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Kerry Beal

Brownies -- Bake-Off I

220 posts in this topic

As imitation is the sincerest form of flattery - I'd like to flatter Chris Amirault by starting a Bake-Off series to match his wonderful Cook-Off series.

I thought we'd start off easy with something familiar that most of us make on occasion, then every couple of weeks I'll post a new item so we can explore another Bake-Off subject. Rest assured that not all will be as familiar or as straightforward as brownies.

Rules of the game -

1. Avoid recipe copyright issues - as described here.

2. If you post a recipe, make sure to put it into recipeGullet to make it easy for others to find in the future.

3. Remember this is not a competition - simply a chance for everyone who chooses to bake the same thing, compare notes, perhaps make suggestions. Essentially just to have fun. Let's keep it friendly - there are no right or wrong recipes.

With that out of the way - why brownies to start? Well if you do a google search confined to eG there are 2380 references to brownies. Means we talk about them a lot. They come up time and again in such threads as "PMS, tell it like it is", "The Dinner Thread" and "The Dessert Thread".

Putting 'brownies' in the recipeGullet index brings up 24 recipes. And that is just the tip of the iceberg. There is a recipe there for Baby Food Brownies by srhcb, Black Pepper Brownies by Swisskaese and Sand Art Brownies by Cadbury.

How about the blogs? Who can forget yunnermeier's spacecakes made with Dr. Oetker brownie mix. Calipoutine's blog contained a reference to Buenos Aires Brownies - available at Zingermans, they contain a swirl of dulce de leche - makes your mouth water.

There are some rather unusual brownies too, srhcb's 'Dog Brownies' (take one dog, stir well...) and in the Pastry and Baking Challenge we have duckduck's 'Black Bean Brownies'.

So get out your favorite baking pan and let's bake Brownies. Cakelike, chewy, nuts, no nuts - what ever strikes your fancy - then show us and tell us what you've made.

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I've 17 brownie recipes to try.

I will start this week.

So far, my preference is Ling's brownie recipe--it's in RecipeGullet--but slightly modified.


May

Totally More-ish: The New and Improved Foodblog

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Just a quick reminder:

Please remember that it takes a lot of time, money, and energy for cookbook writers and professionals with recipes on the web to develop recipes. Soooooo, be sure to credit the originator of a recipe if you are using someone else's as a base, or especially if you are using someone else's as an entry with little change.

:biggrin::wink::smile:

Thanks so much for your kind attention.

Eileen


Eileen Talanian

HowThe Cookie Crumbles.com

HomemadeGourmetMarshmallows.com

As for butter versus margarine, I trust cows more than chemists. ~Joan Gussow

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Brownies! Heelllllsss-yeah!

I just made a pan last night with the Mark Bittman recipe, as a trade for a box of Crystal Lite Raspberry Ice (Ironic?). Ex-pat life is a series of barters sometimes.

Anyway, I love how simple the recipe is, especially considering my kitchen - I make the whole thing in the saucepan I use to melt the chocolate.

I'll make some this week - maybe I'll doctor them with a bit of Cafe Mai coffee essence.

Stay tuned.

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I'm curious to know what qualities people like in brownies. I've always been partial to having as intense and rich and chocolatey an experience as possible, without the brownie having the quite density and (especially) stickyness of fudge. I just assumed this is what everyone liked, until I stumbled onto a cooks illustrated article (one of those quests for the perfect ______ installments) on brownies. The author's ideal was specifically for something closer to cake than what I like.

So where does everyone else stand?

Brownies are the one recipe I've gotten from my mom. For most other desserts I go to people like Pierre Hermé and Alice Medrich and Gilles Bajolles, and experiment with their ideas until I need bypass surgery. But mom's recipe is so right on that I've hardly even tweaked it.

I have no idea where she got it (it definitely isn't original) so I don't know if it would be within the rules to post it.

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I like a brownie that's a brownie: not cake and not fudge. A nice crackly top is a bonus. The best I've found to match my idea of "perfect" is the King Arthur Flour "On-The-Fence Brownie."

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I would love to do this!

my husband makes perfect brownies (one of three things he is able to cook in life) I will have to see what he does and try to copy it..

fudgy but cooked center (I hate raw gooey brownies)

and a nice crackly shell on top ...very rich and darkly chocolatey are the best

big chunks of walnuts are fine with me

I hope I dont gain 10lbs with this one


Edited by hummingbirdkiss (log)

why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I don't particularly like to eat brownies but the rest of the family do! So I thought I would join this bake-off and kill two birds with one stone. :biggrin:

These are from a recipe on epicurious.com and I followed it to the letter. Unfortunately I cannot tell you if they are good or bad brownies until someone else tastes them!

gallery_6903_111_1090.jpg:rolleyes:


Anna Nielsen aka "Anna N"

...I just let people know about something I made for supper that they might enjoy, too. That's all it is. (Nigel Slater)

"Never call a stomach a tummy without good reason.” William Strunk Jr., The Elements of Style

Our 2012 (Kerry Beal and me) Blog

My 2004 eG Blog

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If anyone can develop a brownie recipe based on Hermé's salted chocolate "World Peace" cookie in Dorie Greenspan's new book, I'd send them homecured bacon for life. (Ix-nay on the uts-nay.)


Chris Amirault

camirault@eGstaff.org

eG Ethics Signatory

Sir Luscious got gator belts and patty melts

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If anyone can develop a brownie recipe based on Hermé's salted chocolate "World Peace" cookie in Dorie Greenspan's new book, I'd send them homecured bacon for life. (Ix-nay on the uts-nay.)

I'll accept this challenge - but I'll need the recipe of the World Peace cookies (I know someone who has the book). Is it OK Chris if they aren't quite as sweet at the cookies?

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I want to participate! But here's the catch: I want to use up what I have on hand without having to buy any other ingredients.

What I have on hand:

An 11.5 oz bag of Ghirardeli bittersweet chocolate chips

1 lb of chestnuts

4 oz of Nestle cocoa powder

Typical pantry items (eggs, flour, sugar, etc.)

In particular I'm interested in using up as much as I can of the first two items. Can anyone recommend a good recipe?

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Here's a brownie theory question (and if no one has an answer, this might be a self-nomination for a test ...)

The recipe I like uses a food processor to grind the chocolate and incorporate all the ingredients (including the tiny amount of flour at the end). The only ingredient that gets melted is the butter. I haven't come across any other chocolate recipes that use ground chocolate instead of melted.

I gather the reason for grinding is either 1) for convenience, 2) an adaptation for an appliance cookbook, or 3) it does something different to the texture than melting.

Any thoughts?

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I do not want a cake-like brownie. If I want cake, I'll eat cake. I'm really partial to a gooey brownie, but I love the edge/crispy bits. To that end, I espied with interest this new item: the Bakers Edge pan. Anyone tried one?

My go-to brownies are from Maida Heatter's cookbooks. The Heath Bar Brownies make me weak in the knees. Note to self -- add Heath Bars to the grocery list!


Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"

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I'm in!

I just bought Baking, From My Home to Yours, and there are something like a dozen brownie recipes in there, which I am thrilled about.

My go-to brownie recipe is "Best Ever Brownies" from Baking with Julia. They have a lovely merigue-y crackly top, and are perfectly fudgy and chocolately on the inside. I always make double the number I think I need, because people get mad at you when you run out.

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


"First rule in roadside beet sales, put the most attractive beets on top. The ones that make you pull the car over and go 'wow, I need this beet right now'. Those are the money beets." Dwight Schrute, The Office, Season 3, Product Recall

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I'll definitely be part of this challenge, but I haven't decided which recipe(s) to try. I like a fudgy brownie and have been happy using Ling's recipe (RecipeGullet) and one of Dorie Greenspan's that appears in both Baking, From My Home to Yours and Baking with Julia. Both are pretty gooey and delicious, but I'm up for something new and a little less gooey. This will be fun. :biggrin:


Ilene

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gallery_34671_3697_13051.jpg

Here is my regular brownie recipe, known humbly as World's Best Brownies. This recipe started it's life as a cookie in a women's magazine, and after making them I realized they made better brownies than cookies. A little tweeking - decreasing the sugar, changing the walnuts for pecans - and I had this fabulous fudgy brownie, a little crispy on the top, just plain delicious.

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I'm curious to know what qualities people like in brownies.[...]

I won't be baking anything for this thread, but as a consumer of brownies, I can weigh in here:

The richest, most delicious brownies I've ever had were raspberry brownies that, believe it or not, I used to buy in a now long-defunct convenience store just east of the corner of 42nd St. and 6th Av. in Manhattan. I don't know where they got them from, but they were made with very fudgy, very dark chocolate and delicious raspberry jam. I gained a lot of weight (14 lbs., I think?) the year that I ate those regularly after classes at CUNY Graduate Center, which was in a building about halfway between 5th and 6th on 42nd St. in those days (1987-88).

