Tag Archives: moist

Perfect Brownies

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I’ve made a lot of great brownie recipes, but each one had at least one imperfection. Either they were too thick or thin, too fudgy and gooey, too firm and fudge-like, or too dry around the edges.

And brownies is one of those desserts that when you decide to indulge in such a rich treat, you want to make every bite worth it. I typically wouldn’t make a low-fat brownie, because why eat a brownie if it’s low-fat and won’t possess that buttery, bittersweet chocolate flavor that defines a brownie? I find some of the really good low-fat brownie recipes are almost there, but I always feel like they’re missing something, and therefore don’t satisfy my brownie craving.

Recently, I happened upon a new blog called Cookie and Kate. When I read the description and recipe for her “Very best brownies,” I decided to give them a go. It was unique in that she instructs the baker to brown the butter before mixing in the rest of the ingredients and her recipe calls for fine grain sea salt. The chocolate used for the substance of the brownies is 100% unsweetened cocoa powder and then some semi-sweet, chopped chocolate is mixed in right before the brownies are baked to enhance the chocolate flavor even more and add another textural element, gooifying the brownies more with those spots of delicious chocolate that aren’t completely melted in.

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I cut the sugar a bit, as usual, which ended up being the perfect amount. I also used all-purpose flour, as opposed to white-whole wheat called for in the recipe. Although it was said you won’t be able to taste the difference in the final product, I didn’t want to risk that wheaty flavor that might taint the brownies 🙂

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So when you bite into one of these delicious treats, you will find a brownie that is amazingly chewy, a little gooey, very moist, and fudgy with a glistening top as well as one that has a deep caramelized flavor (from the browned butter), that combines with dark, rich chocolate and hints of sea salt to make a brownie that you will savor until the last crumb.

And the part that made me over the edge happy was that the edges weren’t dry at all! They had the same moist, chewy texture as the rest of the brownies, but had an added bonus: that crusty edge!

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Perfect Brownies

Yield: one 8 inch square pan

Ingredients:

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into ½-inch slices

generous 1 cup granulated sugar

¾ cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted if has become lumpy

½ teaspoon fine-grain sea salt

¼ teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon espresso powder or very finely ground coffee (optional)

2 cold large eggs

1½ teaspoons vanilla extract

⅔ cup unbleached all-purpose flour (can also try white-whole wheat flour)

1 to 2 ounces dark or semi-sweet chocolate, roughly chopped (or ⅓ cup chocolate chips)

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F with a rack in the lower third of the oven. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with two criss-crossed pieces of parchment paper, making sure that the paper is long enough to go up the sides a couple of inches. Grease the parchment paper.
  2. Brown the butter: Melt the butter in a medium-sized light colored saucepan over medium heat. Continue to cook the butter, while whisking constantly, until it’s a pale golden brown and the particles suspended in it are reddish brown. This will take some time and right when you think it’s just staying the same color, you will notice a ton of little brown bits that have formed underneath the liquid butter. As soon as you spot these, about 10 minutes, take the butter off the heat and make sure it did not burn. If you did this right, you will detect a deep nutty aroma and have a lot of brownish/auburn bits on the bottom and a very light brown liquid. (If you haven’t browned butter before, I strongly suggest giving it a try! It will take your baked goods to a more complex and delicious level than before!)
  3. Remove the pan from heat and stir in the sugar immediately, this is how the crackly shiny crust/top is achieved.  Then add the cocoa powder, sea salt, baking powder and espresso powder. Stir until the ingredients are thoroughly incorporated. Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes.
  4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating vigorously with a wooden spoon or silicone spatula after each one. When the mixture looks thick, shiny and well blended, add the vanilla extract and the flour. Mixture will be thick and hard to stir. Stir until you no longer see streaks of flour. Then beat vigorously for 50 strokes with the wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. At this point, the mixture should be no more than slightly warm (if not, let it cool for a few more minutes). Fold in the chocolate chunks or chips.
  6. Spread the batter in the lined pan, then use a knife to make light swirls in the top of the batter. Bake on the lower rack for about 25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool the brownies in the pan on a baking rack.
  7. Once the brownies are completely cool, lift the edges of the parchment paper and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Use a sharp chef’s knife to cut the brownies into 16 or 25 squares.

Adapted from Cookie and Kate blog

Blueberry Cake

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While at the farmers market yesterday, I spotted the quarts of plump beautiful blueberries at the fruit stand and became very excited because this means blueberry season is here at last! I love baking with blueberries and have so many recipes, both old and new to experiment with that are waiting patiently in my recipe binders.

Today I decided to share with you my favorite recipe for blueberry cake. This is a old cooking light recipe that hardly needs any tweaking. It’s perfect to make with local fresh picked blueberries and has a wonderful lightness to it, making it perfect to eat for breakfast, a snack, or dessert! There are bursts of blueberries in every bite and the cake itself lends a tender and moist crumb with a delicate flavor. Once you have one piece, you’ll keep wanting to cut off just one sliver more. It’s just that good. And unbelievably simple too!

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Blueberry Cake

Yield: one 9-inch cake, with about 8 servings

Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (about 6 3/4 oz)    CIMG6387

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

scant 3/4 cup granulated sugar

6 TBP butter, softened

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg

1 large egg white

1 1/3 cups low-fat buttermilk

cooking spray

1 1/2 – 2 cups fresh blueberries

1 TBP turbinado sugar

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9-inch round baking pan with cooking spray.

2. Whisk together flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.

3. Beat butter and sugar with an electric mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 2 min). Add vanilla, egg, and egg white, beat well. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately to sugar mixture beginning and ending with flour mixture; mix after each addition.

4. Spoon half the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle evenly with about half the blueberries. Spoon remaining batter on top; sprinkle evenly with rest of blueberries. Then sprinkle turbinado sugar on top. Bake for 40-50 min, depending on your oven, rotating front to back half way through baking. When toothpick is inserted in the center, it should come out with a few moist crumbs or clean. Cool in pan 10 minutes on a wire rack and then remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Adapted from Cooking Light 2008 

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