Friday, May 1, 2009

Brownies : To be (fudgy) or not to be...

Blurry Brownie

I believe I've pretty much mastered the one single blondie recipe I've ever made. A sign of 'mastering' a baking recipe, in my opinion, is being able to eat the whole thing--even better, hiding it from friends to keep more for yourself--and that's exactly what baking a blondie results in for me.

Brownies are on a whole different level. Sure, I can eat a brownie, but I can't really eat 15 of them. Not that I could eat 15 blondies, right? I can sense that I'm not really fooling anyone--I can eat 15 blondies, but over the course of a 24-hour day. That sounds better.

Anyway, prior to last week I had only made one batch of brownies. It was more cake-like than fudgey, and my disappointment shot up every time I would bite into them and taste...cake. So imagine my excitement when I found an America's Test Kitchen recipe for Ultimate Fudgy Brownies. I was already picturing dense and gooey fudge brownies, especially since there are other non-fudge-like recipes in the America's Test Kitchen book. If this is the "ultimate" fudge brownie, I thought, I'm in for a wild ride.

It started out great: the batter was delicious. So delicious that I had too much and got a stomach ache for the rest of the night (note: this never ever happens with blondie batter). I followed the recipe's baking instructions and even took them out 3 or 4 minutes earlier than recommended. I didn't wait for them to cool--who does, really--and popped a tiny chunk into my mouth.

Fudgey, sort of. Cakey, sort of.

How can that be?? I was so disappointed, but they were still good. Not as good as I hoped though (however my expectations were high and very precise), so I'll have to try again. Or just make plain old fudge, and let the brownie be itself.

Ultimate Fudgy Brownies - America's Test Kitchen Family Baking Book
makes 16 brownies

5 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarse
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped coarse (I didn't differentiate between the two and just used Nestle Dessert Noir brought back from France)
8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 tbsp Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 1/4 c. sugar
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 c. all-purpose flour.

Preheat oven to 350°F and adjust an oven rack to the middle position. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with a foil sling and grease the foil--I used a standard rectangular glass pan and it was fine.
Melt chocolates, butter, and cocoa together in the microwave (or over a double boiler). Let the mixture cool slightly.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt together. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until combined. Stir in the flour until just incorporated.

Bake the brownies until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 35 to 40 minutes (test it at 25 minutes, it might be just how you want it!). Rotate the pan halfway through baking. 

Le the brownies cool completely in the pan, about 2 hours (ha! yeah right, like anyone can wait that long). Cut into squares and serve.
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Anonymous said...

The type of baking pan can be very important. If you watch ATK, you are aware that they usually test baked recipes with different ovenware to determine what comes out best. Substituting chocolate types will usually only affect the taste, but substituting ovenware can affect the texture. It is humorous to see people complain about the results of a recipe when they knowingly deviate from it. A common scenario is substituting baking powder for baking soda in cookie recipes, then complaining the cookies are too cakey and not chewy.

L.E.R said...

I definitely agree! But sometimes when the desire to try a new recipe strikes, you just have to make do with the ingredients or utensils you've got. That's where the fun starts: trial and error!