Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Adventures in Cooking - Brownies

We have an afternoon tea at work today, and I needed a blog entry, so I baked. It's a win/win! I've never made brownies before - wait, I should correct myself. I've never successfully made brownies before (they always end up flat, to cake-like or just weirdly cooked and I get totally enraged that I fail at something so simple and there is much banging of dishes in the kitchen as I clean up. See also: scones), so I thought I'd give them another try. I found this recipe on Taste and made a couple of modifications.

1 1/4 cups caster sugar
3/4 cup plain flour
1/3 cup cocoa
200 grams good quality milk chocolate (I used Cadbury Milk)
150 grams butter
3 eggs
250 grams white choc chips
Icing sugar, to dust

Preheat the oven to 160ยบ celsius (as always, with my fan forced oven I took off about thirty or forty degrees) and grease an 18cm x 28cm slab pan and line the bottom of it with grease proof baking paper.

Mix the caster sugar, plain flour and cocoa together in a bowl and set aside.

Melt the milk chocolate and butter in a saucepan over another saucepan of boiling water.

Stir it occasionally until it melts - otherwise you get that horrible gritty, stuck to the bottom of the saucepan thing happening.

Let it cool for about a minute.

Beat the eggs lightly (I totally forgot about beating the eggs until I needed to put then in the mixture. So I really suggest you beat the eggs while the chocolate and butter are melting because my chocolate/butter mix almost started to congeal while I quickly beat the eggs as it cooled. It was a near disaster, people. You need to keep that chocolate and butter smooth as silk).

Combine the melted chocolate and the eggs with the dry ingredients and stir gently until it's all combined. When I say stir, I sort of mean fold in, but with a slight 'stir' action. Specific, huh?

Add the white chocolate chips to the mix and combine gently. FYI: at this point, the mixture tastes really, really good.

Pour the mixture into the pan, spread it evenly throughout the pan and bang on the counter a few times to get rid of the air bubbles. Pop it in the oven for about 45 minutes (in a gas oven) or about 30 minutes (in a fan forced oven).

The brownies should come out of the oven just before they're completely cooked the entire way through, so that they retain a slightly soft centre. Check periodically with a skewer and right before it comes out totally clean, take it out of the oven.

Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before slicing up and dusting with icing sugar to serve.

Et Voila!

For the record, these turned out fabulously! They had a wafer thin crunchy layer on top and the centre was a mix of semi-cake, semi-fudge texture, and the white choc chips were a great way to break up the milk chocolate.

- I didn't have the exact sized pan listed, so I used a slice tray that was 18cm x 28cm. I don't think it made much difference - the brownies were quite thick and had a nice subtle density.
- It was really helpful to line the bottom of the dish with baking paper. If I hadn't, I think the brownies would definitely have stuck to the pan when I turned it upside down to get it out.
- The orginal Taste recipe lists 125 grams of hazelnuts and 125 grams of pecans roughly chopped instead of the white choc chips I used. I think the nuts would add a lovely crunchy texture, but it all depends on your personal taste.
- I also think you could use 100 grams of good quality dark chocolate and 100 grams of milk chocolate instead of just all milk chocolate if you like a slightly darker, more bitter taste.
- These would be amazing if they were eaten immediately upon being sliced up and combined with a dollop of really nice vanilla bean ice cream. And maybe some strawberries on top. Or raspberries. Or both......

I'll definitely be making these again - they were superb.
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Heidi - Apples Under My Bed said...

Great baking work! Love a good brownie. & yes, they're perfect with raspberries. Love the sound of the white choc chips throughout for something different!
Heidi xo

Hannah said...

Or allllllll dark chocolate. Forever and ever amen. :P

That said, I do applaud your switch of white choc chips for the nuts. Nuts belong in nut butter. Chocolate belongs in brownies! :)

Julia @ Boredom Abounds said...

Heidi, yeah, I was super pleased they worked! I'm a sucker for milk and white chocolate mixed together!

Hannah, as soon as I hit publish I thought "I bet some people would prefer all dark chocolate"! I'm not a huge fan of nuts in brownies, but I do love hazelnuts, so I would probably sprinkle a few through next time just to see what it was like.

Anna @ IHOD said...

You have motivated me to get out my apron this weekend! :D those look awesome!

Julia @ Boredom Abounds said...

Anna, the best thing is they are so quick and easy to make!

Well, the second best thing. The first best thing is that are so, so delicious!