Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Brownies

You may have noticed that the recipes tab (under the blog header picture) has a whole separate category for brownies. This recipe is for those days when you want something really, really rich. And heck, it's good for you. Think of all the protein in those four eggs! Honestly, these are outstanding brownies.

I've just recently learned about the difference in cocoa powders. This is from the King Arthur Flour site:
There is Natural Cocoa:
Natural cocoa is the choice when your recipe calls for just plain (not Dutched) cocoa.
22%-24% fat content

And there is Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa:
Our exclusive blend of mellow Dutch-process cocoa and extra-dark black cocoa yields rich, pure-tasting chocolate treats, without the acidic overtone natural cocoa often gives. And at just 10% fat, it's lower in calories and fat than solid chocolate.
Ideal for all of your recipes calling for Dutch-process (European-style) cocoa; as well as icing, candy, and fudge sauce.
Use in any recipe that doesn't specify natural cocoa powder.
And from the Penzey's site:
Two types of the highest quality cocoa that are almost twice as rich as the grocery store varieties: Natural cocoa is strong, dark and bittersweet-perfect for all baking; Dutch cocoa is processed to temper the natural acidity of the cocoa bean, yielding a smooth, rich and slightly less strong cocoa that mixes more freely with liquid. Dutch cocoa has long been the cocoa of choice for hot chocolate and flavored coffee.
Those scientific testers at Cook's Illustrated offer a lot of information to help you decide which one to use.

And then from The Joy of Baking website we have:
Cocoa powder is made when chocolate liquor is pressed to remove three quarters of its cocoa butter. The remaining cocoa solids are processed to make fine unsweetened cocoa powder. There are two types of unsweetened cocoa powder: natural and Dutch-processed.
Dutch-processed or alkalized unsweetened cocoa powder is treated with an alkali to neutralize its acids. Because it is neutral and does not react with baking soda, it must be used in recipes calling for baking powder, unless their are other acidic ingredients in sufficient quantities used. It has a reddish-brown color, mild flavor, and is easy to dissolve in liquids. Its delicate flavor make it ideal in baked goods like European cakes and pastries where its subtle flavor complements other ingredients. Droste, Lindt, Valrhona, Poulain and Pernigotti are some popular brands.

Natural unsweetened cocoa powder tastes very bitter and gives a deep chocolate flavor to baked goods. Its intense flavor make it well suited for use in brownies, cookies and some chocolate cakes. When natural cocoa (an acid) is used in recipes calling for baking soda (an alkali), it creates a leavening action that causes the batter to rise when placed in the oven. Popular brands are Hershey's, Ghirardelli, and Scharffen Berger.
Confused yet? All too much to think about? Well, I own both kinds, and because this recipe did not call for baking powder or baking soda, I used the natural cocoa. I'm quite sure I've never tasted a more chocolate-y brownie, ever.


Brownies

1 1/2 sticks melted butter (3/4 cup)
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350°F.
Grease a 9x13 pan.
While butter is melting:
Beat eggs.
Stir in sugar, vanilla, cocoa, and flour.
Add cooled melted butter and mix until blended, but don't over mix.
Stir in chips and nuts.
Pour into pan and bake about 25 minutes, until sides pull away from pan.
Allow to cool before cutting.

Note: It takes a few more minutes than 25. Keep an eye on them.

20 comments:

  1. I once had a waistline ...well I think I did...with the brownie recipes that keep appearing in your virtual cookbook I can't see it returning any time soon :o)
    I'll just have to stick with Stevie Smith "I'll stay with the girls who are happy and fat"

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  2. Who KNEW? Not me :)

    I'm trying to stay away from brownies et. al. However, I may have to make an exception.

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  3. I've never seen Dutched cocoa here, and I have used the ordinary stuff when making brownies, even though there is baking powder in my recipe, and the results certainly haven't been disastrous (well, everyone ate them, and came back for more). I guess there's always room for improvement, though, and I must try yours recipe - your picture looks really good!

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  4. Val, I've never heard that Stevie Smith quote, and I love it. It reminded me that I'd like to read a biography of her. Wasn't there a movie years ago with, I think, Glenda Jackson playing her??

    Rebecca, why stay away?!

    Geranium Cat, this is all news to me also, but boy are these brownies good.

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  5. Nan, those brownies look so goooood!! Thanks for sharing the recipe with us!

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  6. Yes Nan it was called "Stevie" it doesn't seem to be available as a DVD but netflix have it as an instant play I think.I got a secondhand vhs copy from Amazon. I enjoy the way her poems give my mind a little stretch ...so to speak :0)

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  7. Sherri, let me know if you try them, okay?

    Pamela, in texting shorthand, sry. :<)

    Val, I haven't read nearly enough of her work.

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  8. I must try... Surely these should put a pound or two on this One Woman :)

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  9. Yum...brownies that are good for me?? I'm in!

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  10. Oh, my. These would be so wonderful with a tall glass of icy cold milk. Or vanilla ice cream. I better wait until my husband isn't complaining about his tight jeans before I make them, though. :)

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  11. I had such a craving for brownies the other day, stranded at home in the ice storm. Only had a package of Scharffen Berger unsweetened chocolate and all the recipes I found called for cocoa powder. Guess I'll peruse your brownie section to find a recipe for me.

    You are a girl after my own heart.

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  12. I've gained weight just reading the recipe and thinking about these. Choco addict here.

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  13. Yummmm. This recipe makes my taste buds go on alert.

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  14. Staci, Les, Abby, Diane, and Lisa, amazingly for this household there are still some left two days later, even with giving half a dozen to Margaret and Matt. What that shows is how very rich they are and how you don't need many at one time. I hope you all make them and love them!

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  15. My perfect brownie is one that chewy, and just shy of fudgy. I hate, hate, hate, a cakey brownie. I have experimented over the years with various recipes but haven't really found one that turns out the way I like them. Oh, they were plenty good, but not perfect. For chewy, I seem to do better with mixes.

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  16. Thomas, this one might work. It is quite chewy, but not soggy. I think maybe putting some choc. chips inside may make that difference. If this one isn't perfect for you, you could try the other seven in the brownies recipes. :<) I've never used a mix. Didn't even know there was such a thing for a long time.

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  17. Oh, my! The photo of that brownie has done me in for the night! I love the King Arthur Flour catalog and just drooling over all the neat things I'd like to order from there!

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  18. Dianne, we get all our bread machine bread baking stuff from the site, except their flour which we can buy locally. Great company. And the brownies were delish!

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