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Entries in brownies (22)

Wednesday
Apr182012

Sweet Story: Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Here is a fantastic and true story about Katharine Hepburn. In the early 1980s, a Bryn Mawr student was considering dropping out to go to Scotland and write screenplays. While home for the holidays in her native NYC, her frantic father wrote a letter to Katharine Hepburn, who had also attended Bryn Mawr, imploring “She's a great admirer of yours, and perhaps she'll listen to you”.

Wait, what? Well, it turns out, this wasn't such a crazy thing to do. Turns out, this distraught father was a neighbor of Miss Hepburn's, and would occasionally exchange pleasantries: not good friends, for sure, but a friendly acquaintance.

Upon receiving this cry for help, the imperious Hepburn didn’t waste any time. She phoned at 7:30 the next morning, demanding to speak with the would-be dropout (who was sleeping at the time of the call but certainly awoke rapidly) admonishing “what a damn stupid thing to do!” , and proceeding to deliver a stern lecture, after which she demanded father and daughter at tea at her home.

On the date of the tea, upon arriving at Hepburn’s Turtle Bay townhome, Hepburn greeted them with “casual hauteur, she provided us with tea and some of her famous brownies”.

While there’s no transcript of the tea party, let’s just say the student remained at Bryn Mawr.

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

 Were the brownies responsible? Perhaps. Because as a woman of principle, Hepburn’s were:


1. Never Quit

2. Be Yourself

3. Don’t put too much flour in your brownies.

As Liz Smith says in “Dishing,” “I suppose you realize already those rules to live by were handed down by Katharine Hepburn.” They first appeared in Ladies home journal in 1975 accompanying an interview with Kate, who called them “the best brownies ever!”. Where Kate got the recipe has always been vague, but the popularity of them has not been vague at all. The recipe was released to the public in that article. Since then, it has taken on a life of its own, proliferating in books, magazines, and with the advent of the internet, it became a much-storied recipe on blogs and food websites.

And there’s a reason why the legend endures. If there are three schools of brownie (cakey, chewy, and fudge-like) these are firmly chewy affairs: thick and slightly gooey while still warm, in that sort of "stick-to-your-front-teeth" sort of way (that is a compliment). They're incredibly easy: a dude friend who made this recipe said it should be rated as "guy-friendly" and "totally easy". So there you go. 

Brownies

Katharine Hepburn Brownies

Makes one tray, you decide how many brownies to slice it into.

Ingredients

  • 2 (one-ounce) squares unsweetened baker's chocolate

  • 1 stick unsalted butter

  • 1 cup sugar

  • 2 eggs

  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla

  • 1/4 cup flour

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 cup chopped walnuts


Directions
Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy saucepan over low heat. Remove from heat and stir in sugar. Add eggs and vanilla and beat well. Stir in flour, salt and walnuts. Mix well. Pour into a buttered 8-inch-square baking pan. Bake at 325° for 40 minutes. Cool and cut into squares. 

Wednesday
Mar142012

Linda Huang: A Profile, and Recipe for Frau Brownies

Finalist 14: Frau Brownies

CakeSpy Note: Remember that amazing "So You Wanna Be a CakeSpy?" Contest?Well, with the winner's trip to Seattle coming up, I thought I'd take some time to focus on several of the finalists and profiling them and their recipes. Let's get to know Linda and her Frau Brownies:

What does being a CakeSpy mean to you? Being a CakeSpy means that I've been recognized as someone who has an unhealthy appreciation of sweets, and thank goodness there are more of you guys out there (you guys wouldn't judge me for baking a batch of cookies the night before an exam, right?). It also means that I have an amazing group of family, friends, and pharmacy classmates that helped me get this far in the contest. Thank you all.
How did you dream up this dessert? To be honest, I am not the original creator of Frau brownies. I have a friend at Purdue who raved about these magical "Frau brownies" from his high school. I asked for the recipe, made my first batch for his birthday, and have been making them for friends ever since. The real creator of Frau brownies is a local German teacher. I met her for the first time the day after I found out I was a CakeSpy finalist, and she's just as sweet as the Frau brownies she created. I asked her what her inspiration was, to which she responded "Hmmmm, the inspiration, I guess, was decadence and seeing how much richness I could put in each bite… My daughter loves Rice Krispie treats. My husband and I love chocolate. We all are crazy about peanut butter. My mom would always make treats with melted chocolate chips and butterscotch bits together with something salty like pretzels or potato sticks. Just figured everything would go together well!!!" She's amazing, right?
Cake or pie? My gut reaction is to say cake. A good piece of pie can be so hard to find these days. Cake can also be portable (cupcakes!!), so that's a big plus for me.
What would be your "last meal" dessert? The cinnamon caramel donuts at Rise 'N Roll in Middlebury. I've never really cared for donuts until  a co-worker brought these to work last summer. They are pillowy clouds of heaven that melt in your mouth. No joke.
Frau Brownies
Yield:one 9x13 inch pan
INGREDIENTS
  • 1 family-size box brownies, baked “cake-style” (usually with 3 eggs)
  • 1 7 oz container marshmallow fluff
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • about 7 cups rice crispies
DIRECTIONS
  1. Prepare brownies in a 13x9 inch pan as per instructions on the box to bake more “cakey” brownies. This usually means using 3 eggs instead of 2 eggs.
  2. Allow brownies to cool completely.Slightly warm the marshmallow fluff , then spread the fluff onto the brownies until covering every nook and cranny.
  3. Gently melt the chocolate and butterscotch chips together. Swirl in the peanut butter. Mix in the rice crispies one cup at a time into the chocolate, butterscotch, and peanut butter mixture. Pat the mixture on top of the fluff and allow to cool and harden.
Wednesday
Jul202011

