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Thu Mar 22, 2012, 12:03 PM

Who knew that brownies were so complicated

I thought I'd like one so I googled "brownies". Pretty simple, eh?

Flour...1/2 to 2 cups
Butter (margarine) 1/2 to 1 cup either melted or creamed with
Sugar...1 to 2 cups
Eggs...2 to 4
Soda..1/2 tsp...or not
Cocoa...2 tbsp to 2/3 cup
Vanilla...Yeay
Nuts...That's not a comment. They're optional.

I guess more eggs, less flour makes a chewy brownie. More flour results in a cake or biscuit texture. Any thoughts or comments?

10 replies, 1537 views

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Reply Who knew that brownies were so complicated (Original post)
pscot Mar 2012 OP
HappyMe Mar 2012 #1
poverlay Mar 2012 #2
kentauros Mar 2012 #3
Major Nikon Mar 2012 #4
kentauros Mar 2012 #6
HopeHoops Mar 2012 #5
pscot Mar 2012 #9
Warpy Mar 2012 #7
canoeist52 Mar 2012 #8
kestrel91316 Mar 2012 #10

Response to pscot (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 12:19 PM

1. lol!

You're blinding me with science.

Probably just go the Foodnetwork and type in brownies. Or even add 'chewy' or 'cakey'.

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 12:21 PM

2. I'll just stick with the Trader Joe's brand all you have to add is yoghurt to. Good luck there! n/t

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 02:16 PM

3. The best brownie recipe I've ever made

comes from Rose Beranbaum's cookbook "A Passion for Chocolate" which is itself a collection of recipes from French chocolatiers Maurice and Jean-Jacques Bernachon.

In comparison to your comparison above, I'd say the recipe in this cookbook is on the fluffier/cakier side, due to fewer eggs and more flour. However, it also uses less fat, but requires something called "superfine" sugar, a Beranbaum invention, as I recall from her Cake Bible. It's made by putting your amount of sugar into a food processor for a few minutes to make it finer-grained. The food science of it is that the finer the crystals, the more air is incorporated and the finer the crumb It really does make a difference in cakes and desserts like brownies.

If you want the recipe to try, here it is (by weight, and volume in parenthesis) :

Les Brownies
Chocolate Brownies with Moist and Chewy Centers
makes 16 brownies

5 oz bittersweet chocolate
3 oz unsalted butter
5 oz (1 & 1/4 Cups) sifted all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
6 oz (3/4 Cup + 2 Tbsp) superfine sugar
2 extra-large eggs
3.5 oz (1 scant Cup) walnuts, coarsely chopped

One 8-inch square baking pan, greased, lines with parchment or wax-paper, then greased again and floured.

Preheat the oven to 350F

Break the chocolate into squares and place them, together with the butter, in the top of a double-boiler set over very hot water (but no hatter than 160F.) The water must not simmer or touch the bottom of the double boiler insert.

Stir until the chocolate begins to melt. Return the pan to low heat if the water cools, but be careful that it does not get too hot. (The chocolate and butter may be melted in a microwave oven if stirred every 15 seconds.) Using either method, remove it from the heat source before fully melted and stir, using the residual heat to complete the melting. Allow the chocolate to cool just until no hotter than lukewarm.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Gradually add the sugar, eggs, and then the flour mixture to the chocolate. Mix until well incorporated. Stir in the nuts.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean. The brownies should be slightly moist in the center.

Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and unmold onto a lightly greased second cookie sheet. When cool, use a serrated or sharp knife to cut the brownies into 2-inch squares. Wrap each brownie in plastic wrap to preserve moisture.

Saran wrap is ideal for wrapping the brownies because it is an airtight plastic with no microscopic "breathing" holes (unlike many other brands.)

You can turn brownies into an elegant dessert by serving them with vanilla ice cream (page 357) and chocolate sauce (page 346.)

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Response to kentauros (Reply #3)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:21 PM

4. You can buy superfine sugar

I don't think Beranbaum invented it because some recipes from the 19th century call for castor sugar, which is the same thing.

As mentioned, it's ridiculously simple to make if you have a food processor. If not, most grocery stores are going to carry it.

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Response to Major Nikon (Reply #4)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:32 PM

6. Okay, thanks :)

I wasn't aware that it was generally available. I know in one of her books she mentions it's also called "Baker's Special" or something like that, and is the same thing. So, yeah, I guess she only 'invented' how to do it yourself with a food processor

I've got a 20+ year old Cuisinart that works great for this task, though I usually only process enough for whatever I'm baking and not in bulk. I'll have to see if I can do the same in my VitaMix...

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 05:25 PM

5. Well no WONDER - the recipe is all wrong - no Ganja.

 

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Response to HopeHoops (Reply #5)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 08:01 PM

9. It's still in the developemental phase

Refinements will come later.

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 06:26 PM

7. My favorite ones when I could eat wheat were stovetop brownies

that started with 2 sticks of butter and 4 squares of unsweetened baking chocolate, then sugar, then vanilla, then eggs, then flour, then nuts, chocolate chips or whatever. The pan and saucepan were the only things that needed to be washed. The brownies were on the borderline between chewy and cakey, wonderful with ice cream and decadent even out of hand.

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Response to Warpy (Reply #7)

Thu Mar 22, 2012, 07:45 PM

8. That's the one We've always made.

It's the one on the box of unsweetened Bakers Chocolate. We microwave the chocolate and butter, though, - it easier.

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Response to pscot (Original post)

Fri Mar 23, 2012, 11:40 AM

10. I virtually always bake everything from scratch, but last month

I spotted a great sale price on Betty Crocker brownie mix so I bought a box, lol, and am gonna bake them this weekend. Chewy, cakey, it's all good.

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