 12:43 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.

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I made these brownies last night using Ling's modified version. I used Callebaut chocolate, non-premium cocoa (duh, totally forgot I had Scharffenberger cocoa on hand :blink: ), a little cinnamon and vanilla extract. Ling didn't say what size pan she used, but I used a 9x12 pyrex (prepared with pan spray, parchment, pan spray),hoping there would be enough batter (an 8 or 9 inch square would have been better, I think.) However, the batter rose beautifully due to the egg white mixture and was finished in about 30 minutes (moist crumbs on skewer.)

Results: excellent but extremely fragile. I tried cutting while still warm (always a mistake but I couldn't wait to taste it with a cold glass of milk :raz: ) and the slice fell apart. I put the whole thing in the freezer and cut them later while frozen, but still couldn't get a clean edge. Nevertheless, they are delicious and I would make them again.

Ling, are yours this fragile? I rarely use cake flour and wonder if this was responsible for the texture along with the beaten egg whites. When I took the pan out of the oven, I noticed the sides of the brownie (through the pyrex glass) had a very open crumb, almost mousse-like. Any thoughts on this? Thanks.
Ilene

#67 Ling

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 06:19 PM

Hi Beanie, wish I could post a pic of the brownies, but my digital camera is broken. The brownies are a bit fragile because they're so moist. I couldn't imagine, for example, wrapping one and putting it in a lunchbox without it suffering...there is too little flour in this recipe to give it a lot of structure, I think. However, I always get perfectly clean, sharp edges when I slice with a good chef's knife. I let them cool down before I cut them, though. These aren't exactly brownies you can eat out of hand on a picnic--a fork and plate is probably necessary, since they're quite delicate.

I should note that the 4.5 tbsp of flour and 6.5 tbsp of cocoa are rough estimates--I just spoon slightly less than 1/3 cup of flour, and slightly more than 1/3 cup cocoa. I've also used AP flour when I was out of cake flour and the brownies also turned out great.

(ETA: Yes, I would describe the texture of these brownies as mousselike as well.)

Edited by Ling, 24 March 2007 - 06:24 PM.


#68 CaliPoutine

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 08:17 PM

I'm not a big brownie fan( I much prefer cake), but I'd like to contribute my boss's white chocolate brownies. I absolutely love those.

I did make a brownie about 6 months ago that I really liked. It wasnt so much the recipe, but the technique. The brownie must be baked in a metal pan and when it comes out of the oven, you plunge the pan in freezing cold water. They were very fudgy. I believe the technique is credited to Alice Medrich.

#69 Marlene

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Posted 24 March 2007 - 08:37 PM

Double Fudge Brownies This my go to brownie recipe now. I'm not much of a sweet eater, but I like brownies. They must be fudgy, but I also like my brownies frosted.

Edited by Marlene, 24 March 2007 - 08:38 PM.

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#70 hummingbirdkiss

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 06:39 AM

OK I win the prize!!!! (kidding of course) These brownies are exactly what I would define as being the perfect brownie ...my friend worked graveyard last night and called me to say that they were "The best #$@#ing brownies I have ever eaten in my life!"

I never did get my husband to give up his recipe so ..I took Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies mentioned previously and kind of combined it with the Bakers' recipe (since I did not have all the chocolate chips I just added more bitter chocolate and about 1/2 cup more sugar) and added 1/4 cup hot coffee with a vanilla bean scraped into and infused in it ...

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I am extremely proud of this effort and it was for sure the baking boost I needed lately!!! They are rich ..have the perfect shell on the top and are moist and chewy in the middle .very chocolatey!!!! ....I put walnut halves ..all the chocolate is melted in ...and a little coarse salt in (that was a brilliant idea!)

all I can say is ..wow these worked!!! ..I just hope I can repeat it again for my son's birthday and to add to the Recipe Gullet ..these just came out so perfectly!!! humbley speaking of course!!!

what a perfect and badly needed chocolate fix!!!!

Edited by hummingbirdkiss, 25 March 2007 - 06:59 AM.


