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

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Wuthering Heights…

I first did this for 2007 xmas and brought it to a xmas party. The log was well-received, despite the obvious lack of looks – it really looked like a pool of mud. I also did it for a family xmas dinner and my brother christened it “Wuthering Heights”, as if a log which had crashed during a thunderstorm….haha…so you can imagine, how terrible it looks.

The recipe is from Delia Smith. Ingredients and method are pretty straight forward, but the result….the cake always seemed too soft to roll! As a result, part of the mousse was used to cover the whole log and to patch the chipped away pieces….and as a result, “Wuthering Heights” emerged….

I am determined to get this recipe right and this time, I think I took a big step forward. The log looks kind of presentable, huh… (see picture at the beginning of the post)

This is really a delicious and wicked chocolate sponge – there’s no flour, no oil, just eggs, sugar and cocoa – filled with lots of thick cream and chocolate mouse, topped with icing sugar….yum! It may sound rich, but the cake is surprisingly light. Oohhh… I can’t wait for its debut later this evening at my family’s reunion dinner.

A cross-section of the log…

Calla’s notes:

  • I bake at 160 deg C for about 25 – 30 min.
  • When the cake is cool, put it into the refrigerator to firm up.
  • Perhaps next time, I will leave it to cool in the oven, as the top becomes sticky as it cools….wonder why…. Then when it is completely cold, to put in the refrigerator.
  • Best to do one day in advance so that the finished cake can firm up in the refrigerator.

As Fluffy as a Cloud…

(My project to document my observations of past bakes)

As my grandparents-in-law require soft foods, I was racking my brains what baked goodies were suitable for them. As I was surfing the internet for ideas, I thought, “Why not cupcakes – they are likely to be soft and being small makes it easier for the grandparents to eat?”

With that thought in mind, I looked for cupcake recipes to try. This lemon cream cheese cupcake was not my first choice. I tried another one, but it turned dry and dense after a day. I needed something that could keep soft and fluffy for at least a day when I bring the cupcakes to Malaysia. More about that cupcake in another post.

The lemon cream cheese cupake is from Betty Saw’s book “Tempt Cupcakes to Excite” and is posted on the net by various bloggers. I’m glad that the texture remained soft and fluffy even after a day! Also, I think the taste is good – full of lemony and creamy goodness. However, the sides and bottoms browned too fast – looks burnt, but doesn’t taste burnt (phew!). Think that’s because my mini muffin tin was the non-stick, black version. I will bake at a reduced temperature of 160 deg C to overcome this. Also, I will fill the muffin tins to about ½ to 2/3, so that the cupcakes will not rise over the paper cases and become too brown….

On another occasion, I varied with orange, but I think lemon is the best!

I present to you lemony goodness on a cloud…