Al’s cooking – ‘PRIZE winning’ Double Chocolate Brownies
“A chocolate brownie is a flat, baked square or bar introduced in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century. … [It is a] dense, rich chocolate cake, which is, in texture, like a cross between a cake and a cookie”. See: Wikipedia
Having signed myself up for the Melbourne Blogger’s Mad-Hatter Event, I needed to make something. Out of all things I could’ve done, I decided on something I hadn’t done before – Double Chocolate Brownies taken from a brand spanking new chocolate book. Though I must admit (guiltily) you could probably count how many things I’ve ever baked… so what difference does it make huhz? P.S. there will be a post very soon regarding the Mad-Hatter event.
End result: Seems appropriate to place this at the start, since I assume everyone will probably scroll to the bottom first anyways =P.
Quite nicely browned, not quite golden, but still browned. I had a crispy, crumbly layer on top, which literally crumbles with a press of a finger. Now imagine sliding a knife through it! Taste wise, the brownie was slightly chilled and had this crispy exterior with a slightly warm but gooey middle. Small pockets of milk chocolate can be found scattered throughout… providing hidden surprise with every bite.
Success or failure: SUCCESS! What did the judges think: They named my brownie as ‘BEST SWEET’ of the day! My reaction: huhz? you really serious? Then I look around see if I’m just hearing things. Best thing is I get degustation for 2 at French Brasserie!!! THANKYOU for all the support & recognition, really appreciate it!!! (See here)
Cooking time: 30 min preparation & 10-20 min baking. Probably an extra 10 minutes cleaning up the scattered dust both brown (chocolate dust from the blending) and white (flour from my messy sifting), splotches of brown stained fingers, arms, bench and window(s) … yup the chocolate sure made it far!
Difficulty: easy with a few tricks (as long as you follow the recipe and some tips, anyone should be able to make salivation-worthy brownies)
Makes: 24 brownies (HUGE HUGE slices though). Anyways, it’s a 33x23cm tray, so you can decide how big or small you want to cut it. =)
- ½ cup (125g) unsalted butter (I used 110g)
- 250g dark chocolate (I used Lindt 70%, normally I would’ve used 85% but ran out)
- 250g milk chocolate (I used Cadbury milk)
- 4 large eggs (I used 800g eggs, extra large!)
- 1¼ cups (250g) granulated sugar (I used: 1 cup, always too sweet in recipes I find)
- ½ cup (100g) firmly packed light brown sugar (I used: 1/3 cup)
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1½ teaspoons vanilla essence
- 1 cup (150g) all purpose plain flour
1. Pre-heat oven to 1800C (165 fan forced).
They didn’t mention fan-forced, but I probably should have realised books generally default to non-fan-forced (if not specified). Normally decrease the temperature by 10-150C if yours is fan-forced.
2. Butter and flour a 33x23cm baking tray. Then line with aluminium foil.
Make sure you spread the butter evenly (preferably with a brush). Not as important here but especially important for baking soufflés where direct contact with the cake mixture occurs – allows it to rise smoothly.
Please use only one piece of foil, don’t try to use multiple pieces… thinner cake mixes will go through the seams. Press the foil into the edges (otherwise you might get ugly crevices from the foil sticking in). And, leave extra foil sticking out off the edges so you can lift it out later. Trying to tip out a “crumbly” brownie = disaster.
3. Prepare ingredients: A) Measure out butter, flour, sugar & salt. B) Chop chocolate coarsely (keep dark & milk separate).
Use a food processor if you have one (Use quick pulses on mod-high speed) – it’s a LOT of chocolate to chop by hand otherwise. And the end result of using a food processor is that you get CHOCOLATE DUST to smear off the sides of the processor and lick your fingers with…yum. Caution: it can glide in the breeze and coat a lot of things in the kitchen…
4. Melt butter and dark chocolate in a bowl over barely simmering water. Melt and set aside to cool.
Melting chocolate may seem easy but BEWARE of the traps. Don’t try to do this quickly. The water MUST NOT BOIL, only barely simmering (ie bubbling). The bowl of chocolate must NOT touch the water beneath it, otherwise it will scald the chocolate (burnt is not nice). Mix frequently. If chocolate starts to separate then you need to start new batch. Actually I’ve never had this happen to me luckily… so in actual fact I don’t know what this separation looks like, but I presume like oil-and-water? Anyways, when the mixture is smooth and glistening with no lumps – then it’s done.
5. Beat the eggs and sugar (both brown and white), in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy.
Approximately 3-5min. It’s ready when it drips off a spoon like ‘pouring-cream’.
6. Adjust mixer to low speed, add salt, melted dark chocolate and vanilla.
7. Add flour to mixer.
Please add slowly so that you don’t end up with flour everywhere over your kitchen floor
8. Stir milk chocolate chunks in. This will give chunks of yummy chocolate to savour on in your brownie.
9. Spoon batter onto prepared tray.
Make an attempt to smooth it out with large spoon or cake spatula. Given how thick the mixture is, on its own it might not flatten out on like a fluid cake mixture would. P.S. apologies for the rather *urgh* looking blob … =P
10. Bake until brownies have browned on top, and set in the middle. Suggested time 25-30 min.
I had set my “fan-forced” oven to 1800C, and then to what is meant to be at 1700C when I realised it, so ended up taking it out early at 15min. So please be wary of oven temperatures. A toothpick (or a skewer if you’re afraid of the heat) inserted into the centre will come out slightly gooey (more gooey is better mmm, but don’t go too far as to leave it raw…)
11. Cool tray on a wire rack for 30 min.
12. Use ‘overhanging’ foil to lift brownies out of the tray. Remove foil and place on cutting board.
Please peel carefully off sides. If yours is stuck (like mine) on the base, use a flat cake-spatula to separate the foil from the brownie. Just small forward/horizontal shoving movements between foil and brownie. It should now slide off easily.
13. Chill in refrigerator for 15 min more before cutting.
This will allow the crust on top to harden a little, so that it doesn’t crumble like a mudslide when you try to cut it. Making it look pretty is important too!
My first attempted slice after only 5 min refrigeration resulted in CRACKS and many chunks of warm gooey chocolate clumped all over my knife. The recipe did say chill for 10-15minutes, but clearly I was too eager. Better follow the directions next time. After a good 10-15 min in fridge, there was minimal crumbling when I ran the knife through (with a bit of a stabbing motion), and there was less but still bits of chocolate being caught by the knife edge.
Before having any brownies I already had a whole heap of the chocolate in some form or another … So maybe find someone to help eat the left over crumbs / chocolate dust / cake mixture / chocolate clumps from the cutting…
Recipe courtesy of:
The Golden Book of Chocolate (Anne McRae, 2010 revised edition, McRae Books) – This is a great book with a million yummy-CHOCOLATE recipes from cookies, to brownies, cakes, muffins, drinks to even weird savoury things. But one downfall is that the explanations are fairly simplistic, lacking a little in “hints & tips” for the beginners.