I definitely agree that cake and brownies are and should be mutually exclusive. Nuts are fine, but I prefer them to be really good nuts like pecans or perhaps hazelnuts, not walnuts, and I'd probably prefer them fairly finely chopped. But I think it's better to use that space for more chocolate or more of some other delicious but non-crunchy ingredient. If you want crunchiness, use some chocolate chips that remain in chip form or crisp the top, as others have said. Hazelnut butter instead of crunchy nuts might be interesting, though.

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I love my brownies a bit crunchy on the top, and fudgy in the middle. No nuts, either, please. Mmmmmm.

That's exactly how I like my brownie. Has to be very chocolatey (surprisingly, some are not!). I'm looking forward to this challenge. I usually use Alice Medrich's recipe from Bittersweet using . . . bittersweet chocolate. There are variations using cocoa powder or unsweetened chocolate. The unsweetened chocolate version has done me very, very wrong (won't bake all the way in the time specified or even much longer, won't come out of the pan gracefully, ends up being an unserveable mess).

I personally don't like chocolate chips, fruit flavors, or (quel horreur!!!) cream cheese in my brownies.


Edited by MsRamsey (log)

"Save Donald Duck and Fuck Wolfgang Puck."

-- State Senator John Burton, joking about

how the bill to ban production of foie gras in

California was summarized for signing by

Gov. Schwarzenegger.

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my husband said the recipe he uses was Katherine Hepburn's from forever ago ...he will not tell me ... (I will have to look for that one unless someone here has it and would like to share?) and he has been doing it for so long it is all from what he says is his "sharp memory, skilled technique and gentle hand " :raz:

the only other thing this man makes in grilled cheese and scrambled eggs!!!

I am going to watch him and then copy his technique!!! I know the pan he uses is only alloted for brownies he said it does make a HUGE difference in the nice shell they have....


why am I always at the bottom and why is everything so high? 

why must there be so little me and so much sky?

Piglet 

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I'm curious to know what qualities people like in brownies.[...]

The richest, most delicious brownies I've ever had were raspberry brownies that, believe it or not, I used to buy in a now long-defunct convenience store just east of the corner of 42nd St. and 6th Av. in Manhattan. I don't know where they got them from, but they were made with very fudgy, very dark chocolate and delicious raspberry jam. I gained a lot of weight (14 lbs., I think?) the year that I ate those regularly after classes at CUNY Graduate Center, which was in a building about halfway between 5th and 6th on 42nd St. in those days (1987-88).

:raz: Brownie and raspberry jam sounds amazing! I'd love to try that. Was the raspberry swirled into the batter?

There're so many brownie recipes I'd love to try this week. I always eat too many brownies :huh: I'll try to actually get them to school before I eat them all :unsure:

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I make a real moist fudgie but browniefull browniemous magical brownie from Jeri Dry and Alix Engle's sweet little cookie book, Cookiemania. Love this little book. I lost it once and my daughter who got me the original, replaced it. It's out of print but just a rock solid every cookie 100% perfect book. Then of course I found the original. I should give her one, but I thoroughly enjoy the luxury of two.

Well anyway back to brownies. So I take some dried cherries, like three inches in a narrow coffee cup and pour in like an inch and a half of rum. Cover securely with plastic wrap. Microzap this watching closely so that it just bubbles up nicely for a coupla minutes so most all the alcohol evaporates. So then when it's removed from the microwave, the plastic will suck down in the cup and all the rest of the liquid will get sucked into the cherries. It's kinda fun to do. Sometimes the plastic pops open from the strain.

But then I chop the cherries and add them to the mixture with a tad of almond extract. So you have killer chocolate covered cherry brownies :biggrin:

For a nice topper for brownies, right out of the oven, I slice them, and drizzle a confectioner sugar glaze. Because they are sliced, the drizzle can sink down in the nooks and crannies and that gives a light crispiness too. And a nice complement to the intense chocolateness. If you really wanna go all out, add a dash of vanilla to the glaze.

These brownies come out with an amazing texture. They melt in your mouth.

Some brownie musings for y'all.

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I'm a big fan of Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies for thick, fudgy brownies with a crisp top. They are a great base recipe to add nuts, caramel, chile, malt, ginger, or whatever you are in the mood for.

My office recently went nuts for Dorie Greenspan's mint brownies and honey nut brownies. I don't typically like nuts in my brownies, but these are more cake-like then brownie-like.

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