#71 Beanie

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 09:31 AM

Hi Beanie, wish I could post a pic of the brownies, but my digital camera is broken. The brownies are a bit fragile because they're so moist. I couldn't imagine, for example, wrapping one and putting it in a lunchbox without it suffering...there is too little flour in this recipe to give it a lot of structure, I think. However, I always get perfectly clean, sharp edges when I slice with a good chef's knife. I let them cool down before I cut them, though. These aren't exactly brownies you can eat out of hand on a picnic--a fork and plate is probably necessary, since they're quite delicate.

I should note that the 4.5 tbsp of flour and 6.5 tbsp of cocoa are rough estimates--I just spoon slightly less than 1/3 cup of flour, and slightly more than 1/3 cup cocoa. I've also used AP flour when I was out of cake flour and the brownies also turned out great.

(ETA: Yes, I would describe the texture of these brownies as mousselike as well.)

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Ling, thanks for the description. It's definitely more of a plated dessert than an eat-in-the-car-while-driving-to-work type of brownie. :biggrin:
Ilene

#72 Desiderio

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 05:03 PM

Ok I guess its time to make brownies here.
One of my favorite at this moment , are cheesecake brownies.The cafetteria where I work make these and I love them ,I didnt have the courage to ask for the recipe but I am sure he will give it to me ( maybe in excange of some chocolates?? :laugh: )
I made a formula for these brownies that wasnt bad at all.The recipies I found on the net arent quite satisfaying so I tryed to make my own .I will bake a batch soon then :raz: .
Vanessa

#73 sugar plum

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 09:13 PM

I made a batch of Nigella Lawson's Snow-Flecked Brownies today. The last time I baked a similar recipe to this--her Triple Chocolate Brownies--I think I must of used a smaller pan (7"x11") thus...thicker Brownies with a longer baking time. Oh well, they were still as tasty. The "flecks" are chunks of white chocolate.
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#74 enurmi

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Posted 25 March 2007 - 10:24 PM

I made some brownies just yesterday! I use an adaptation of Alton Brown's recipe, and, if I may say so myself, they are absolutely delicious. Nice and chocolatey, and I plan to freeze my next batch so that I can have warm, fudgy brownies for a few weeks without having to buy pound after pound of flour.
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#75 Tepee

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 01:05 AM

I've put on 5lbs just going through this thread. :biggrin:

Someone has ordered a 2-tier occasion cake from me, and requested it to be a brownie cake. Since brownies are usually 1" high or so, I'm wondering if I can make it work by sandwiching 2 layers of brownies with chocolate ganache or buttercream. I suppose I'll have to make a brownie which is more firm?

Has anyone made a brownie 'cake' before?
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#76 paulraphael

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 07:49 AM

I've been researching my favorite recipe, trying to find out where it comes from. The source seems to be Maida Heatter, who somewhere published this recipe:

http://theoutdatedki...s-brownies.html

My mom's version (which is what i've always made) uses a food processor. The butter is melted on the stove with sugar, and both are whisked together until thickened. This is added to chocolate that's been ground in the food processor. Everything is mixed in the processor, and one by one, the other ingredients are added, with the flour/salt/baking powder going in last and getting mixed mimimally. What's great about this recipe is partly the sour cream, which adds moistness and a barely perceptible tang, but also the gigantic proportion of chocolate. I have yet to find another recipe that has nearly as much.

Before finding this (presumably) original version online, I've been working on refining the recipe and adapting it for use without a food processor.

This weekend I melted the chocolate and butter together, and separately beat the eggs and sugar together. Everything was stirred together, with the flourf and salt going in last. I ommitted the baking powder, since beating the eggs and sugar incorporated a lot of air. I used callebaut bittersweet chocolate.

The results were delicious, but very tender (not chewy like the original version). I assume the mixing method is responsible for the change in texture, but I wonder if using better chocolate (in the past I've often used baker's chocolate from the supermarket) could have anything to do with it. The good chocolate likely has more cocoa butter and less sugar.

I'm going to try Maida's original assembly instructions next. I'd also like to experimentt with a bit less sugar and a bit more salt.

Edited by paulraphael, 26 March 2007 - 07:51 AM.


