Saturday, March 22, 2008

CAKEY brownies

As a baker, its practically an obligation to know how to make brownies, and I feel that mine are really pretty good, though I'm sure those who tried it today would complain a little =P I'm well aware of the problems with today's batch, and I'll explain them in a moment! But usually, my brownies are crumbly and moist, with tiny pockets of chocolate bits, melty if the brownie is warm, or just a nugget of dense, slightly bitter chocolate if the brownie has cooled.

One thing about my brownies though, they are absolutely, unquestioningly, CAKEY. None of that fudgy nonsense will ever emerge from my kitchen by choice, I can assure you [unless if someone really important requests it =D] As I'm sure my team mates are tiring of hearing, I abhor the whole idea of eating virtually uncooked batter, and fudgy brownies top the list of uncooked batter.

The recipe I use is adapted from the Deep dark cakey brownies recipe from Diana's Dessert, an amazing website. Basically, the only changes I made to it is the addition of cocoa powder and chocolate chips. I find that cocoa powder gives the brownies an extra velvety texture, and the chocolate chips make these dark brownies ever MORE chocolaty, if you can imagine it =)

Today is the first time I'm using silicon bakeware, given to me by my fantabulous cousins [THANXXXXX!], and its really as it is advertised, very convenient and completely non-stick. However, one little thing the pamphlet neglected to highlight, and which I had to find out after I burnt my brownies and from the internet, is that because these silicon pans heat up faster than the traditional metal/glass ones, baking time has to be reduced by 5-10 minutes. And therein lies the reason for the slightly too dry brownies, not to mention its unsightly appearance, as I had to slice off the burnt parts =P Another notable event from this baking sessions: measuring cups RULE!! Another perfect gift from my cousins [I am so lucky, I know], I have always felt them to be too much trouble, and also that they can't be that accurate. But after trying them out with the brownies, I find them to be soooo handy! No more measuring on the kitchen scale! And they are indeed accurate =) And so, from now on, I will give some measurements in cups, but together with the metric volume if I have them, and only on ingredients that you can adjust the amount of safely =)


* by the way, Diana's has this amazing conversion calculator that I would have absolutely died without, give it a go!

113g dark chocolate, melted

113g unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup/225g granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp. vanilla essence

1/4 cup or 60ml milk

50g plain flour [reduce a little to make way for the cocoa]

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/8 tsp salt

1/2 cup chopped walnuts [nuts lovers, you can safely add a whole cup; this is very conservative. Nut haters can omit it]

3 tablespoon cocoa powder

1/4 cup chocolate chips

*On another matter, I think I have a solution to the unsoftened butter! Simply cut it down to as tiny as you can, then start smushing it around with a spatula or scrapper until its soft! Isn't really that fast, but better than sitting around waiting for the dame thing to soften right?

Cream sugar and butter, then the eggs, one by one. Then add vanilla and milk, beat some more until smooth. Next, beat in the melted chocolate until it thickens a little, around 5 minutes. Dump in all the dry stuff at once [remember to sieve the cocoa! And since you have to sieve the cocoa already, might as well do all the other dry stuff right?] and mix thoroughly. No need to be extra gentle with it, but neither should you take out your frustration with your boss on it. Pour into your baking pan and smooth out the edges, bake in a preheated 180 degree celcius oven until the top is nice and hardened [you know, that nice crunchy part on top everyone likes? Pop a piece of foil over it if it starts to burn], and a skewer inserted comes out without any batter stuck to it.

Icing sugar over the top is optional, I usually don't do it, but I was covering up the butchered surface of the brownies from where I removed the burnt bits.

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