cake / dessert family / friends

Brownies

Wednesday, April 23, 2014Enz F




This is my congratulatory blog post to my dear friend, Princess, who, after gathering all the necessary courage and guts, finally flipped over her one-year old oven and revealed her long hidden passion for baking and pastry-making. She managed to bake her first brownies last Saturday (that happened to be a Black Saturday) - the supposedly treats for the upcoming Easter Sunday became a Black Saturday late afternoon chocolate indulgence. 

You can use either unrefined or Dutch-processed cocoa powder

I had very few words to say except that her brownies yielded a dense middle crust with a slightly crumbly top and a chocolate sweetness that was not so overpowering, which I easily fell in love with. This could be due to her use of cocoa powder instead of the usual melted sweetened chocolate bars which gave her more control of the sugar. This was surprisingly very easy to make and yet, turned out amazingly chocolaty rich and sinfully decadent. 

Her very first attempt of “bake-bake-kan” (or "pretending to bake"; we jokingly call it as such to intentionally place a very low expectation on to something experimental just in case it produce a failed or inferior outcome) was indeed a success and has a long way to go. And boy, her finished product was way beyond our "rocket-high" expectation as this made us experience some chocolate pleasure in an instant. I must say, without any bias and prejudice, that Princess’ Simple and No-frills Brownies could be comparable and would most likely get a big chance to compete with the other commercialized, overrated and most of the time, sugar-coated brownies that are commonly sold at the leading pastry shops. Not exaggerating and keeping our friendship aside, that was pretty an excellent job for a beginner that only deserves nothing but an A+ rating.

Reduce the baking time if you want to achieve a slightly fudgy texture
Brownies
Yields 16 pieces of 2x2-inch square cuts

(Printer-friendly recipe)

INGREDIENTS:
  • ¾ cup cocoa powder 
  • 1 cup granulated sugar 
  • ½ cup all purpose flour 
  • 5 oz. (140 grams) unsalted softened butter 
  • ¼ tsp. salt 
  • 2 eggs 
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract 

PROCEDURE:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300ºF (150ºC). Line the bottom and the sides of an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Leave an excess lining of about ½-inch on the two opposite sides. This would be of help when taking the cooled brownies off the pan. 
  2. Add enough water (about 1 to 2 inches deep) in a medium saucepan and set the heat until the water is nearly simmering but not boiling. In a heat-safe bowl, combine the cocoa, sugar, salt and softened butter. Rest the bowl over the simmering water. 
  3. Occasionally stir the mixture until the ingredients are well incorporated. Keep an eye of the heat to maintain the mixture warm but not bubbling hot. The mixture would look grainy at first but that is fine. It will smoothen once the eggs and flour are added. Remove the bowl from heat and allow to cool a bit for about 3 to 5 minutes. 
  4. Add in the vanilla extract. Put the eggs, one at time, whisking briskly after each one. The batter at this time should begin to smoothen and to look glossy. Add the floor and continue to stir until well blended and the mixture slightly thickens. 
  5. Thoroughly pour in the chocolate batter in lined baking pan. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes. Test the doneness of brownies by inserting a toothpick into the center. If it comes out almost clean, then the brownies are ready to go. 
  6. Take out from the oven and allow the brownies to completely cool before removing from the pan by carefully lifting the excess hanging baking sheet lining on the sides. Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes before slicing to achieve firm and perfect square cuts. 
  7. Serve with drink choice of coffee, tea or milk. Enjoy! 

TIPS FROM ENZ:
  1. For added flavor and texture, put some coarsely grounded peanuts or walnuts on the batter mixture. 
  2. Sprinkle the sliced brownies with confectionery sugar if desired. 
  3. Reduce the baking time to achieve a fudgy and slightly moist texture. 
  4. The ratio of the ingredients above are intended to yield a slightly bittersweet chocolate taste. Just lessen the amount of cocoa or add more sugar if you are on the semi-dark or sweeter side. 
  5. Feel free to use either unrefined or Dutch-processed cocoa powder. Both are good but would yield a slightly different taste. Choose the one that would best suit your preference.

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