#77 Toliver

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 09:14 AM

I've put on 5lbs just going through this thread. :biggrin:

Someone has ordered a 2-tier occasion cake from me, and requested it to be a brownie cake. Since brownies are usually 1" high or so, I'm wondering if I can make it work by sandwiching 2 layers of brownies with chocolate ganache or buttercream. I suppose I'll have to make a brownie which is more firm?

Has anyone made a brownie 'cake' before?

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Cake-like brownies are also sometimes called "Texas Brownies".
This is a link to an eGullet Recipe I submitted:
"Clara’s Brownies (aka Texas Brownies)"
What makes them brownie-like is the icing...it's chocolately and nutty. The recipe calls for a 9x13 pan which helps contain the heated frosting as it's applied. I'm not sure how you could translate it into a wedding cake tier since the heated frosting probably wouldn't stick to the sides of the exposed cake.
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#78 AnnaC

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 06:34 PM

We're still finishing a great batch of Applesauce Spice Bars (very popular over in the "Baking: From My Home to Yours" forum), but you guys have given me a great excuse to try the "Independent Brownies" from "Home Baking: The Artful Mix of Flour & Traditions from Around the World" (Alford & Duguid, who brought us "Hot Sour Salty Sweet"):
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Kind of like the best possible version of those Hostess mini-brownies, if the outside were crispier, the texture better (in a cakey way), and the taste more grown-up. They look like they'll travel well, too.

#79 Tepee

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Posted 26 March 2007 - 08:21 PM

Thanks, Tim. Looks delish with the choc topping. However, for this order, she wants a very nutty brownie cake covered in rolled fondant. I'll definitely keep your recipe for a brownie order.
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#80 natasha1270

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 06:51 AM

The oven was hot. I had the chocolate. So I made some impromptu brownies last night using the Ina Garten recipe I posted earlier. Half recipe. Half with nuts/half without. I cut back the instant coffee by half because I'm sensitive to caffeine and in this recipe, it puts me over the edge but most other people tell me they can't tell the coffee is there.

In her cookbook, Ina recommends using Ghirardelli (I think) so that is what I use for these, too. Didn't really get that nice glossy finish this time but they tasted great all the same. Dense, intense & fudgy. Normally, I am in favor of simplicity but last night I was wishing I had some homemade marshmallows to add with the chips and walnuts for a rocky road variation.

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enjoy!
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#81 helenjp

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:10 AM

Tepee, the words "brownie cake" actually made me feel sick :wacko: ! The word "frosting" following close after didn't help, either!

Since my kids are home from school at present, I plan to dig out the recipe for a non-chocolate :raz: "caramel" or "butterscotch" brownie. I do like the look of the shiny, crackly top, and I like chocolate, but gooey + chocolate is not for me!

#82 Tepee

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 07:25 AM

Tepee, the words "brownie cake" actually made me feel sick :wacko: ! The word "frosting" following close after didn't help, either!

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Rolled fondant, Helen, not frosting :wacko: :rolleyes: .

That's what I hate about taking orders for cakes. Odd requests. Some design requests are so against 'our' taste, but we just have to suck it in. I took a one and a half year break from all this and has just announced that I'm taking orders again. Sigh. Only thing that motivates me (plus the odd job that allows my creativity full reign) is the money I make from one cake creation job is equivalent to the earnings from 30 loaves of bread.

Sorry for going OT.

As for the brownie (cake), I think I'll just do a very rich chocolate cake with nuts (she wants lots of it...cutting would be messy I fear).
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#83 Beebs

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 09:01 AM

Oooh! Had the most intense craving for brownies earlier this week. Couldn't find a recipe I liked (not having eggs didn't help either) so had to forego the brownies. The next night, found this thread! Must be fate by brownies.

Yesterday, I used Shaloop's recipe too (inspired by Domestic Goddess's picture). Turned out pretty good, I threw in a handful of walnuts, but next time will take it out of the oven earlier. I just finished having one, and now must go and have another and wipe brownie crumbs off the keyboard before the S.O. sees the mess! :raz:

#84 merstar

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 01:23 PM

Yesterday, I used Shaloop's recipe too (inspired by Domestic Goddess's picture).  Turned out pretty good, I threw in a handful of walnuts, but next time will take it out of the oven earlier.

