Sunday, January 11, 2009

Baked Brownies

Hello Readers! I'm still here, but with winter term just getting under way there hasn't been a whole lot of adventure in my kitchen.

I'd hoped to write about almond cardamom stars. I found the recipe in a back issue of Cooking Light which is not a publication I generally read. But I was offered a stack of used cooking magazines recently and took the lot. Almond paste and cardamom together in a cookie sounded lovely and the dough smelled heavenly. It even rolled out easily and cut with no problem--maybe that should have made me suspicious. Because the texture of these were awful, like dense cardboard, chewy and tough when I wanted them to be buttery and light. Oh, they were eaten, because the flavor was delightful, but I am going to have to import that heavenly combination to a more edible cookie. I'll keep you posted.

It's nice to be able to balance out our culinary failures with a huge, flamboyant triumph and thus I am offering you the Baked brownie. I generally find brownies underwhelming. Usually they are dry, crumbly, with only a hint of dusty chocolate. The opposite, of course, is the goopy frosted monster, sweet enough to make my teeth ache and leaving me feeling slightly nauseous and full of regret after the smallest piece. Brownies are either something my kids whip up because they aren't too difficult and my expectations are low, or they're an extra dessert during Passover because I've suddenly realized the seder menu is deficient. Passover brownies are generally better than regular brownies though I have no idea why. The lack of leavening maybe?

Anyhow, on a recent evening I was neither preparing for work or preparing dinner as we'd planned to eat here. This left me with a quiet bit of time to drink a cup of coffee and leaf through a new library find. Baked: New Frontiers in Baking is full of all kinds of enticing sweets although they almost lost me with their use of white chocolate (which is, in my mind, not chocolate at all and just, I don't know, icky) and the the thought of root beer bundt cake actually made me a bit ill. But paging through the crazy stuff, I found a few gems. I can't wait to make the Sweet and Salty cake which combines deep chocolate flavors with salted caramel. Oh my! But a layer cake requires planning and lots of time and I wanted to dip into this book with something a bit more manageable. I thought I'd give their brownies a try and I am so glad I did! These are crazy good--moist and chewy with a deep, dark chocolate flavor. The authors insist that only Valrhona or Callebaut will do but I was quite happy with my results using Guittard dark chocolate chips which I can buy for under $3 a bag on sale. So was everyone else who tasted these. And you will be, too, I promise. The recipe is here.

No comments: