On to the plate

Experimenting with flavours, colours and style of food served at our place

Brownies–at last the 2nd one

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Back in November I mentioned in this post about the Baked Brownie that I had made two during the weekend and would share the second. Well that time has come. Thanks for being patient.

I made this Brownie to take to a Thanksgiving dinner we’d been invited to by Mr Fussy’s very good childhood friend. Dave celebrates his birthday early in November, and his Dad was American, so he’s half Kiwi, half American. Almost every year he has a Thanksgiving dinner which we’re invited to. I look forward to it knowing there will be Turkey. I love Turkey. Not as much as I love Caramel, but it’s getting up there.

However this year there wasn’t Turkey, instead were were treated to baked Ham. Boy that was good. Enough about Dave’s skills in the kitchen, let’s have a look at this Brownie.

Brownies1

It was sort of fate that I made this particular Brownie. I was sitting in the car about to hand back my borrowed copy of Ready for Dessert by David Lebovitz and the page opened to the Brownie recipe. I sent Mr Fussy to the Supermarket (in the same carpark) to get Pecans while I returned the book to the library, not before taking a photo of the recipe from my phone.

Pecans seemed to be about as American as I could muster considering Pumpkin Pie had already been spoken for, and my backup recipe which Chris kindly sourced for me was going to cost more than $20 to make since I didn’t have most of the ingredients.

There are two main ingredients here, the Pecans, and the chocolate. I again chose to use Whittaker’s chocolate. It was just a choice of which percentage of chocolate I wanted. Not an easy choice when there’s so many options.

Pecan

I toasted the Pecans as recommended by David. In fact all recipes in his book that use nuts he recommends toasting, it improves and brings out the flavour of the nut. And it’s well worth the few minutes that it takes, let me assure you.

IMG_5173

As you can see, I settled on 50% cocoa. I can’t tell you enough how good Whittaker’s chocolate is to use. I have melted white chocolate as well, direct in the pot, not even over a boiler of some sort. It’s so easy to work with. In fact I prefer to use it in baking more than I do eating it.

Brownies-2

There’s one knack with this Brownie recipe that seems unbelievable of a Brownie, in fact even David admits to not having followed it and therefore disagreed this recipe was “the best”. But he had a quiet word with the creator of the recipe, and when David was quizzed, he admitted he skipped a step not believing it could be correct.  Beating the batter. Who does that to a Brownie recipe?!

BakedBrownie

But you can see that despite beating the batter for a minute, it comes out looking just like you’d expect of a Brownie.

Because I took a photo of the recipe, I found a copy of it online for you to review. I’m copying it word for word.

Robert’s Absolute Best Brownie Recipe

Ingredients

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan

  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Directions
  • 1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • 2. Line the inside of an 8-inch square pan with 2 lengths of foil, positioning the sheets perpendicular to each other and allowing the excess to extend beyond the edges of the pan, or with a single large sheet of extra wide foil or parchment paper. Lightly butter the foil or parchment. [Editor’s Note: The original recipe calls for a 9-inch square pan, although we’ve had success with an 8-inch pan.]
  • 3. In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir by hand until it is melted and smooth.
  • 4. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs by hand, 1 at a time. Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute—time yourself—until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. [Editor’s Note: There are two crucial elements in the making of these brownies. One is throwing yourself into the making of them by stirring them “energetically,” as the recipe stipulates. The second, also spelled out in the recipe, is making certain you stir the batter thusly for a full minute. It may appear to separate a few seconds into stirring, and it may appear grainy midway through, but when you stir with vigor for a full 60 seconds–and we do mean a full 60 seconds, along the lines of “One Mississippi, two Mississippi…”–you’ll end up with a batter that’s rich, thick, satiny smooth, and glossy as can be. And therein lies the difference between dry, crumbly brownies and what many brownie mavens around the world feel are, indeed, the world’s best brownies.] Stir in the chopped nuts.
  • 5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake.
  • 6. Let the brownie cool completely in the pan—this is the difficult part—before lifting the foil or parchment and the block of brownie out of the pan. Cut the brownie into squares. (The brownies will keep well for up to 4 days and can be frozen for up to 1 month.)

I packed these up and took them with us to the Thanksgiving dinner and when they were bought out the plate was practically fought over. Everyone asking if there would be enough for everyone. I didn’t know who was going, or how many, but again fate played a part and there was enough for one each. Win!

Brownies3

Not that you’ve asked for it. Mr Fussy and I both agree that the first Brownie recipe I made was the better. Mr Fussy doesn’t like nuts, so I knew these wouldn’t be his pick. I also prefer a Brownie without nuts, as it turn out. Believe it or not, I’d never had Pecans before. I thought (assumed) they wouldn’t taste good. I’m starting to sound like Mr Fussy, having made my mind up based on someone else’s view. They taste very similar to a Walnut. I really like Walnuts, and I found out I liked Pecans. But boy they’re pretty expensive. Still, I’d take a no-nut Brownie over one with nuts.

And because I’m a bit greedy when it comes to sweets and desserts, this is my second post submitted for Sweet New Zealand, hosted by Lydia of Lydia Bakes.

sweetnz

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