Friday, January 29, 2016

A Year of Brownies - January

Like I said, I already have a brownie recipe I find pretty perfect. It has no add-ons, save for extra chocolate, when I feel like it, it comes together in no time, and I almost always have all the ingredients at the ready. Come to think of it, this recipe may have been one of the first brownies I ever made. The book that it comes from is one that I bought back when I lived with my still-boyfriend in London, back in 2000. It's called The Little Red Barn Baking Book and is written by Adriana Rabinovich, who - I just found out - has a gluten-free-centered blog called Gluten-free Cooking for Kids. Back in the days, her company (also named The Little Red Barn) sold brownies, cookies etc. to Starbucks, Fortnum & Mason's and Selfridges to name a few, and she decided to share her recipes in this here book. aIt was a little unassuming number, but the amount of recipes I wanted to make - banana bread! cinnamon buns! Devil's food cake! Snickerdoodles! -  as I paged through it was numerous. It was one of the only baking books I had for the six months we lived in London, and as is apparent from all of the scribbles and splatters in it, it was much used and loved. Still is, in fact. Not only the brownies, but also her banana bread and carrot cake are keepers.

Onto the brownies! In the book, it's the recipe called Rum and raisin brownies, but if you leave out the raisins, it's a classic one. This is definitely one of the fudgier versions, dense and not cakey. I've had some people finding it a tad on the sugary-sweet side, but I just really like it like this and wouldn't change a thing.

155 g. plain flour
1/4 tsp. salt
110 g. good-quality plain chocolate (70%)
110 g. unsalted butter (I use salted with no problems)
150 g. dark soft brown sugar
150 g. caster sugar
2 eggs
optional: 110 grams of Marabou milk chocolate, cut into 5mm chunks

23 cm. square cake pan

Preheat the oven to 170 degres Celsius. Butter and flour the cake pan. (I usually put in a sheet of baking paper, fitting it to the pan - it's much easier to get it out this way)

Sift flour and salt into a large bowl; melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave or in a double boiler. Add the sugars to the melted chocolate/butter mixture and leave to dissolve slightly. Stir to combine. Add the eggs, one by one, beating after each one. This will produce a very glossy mixture. Gently fold in the flour, taking care not to overmix. Fold in chocolate chunks if using.

Spread in the cake pan and bake for 20-25 minutes in the preheated oven. Leave to cool completely before cutting into squares.

Makes 16-20.

Saturday, January 9, 2016

A Year of Brownies

I miss it here. And you know? There's only one way of changing that. Getting back to it. This morning, while putting together a brownie for coffee guests coming over later, it hit me: I need a project. No better time for starting one than when the year has just turned.

I think I have a pretty good recipe for brownies. At least I have one I always make -  I've made others, but have somehow always returned to this one. But is it really the best? I like squidgy and gooey more than cakey brownies. I like plain, unadorned brownies - no nuts, berries, add-ons - just chocolate, please. But perhaps I'm in the wrong? Thing is, I don't know. I need to find out.

So prepare for a 2016 with a Baker's Dozen of Brownies - one for each month. My list is as follows:

January: My go-to - Little Red Barn Baking Book's Brownies
February: Claus Meyer's Brownies (from Meyers Bageri)
March: Nigella Lawson's Birthday Brownies (from How to be a Domestic Goddess)
April: Smitten Kitchen's Favorite Brownies
May: Jim Dodge's Cakey Brownies (from The Essence of Chocolate)
June: Foodbeam's Brownie-like Cookies and ice cream sandwiches
July: David Lebovitz's Helene's Brownies
August: Lisa Yockelson's Chocolate, pure and straight, Brownies (from Chocolate, Chocolate)
September: Anne au Chocolat's Brownies with white chocolate chips
October: Thomas Keller's Brownies (via Pretty. Simple. Sweet.)
November: Markus Grigo's Brownies (from Grigos Hjemmebag)
December: Orangette's Brownies
The a surprise, to be found while the experiment is going on ;)

Mikkel Friis-Holm's Brownies
Blondies from Deb
Brownies with frosting!
Skillet Brownies from Martha Stewart
Browniest Cookies - also from Deb (I could have done 12 brownie recipesfrom her site alone, I think! ;))
Brownies with cookiedough
Brownies with four chocolates

Research (may be extended)
Bon Appetit on Brownies