Sweet and Fiery: Ancho Pine Nut Brownies Recipe

It's time to spice up your life.

And I'm not talking about watching the Spice Girls movie on continuous loop, although I would certainly not judge you if you decided to do this. It's a great movie.

No, I'm talking about Ancho Pine Nut Brownies, which are basically my new favorite thing. I became obsessed with them after discovering them on this blog; I sought out the book they came from, entitled Nuevo Tex-Mex: Festive New Recipes from Just North of the Border; and tried a batch myself (I lightly adapted the recipe, which was developed by baker Rebecca Rather).

Incredibly dense (yes!), the chocolate is off-set by a chile bite and a mellow background of pine nuts, and chocolate morsels added to the mix make for a minefield of mingling flavors that work in a surprisingly harmonious manner. Don't like sweet and spicy? Skip the Ancho if you must, but rest assured I will be judging you for that.

Ancho Pine Nut Brownies

  • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 7 eggs (the original recipe calls for 8!)
  • 3 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder (see note)
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate morsels
  • 1 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or Pinon nuts.

 Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  2. In the top pan of a double boiler, combine the chocolate and butter. Place over barely simmering water in the bottom pan and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter have melted and are combined.
  3. Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until thick and smooth. Slowly pour into the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly.
  4. Stir in the flour, ancho chile powder, chocolate morsels and pine nuts.
  5. Pour evenly into the prepared baking pan. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean.
  6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Cut into squares to serve. If desired (do it!) serve with ice cream.
Monday
May302011

Pop! Brownie Pops Recipe For Serious Eats

Dilemma: it's Memorial Day and you need a sweet treat by this afternoon—ideally something simple to prepare and easy to eat outdoors.

Never fear: you've still got time to make Brownie Pops!

This is a sweet idea I got from Dawn, who writes the blog Not Just A Mommy. Using brownies is a little lower-maintenance than using cake to make these cute pops. The natural density of brownies means you don't have to mix with frosting to attain a fudgy consistency; simply bake up (or buy) a batch of fudgy brownies, shape into balls, chill, dip in candy coating, and let set while you get your grill on; by the time the burgers and hot dogs have been devoured, these bite-sized delights will be ready to serve.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Monday
May162011

Total Brownie Overload: Brownie Upside-Down Brownie Recipe for Serious Eats

Om nom nomWhat on earth is a Brownie Upside-Down Brownie?

First, think to yourself: "Pineapple Upside-Down Cake". Now, replace "pineapple" with "brownie" and "cake" with "brownie." Now you are getting the idea. This brilliant notion came to me by way of Vickie, the designer behind A Mano Jewelry and, apparently, a whiz in the kitchen.

Starting with a buttery, brown sugar base, a layer of bite-sized brownies is then coated with decadent brownie batter, baked and then flipped for the most decadently, buttery, chocolatey treat you could possibly imagine. Advice: eat now, and diet another day.

Note: Use either pre-packaged brownie bites, such as these, or homemade (almost erring on under-baked) brownies for the topping part; they will simply melt into the brownie batter in the most deliciously chocolaty fashion.

For the full entry and recipe, visit Serious Eats!

Sunday
Feb132011

Sweet Sirens: Treats from Girl Next Door Baked Goods

According to that cultural goldmine called the Urban Dictionary, "Girl Next Door" is a rather open-ended phrase:

Every guy may have his specific girl-next-door prototype, but in general, she's the girl whom you always admired from afar and were afraid to approach.

Girl Next Door Baked Goods, on the other hand, should not be pined-for from afar. These goods are meant to be enjoyed up close and personal.

And that's just what we got to do this week, when they sent us a sweet parcel loaded with love-themed Valentine's Day treats. And it came with a sultry three-part card:

"Do Chiles & Chocolate get you a little hot?" beckoned the first fold of the card.

