Another Brownie Recipe

Since my brother is back for holidays, I took the opportunity to try another brownie recipe. This time, I used James Peterson’s recipe (from this book), which holds great promise for the features I look out for in a brownie: an in-between brownie (i.e. cakey and fudgy at the same time) which is not too sweet.

By the way, I like James Peterson’s book: Baking. His instructions are clear and concise and there are accompanying pictures to guide you along. Great for a novice baker who wishes to expand his/her repertoire, imho.

Now, back to the brownie….The brownie is indeed not too sweet, but it is more fudgy than cakey, even though I baked it till the there’s-no-crumbs-when-toothpick-is-inserted stage. Wonder is it because I swapped ¼ of the flour for cocoa powder and added 1 tsp of Tia Maria….

Anyway, I think it’s still a great brownie! 😀 To all fudgy brownie lovers, here’s sharing with you a slice of brownie heaven….

The next brownie recipe that I will try: Dorie Greenspan’s classic brownies…One day, I shall do a taste test to find out my favourite brownie recipe!

Fruit Brownies: A Chocolatey Alternative to Traditional Fruitcakes

Well I was lazy in making traditional fruitcakes a few months ago. Actually, that’s not the only reason for not making traditional fruitcakes: the recipe I’m familiar with uses treacle which comes in huge cans, but I’m only using 2tsp for the recipe!? Somehow, I can’t find other uses for treacle. So in the end, I put off making traditional fruitcakes, although it is not difficult to make and that recipe produces delicious fruitcakes.

A few days ago, as I was flipping my newspaper cuttings of recipes, I came across a recipe for fruit brownies, which touted itself as an alternative to Christmas fruitcakes. Since I already regretted not doing traditional fruitcakes and I had all the ingredients on hand, plus I had to fulfil a pot-luck dish, I made the fruit brownies….

I was quite worried as the mixture turned out quite watery. So I added more flour. The verdict: luckily the brownie didn’t turn out dry; instead it was cakey and fudgy at the same time. The brownies also didn’t turn out to be too sweet…. Thank goodness…. I also think it’s a good alternative to traditional fruitcakes…I thought of some improvements and am keen in trying them out!

Brownies

I love brownies because of the intense chocolate flavour. Well what else could be more heavenly than fudgy chocolate cakes 😛

But sad to say, many of the brownies out there are soooo sweet (imho). I did some research from my various cookbooks and found a recipe (by Mary Berry from her Ultimate Cake Book pg 50) which seems to be less sweet.  There are 2 other contenders (Dorie Greenspan: pg 88 of Baking from my home to yours and James Peterson: pg272 of Baking) whose recipes I intend to try the next time.

It was really less sweet and batter was delicious!  The coffee really makes a difference – I tried the batter before adding the coffee liqueur; my heart sank a little because I felt that it was a teeny-wheeny to sweet for my liking; but after I added the coffee liqueur, the sweetness reduced to an acceptable level and the chocolate flavour was more intense!  Phew!!

I first baked the brownie for about 15 min (with both the upper and lower heat turned on), turned off the oven and left it in the oven to continue to cook in the residual heat and then cool on a cooling rack. I did this because I saw the crust was done but the interior was still very fudgy. When completely cooled, I found that the brownie was still very fudgy, so I baked for the second time for about 25 min. It was initially more fudgy than before, but after cooling down and putting in the fridge overnight, the brownie firmed up and show distinct layers of cake and fudge – ah…my desired outcome.

Verdict: not too sweet; intense chocolate flavour; quite rich; has layers of cake and fudge

I still need to tweak the baking times. I think I shall try the following method the next time:

  • Bake at a lower temperature than 190 deg C, e.g. 170 or 180
  • Bake at upper and lower heat for about 15 min or till crust appears
  • Bake at lower heat only for the next 15 – 25 min or till moist crumbs cling on a toothpick when inserted into the brownie.

Here’s the recipe I used:

Brownies (adapted from Mary Berry)

Ingredients

225 g unsalted butter

225g caster sugar

350g dark chocolate – at least 75% cocoa; leave to cool till room temperature and chopped to small pieces (original recipe called for plain chocolate)

3 large eggs

2 tbsp coffee liqueur – I used Tia Maria (original recipe called for 2 tsp of instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp of hot water)

1 tsp vanilla essence

75g self-raising flour

1/2 tsp salt

40g unsweetened cocoa powder (original recipe did not call for cocoa powder)

Method

  1. Preheat oven till 190 deg C. Line and grease an 8″ square pan with paper hanging over the sides of the pan ( to easily remove the brownie from the pan).
  2. Melt butter over double boil.
  3. Add sugar and dissolve over double boil. Stir with whisk continuously.
  4. Add eggs and whisk over double boil till combined. If you wish to have a shiny crust, whisk vigourously after eggs are added (based on a tip by Shirley O. Corriher); otherwise whisk till just combined.
  5. Remove mixture from double boil. Add chocolate and stir with whisk till chocolate melts and combined.
  6. Stir in coffee liqueur and vanilla essence.
  7. Fold in self-raising flour, salt and cocoa powder.
  8. Pour batter into pan and smoothen surface. Bake for 40 minutes at 190 deg C, or till ready. The brownie is ready when all of the following occur: (a) brownie pulls away from the sides; (b) dull/shiny crust appears (depends on how vigourously the whisking was done after eggs were added – see step 4); and (c) moist crumbs cling on a toothpick when inserted into the brownie.

    Pointer: need to monitor temperature carefully….

  9. Leave to cool in tin on a cooling rack. When completely cooled, leave in fridge for a few hours, preferably overnight. Cut into squares.

Sharing with you a slice of chocolate heaven

After 1st bake and cooled

See the shiny/lighter-colour crust above the brownie.  According to Shirley O. Corriher, this is a meringue-like crust caused by a mixture of egg white and sugar.  Whether brownies have a crust on top depends on how much/vigourously you beat the batter after the eggs are added.

After 2nd bake and overnight refrigeration