Thursday, September 29, 2011

VLOG: brownies, two ways

I wish I had more time to devote to my video blogs and return to the nerdy aspects of it.  Lately, I find that I am rushing to meet my monthly goal of publishing at least one blog entry.  Luckily today I present to you a long awaited post on brownies.  I write "two ways" because I am referring to the base brownie recipe.  The addition of Andes chocolate mints and dulce de leche caramel does not result in two different brownies because the "foundation" is essentially the same.  The first recipe features nutella, which is barely detectable in the flavor of the brownie.  It serves as a component that contributes primarily to texture, more so than taste.  The fats in the nutella spread play a key role.  I offer the second recipe as an equally delicious alternative because not everyone has nutella sitting in their pantry.  Both brownie recipes are phenomenal.  I achieved the same chewiness that is the feature characteristic of Ghiradelli boxed brownies.  The reason why box brownies have that texture is because of  the kind of fats they utilize.  Fat can be divided into two broad types: saturated (solid) and unsaturated (liquid).  The unique combination of these fats is what gives box brownies their characteristic texture.  Box mixes conveniently contain that saturated fat component (shortening), therefore when the unsaturated vegetable oil is added, the ideal chew ratio of liquid fat to powdered solid fat is formed!  To achieve the same chew in a from-scratch homemade recipe, the perfect proportion of liquid to solid fat is required and I believe the two recipes in my vlog will absolutely supply that for you!    

EDIT: I'm currently having difficulties getting the vlog to embed on this site.  So until I get this issue resolved, you can click HERE for the video!


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Recipe One: Brownies using Nutella (Italian Hazelnut Spread)
Recipe Adapted from Vittles and Bits
Ingredients for one 8x8in square pan
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweeteend cocoa powder
pinch salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cups sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup Nutella spread

Directions
1) Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 square pan with parchment paper.  In small bowl, combine flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt.  Set aside.
2) In large microwavable bowl, melt butter in 20 second intervals, stirring after each until smooth.  Add sugar and vanilla, and whisk until well-combined.  Add eggs one at a time, whisking well after each addition.  Add cocoa mixture and whisk until fully combined.  
3) In glass measuring cup or other microwave-safe bowl, melt Nutella in 20-second intervals, stirring after each, until smooth and pourable consistency.  Stir into batter.  Pour into prepared pan and bake 25-30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with a few crumbs attached.  

Recipe Two: Cocoa Brownies with Andes Chocolate Mints and Dulce de Leche Caramel
Recipe Adapted from Bon Appetit
Ingredients for one 8x8in square pan
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces

Directions
1) Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with parchment paper. 
2) Melt butter the microwave in 20 second intervals.  Immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). 
3) Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
4) Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes.

3 comments:

  1. My friend says her secret for last minute parties is to buy the Ghiradelli boxes--I'll send her this link!

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  2. @Chris: Cool! I think she'll find that these brownies are equally as good as Ghiradelli brownies, if not better! :) I know I sure do!

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  3. cool recipe ! certainly will try out the nutella brownie recipe .

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