Well, no, not after that sriracha-brownie incident, but I powered on.

"Sometimes Love Hurts. A Hot Blonde will help ease the pain," it said on the second fold. Now, that's more like it. Blondies are my weakness, and these ones were a delight: dense, brown-sugary nuggets of buttery butterscotch awesomeness. 

and finally: "If chocolate doesn't work, try bourbon-soaked cherries. If that doesn't work, check his pulse." Well, I'll never know about this one as an aphrodisiac because I ate it all by myself, and it made me feel loved during every bite.

OF course, the cute card ended there, with an invitation to "get a crush on Girl Next Door Baked Goods", but the pleasure didn't. The parcel also contained a sampling of other brownie flavors (all served in tiny, but very potent, portions), a small bag of peanut butter cookies, and something called the "husband bait"--a buttery bar cookie with strawberry preserves and cream cheese. "Would this have made you want to marry me if you hadn't already?" I asked Mr. Spy, but he was too busy eating to answer me.

So, I guess I'd have to say it's true: CakeSpy's got a crush on Girl Next Door Baked Goods. Get a crush yourself--visit gndbakedgoods.com.

Tuesday
Feb082011

Gimme S'more: Brownie S'more Pie in a Graham Cracker Crust Recipe

Problem: you're looking a little thin these days.

Delicious solution: Brownie S'more Pie in a Graham Cracker Crust. Yeah, you heard me.

This baby has the better part of a batch of brownie batter baked inside of a buttery graham cracker crust, and is crowned with a big, fat swirl of deep, dark, rich cocoa buttercream and topped with yet more chocolate and more marshmallows for good measure. It weighs many pounds, and each one is a pound of awesome.

While topping it with Hershey's Kisses (inspired by my current reading material, The Emperors of Chocolate: Inside the Secret World of Hershey and Mars) and a heart design is timely, what with it getting dangerously close to Valentine's Day, it's a pretty sure thing that this is what love tastes like all year round.

Brownie S'more Pie in a Graham Cracker Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 9-inch graham cracker crust 
  • 1 batch your favorite brownie recipe
  • 1/2 cup mini marshmallows
  • Hershey's Kisses plus more mini marshmallows, to garnish

For the cocoa buttercream

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 to 5 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted

Procedure

  1. Have your graham cracker crust ready: if you are making your own from scratch, no need to pre-bake. If you're using a store bought variety, just leave it off to the side for the moment.
  2. Prepare your brownie batter per the instructions in your favorite recipe, with one change: fold in the marshmallows once the batter is otherwise ready and mixed.
  3. Pour the batter into the prepared pie shell, filling it about 2/3 of the way full. You may have extra brownie batter; bake it up in cupcake cups, or, you know, lick the bowl clean.
  4. Place the pie plate on top of a cookie sheet (just because brownie recipes can vary, and I don't want it to drip over the pie plate into your oven!).
  5. Bake according to the brownie recipe instructions. Keep an eye on the bake time and check the pie about 5 minutes before the brownie bake time specifies, since you might be using slightly less batter. 
  6. The brownies are done when a toothpick comes out mostly clean -- I would always err on under, rather than over-baking them.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool completely.
  8. While it is cooling, prepare the cocoa buttercream: in a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter. With the machine set at its lowest speed, add the cocoa powder and mix well. Add the milk and vanilla and mix until incorporated. Slowly beat in the confectioners' sugar, starting with 4 cups and adding more until it has reached your desired spreading consistency. Spread the frosting on top of the brownie pie, leaving a little bit of the brownie showing along the edges (pretty!). Top with your extra chocolate and marshmallows.

Note: Do make sure that the frosting is of an easily spreadable consistency. Because brownies have a flaky texture on top, you want to be sure that the frosting spreads with ease and won't bring up too many of the crumbs (that just looks messy!).

Tuesday
Dec282010

Intensely Delicious: Chocolate Cake Bars Recipe Adapted from Intensely Chocolate by Carole Bloom

I'll tell you the truth: I kind of fainted when I got a personal email from cookbook author and baking legend Carole Bloom. After all, I consider her book The International Dictionary of Desserts, Pastries, and Confections: A Comprehensive Guide With More Than 800 Definitions and 86 Classic Recipes to be an essential reference guide, and every other thing little thing she's done is magic, too. 

But for real, there it was: an invitation to check out her newest book, Intensely Chocolate. With a name like that, what wasn't to love? Sign me up!

Well. Here's the first recipe I tried. Her version is for "Individual Chocolate Bundt Cakes With White Chocolate Passion Fruit Frosting", but you know, I'm not too-too fancy, so I baked the cake batter in a single pan instead, and topped it with delectable brown sugar frosting and Peanut Butter M+M's. But my baking experiment only serves to prove Bloom's prowess: this recipe is easily dressed up or down, and is completely delicious either pinkies-out fancy or footloose and fancy-free.