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These are my favorite brownies, but I find the recipe indicates too long a baking time, ie, 35-45 minutes, the shorter time for metal pans, the longer for Pyrex pans. I do them about 32 minutes in a shiny metal pan.
Here's the link for those who want to check these out:
http://www.taunton.c...y_brownies.aspx
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#85 Kerry Beal

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Posted 27 March 2007 - 06:16 PM

I'm working on version 2 and version 3 of World Peace Brownies tonight. Version 2 has 1 less egg, and I stirred in the brown sugar at the end to see if I could get that sandy crunch. It seemed an rather dry batter.

Version 3 contains chunks of world peace cookies, made without the chunks of chocolate. The chocolate chunks were added to the batter along with the chunks of cookies.

I'll report back tomorrow after my tasters get through with them. I'll have to bake up the remaining world peace cookies to take along for the comparison. I wonder if it's too late to stir in the chunks of chocolate.

#86 miladyinsanity

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 06:58 AM

I'm working on version 2 and version 3 of World Peace Brownies tonight.  Version 2 has 1 less egg, and I stirred in the brown sugar at the end to see if I could get that sandy crunch.  It seemed an rather dry batter. 

Version 3 contains chunks of world peace cookies, made without the chunks of chocolate.  The chocolate chunks were added to the batter along with the chunks of cookies.

I'll report back tomorrow after my tasters get through with them.  I'll have to bake up the remaining world peace cookies to take along for the comparison.  I wonder if it's too late to stir in the chunks of chocolate.

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Into the cookie dough? No.

I've done that. The first time I made WPC, I halved the chocolate chunks and baked off only part of the dough. Then I added more before baking the rest off.
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#87 Kerry Beal

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 07:05 PM

So the results of the World Peace Brownie experiments were rather interesting.

Using chunks of cookie gave me a brownie with a nice sandy texture and a salty crunch - reminded me very much of the World Peace cookies, however most people liked the more traditional fudgy brownie with the addition of salt better as a brownie.

I liked the cookie added brownie best myself. I think I'll keep my usual brownie recipe as is.

So, I'll post in recipeGullet tomorrow but for now

World Peace Brownies

1 recipe adapted world peace cookies
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup dutched process cocoa
11 tsp butter (room temperature)
1/2 tsp baking powder (here I deviated in error, but it worked)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 tsp fleur de sel (I used Portugese Salt Cream)
1 tsp vanilla

I placed this all in the food processor, processed until it started to clump, dumped out on a piece of parchment, squeezed together into a log. After an hour in the fridge, I cut into slices, baked at 325 for 12 minutes.

To make the brownies

5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
6 tbsp butter
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
2 extra large eggs
1 cup flour
1/4 cup dutched process cocoa
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp fleur de sel (again Portugese Salt Cream)
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate chunks
4 World Peace Cookies broken into chunks
1/4 tsp fleur de sel to sprinkle on top

Grease an 8 by 8 inch pan. Preheat oven to 325 F.
Melt first 5 ounces of chocolate in microwave, add butter and melt. Let cool, stir in brown sugar, eggs and vanilla. Add flour, cocoa, salt and baking powder, stir until no longer streaky. Carefully stir in chocolate chunks and cookie chunks - you don't want to break the cookies up too much. Press into baking pan, sprinkle with additional salt, bake for 18 minutes. Don't overbake.

Edited by Kerry Beal, 29 March 2007 - 03:59 AM.


#88 gfron1

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 07:28 PM

of course... I made Ling's brownies, with ganache and sea salt on top. :biggrin:
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#89 Domestic Goddess

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Posted 28 March 2007 - 08:21 PM

gfron1 - Now that's a brownie! ::drool::
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#90 Lkfarkas

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Posted 29 March 2007 - 06:01 AM

Allright, gang. I'm looking for a new brownie recipe to use at the shop. I need one that's crunchy/flaky on top, and chewy/fudgy in the middle. The one I love at home hates the convection oven at the shop. I need one that can be eaten out of hand, or be thrown in box lunches, but is still sinfully delicious. Please help!
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