Chocolate Cake Bars with Brown Sugar Frosting and Deeply Un-Fancy M+M's

Ingredients

  • 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher or fine grained sea salt
  • 1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup superfine sugar
  • 2/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup sour cream (I used yogurt)

For the topping

  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

Procedure

  1. Position the oven rack in the center position. Preheat oven to 350. Coat an 8x8 or 9x13-inch pan with nonstick spray, and line with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the unsweetened chocolate in the top of a double boiler over low heat, stirring often with a rubber spatula to ensure even melting. Remove from heat and set to the side for a moment.
  3. Over a bowl, sift together the flour and baking soda. Add the salt and toss into the blend.
  4. Beat the butter in the bowl of an electric stand mixer using the flat beater attachment until soft and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add the superfine sugar and brown sugar and beat together well, stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
  5. Use a fork to lightly beat the eggs and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Add to the butter mixture. Mix together, stopping to scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and again. The mixture may look curdled at first, but as you continue to mix and scrape down the bowl, it will become smooth.
  6. Add the dry ingredients and sour cream in alternate stages, making for about 4-5 total stages of adding ingredients. Mix thoroughly after each addition.
  7. Add the melted chocolate and blend completely.
  8. Pour into your prepared pan.
  9. Bake for 35-50 minutes (since the original recipe for bundt cakes, it called for a bake time of 25-30 minutes, but baking it in a pan takes longer). It's done when a cake tester / toothpick comes out mostly clean.
  10. Remove from oven and transfer to rack to cool completely before cutting. I topped mine with frosting AFTER cutting.
  11. While you wait for the cakes to cool, make yo'self some frosting. Pour the heavy cream into a medium bowl, and whip with an electric mixer. Add sugar, vanilla and cocoa powder; whip until stiff and spreadable. Refrigerate until needed.
  12. Top each cake with a dollop, and with candy if desired (I had extra m+m's from making cornflake wreaths so used them on top).
Friday
Sep242010

Life's a Witch: Fat Witch Brownies Cookbook, and a Recipe

Fat Witch Brownies is, with capital letters, a Happy Place. My first experience with them was at my first post-college job in NYC, where we purchased these sweet little morsels from their Chelsea Market retail location as client holiday gifts. Well, and a few extras for ourselves, which is how I got hooked on these fudgy, dense little treats. While my true affinity was always for their blondies, when I recently received their cookbook, Fat Witch Brownies: Brownies, Blondies, and Bars from New York's Legendary Fat Witch Bakery in the mail, I knew it was the classic brownie that I had to try first. While my brownies came out slightly chewier than the ones I had remembered, they were still plenty dense and delightfully the opposite of virtuous, and when I put them out at my store, they disappeared in record time.

Of course, I can't wait to try some of the other recipes in the book, including the one for my beloved blondies, as well as some new classics--the butterscotch flip (a fancier version of the blondie-brownie), Lemon cheesecake brownies, and cranberry blondes.

Fat Witch Brownies

Ingredients

  • 14 Tablespoons (1 3/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons bittersweet chocolate chips
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons ubleached flour
  • pinch of salt

Procedure

  1. Grease a 9-inch baking pan with butter. Dust with flour and tap out the excess. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool while you prepare the next step.
  3. Cream the sugar, eggs, and vanilla together. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and mix until well blended.
  4. Measure the flour and salt and then sift together directly into the chocolate mixture. Mix the batter gently until well combined and no trace of the dry ingredients remains.
  5. If you wanna, stir in nuts or any extras at this point.
  6. Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking pan and bake 33 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean or with crumbs but not batter.
  7. Remove from the oven and let cool on rack for 1 hour. Cut just before serving. Makes 12-16 brownies.
Wednesday
Aug112010

Brownie Heaven: The Baked Brownie

Now, I don't like to talk in absolutes, but...

...without a doubt, there's definitely something wrong with you if you don't think that the Baked Brownie is the finest brownie of all.

I recently used it as the base for Mimosa Brownies, which were most excellent--but really, this is a brownie that doesn't need anything added--and for that reason, I'd like to take a few moments to celebrate the beauty that is the Baked brownie in its purest form.

This is a brownie which is fudgy and chewy but not too extreme in either direction. Each bite is redolent of chocolate, and every bite is indulgently delicious. They're perfect (but it's ok if you don't like the espresso--while I don't necessarily understand what your problem is, they still taste great without).

Here's the recipe. As you can see from the top photo, it's not only CakeSpy-beloved, but gnome-approved.

The Baked Brownie

As seen in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking  

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely
  • 8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Procedure

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan (I like to lay down a bit of parchment too, for easy removal from the pan).
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.
  4. Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.
  5. Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  6. Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.
  7. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.

 

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