Monday, May 07, 2007

Brownie recipes

I have learned some things from all this brownie testing. First of all, I think that I have been overcooking brownies all my life. According to a couple sites I explored, brownies should be tested for doneness, not in the center, and not at the edge, but in the area kind of in between, if that makes sense. So when they are set around the edge and start to pull away from the pan, stick the toothpick in this mid-range area. If it comes out clean(or even with a few crumbs), they are done. Even if a toothpick in the center doesn't come out clean.

Also, all of them seem to taste better after sitting for a day(if you can wait). So I have been cooking them the night before and putting them in the fridge to allow the flavors to blend. Then they are perfect.

Here are the recipes I have explored thus far:

Yield: 16 brownies

For tan brownies:
1/4 cup ( 1/2 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 to 1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

For black brownies:
4 ounces (4 squares) unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup Guinness stout

To prepare tan brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch-square baking pan. In a medium bowl, beat butter and brown sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. With a wooden spoon, stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nuts. Batter will be thick. Spoon into prepared pan; spread evenly with a rubber spatula or with dampened fingers. Set aside.
To make black brownies: In a medium bowl, melt chocolate and butter over a saucepan of hot water or in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Stir in sugar, eggs, salt, flour and vanilla. Slowly stir in Guinness until smooth. Pour black brownie batter over tan brownie batter. Bake until a skewer inserted in center comes out almost clean, 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack, then cut into squares.
My comment - I did cook these the full time and tested in the center - the beer content keeps them quite moist. The black batter is so runny (before cooking) you will swear you have done something wrong.

Serving: Makes about 1 dozen.

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
3 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2/3 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and set aside.
Make batter: Put butter and chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside.
Put sugar and eggs in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture, milk, and vanilla, and beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, 27 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in pan.
Make topping when brownies are cool: Put chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until just simmering. Pour over chocolate; let stand 5 minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Allow ganache to cool, stirring every 10 minutes, until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
Pour ganache over cooled brownies in pan; let set, about 20 minutes. Refrigerate until cold, 30 minutes to 1 hour. Let brownies stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes before serving. Lift out brownies; cut into wedges, wiping knife with a hot, damp cloth between each cut. Scatter sprinkles on top.
My comment: I think this is too much sugar so I would not use a full cup next time. These were very cakey and it surprised me. I wondered about the preparation as it seemed like too much beating? I also think I might have over cooked them. That being said, they were still very good and I want to make them again. What's not to like about ganache topping !?!?!?

Yield: 20 brownies

1 pound semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup butter, cut into pieces
1/3 cup strong brewed coffee
4 large eggs, room temp
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 cups coarsely chopped walnuts

Cooking Instructions:
Melt together butter, coffee and chocolate. Beat eggs and sugar until light. Slowly add chocolate mixture. With a spoon, stir in flour and walnuts. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line a 9x13-inch pan with foil. Generously butter foil. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until just set around edges. Cool on wire rack for 30 minutes. Cover pan with foil and chill for several hours or overnight.
Best stored in refrigerator.
My comment: These are divine, to die for brownies, the best I have ever made. They are like a cross between fudge and a brownie. The recipe was given to me by Tim from Peoria, a reader of my blog and apparently the one person in Peoria who looked at my art when I did the show there last fall (thanks Tim!). The only thing I would change is the sugar - I think I used about 1 cup but I might reduce even further. I also used the Tollhouse chocolate chips because that is what I had on hand. Tim said his best result is with Hershey. These brownies got high points from some very discriminating tasters (thanks John, Claire, Karyl, Bart). They are excellent with coffee. For breakfast.....


  1. Anonymous7:42 AM

    The Froggies that appeared (and then disappeared)in my house were wonderful! We tried to appeal for more, but I think that new commission will come first... Thank you, Tim, for sharing this recipe with Mary Beth. Yum!

  2. Anonymous7:43 AM

    Sorry! I hit the wrong key when I sent that message. I'm really not anonymous in this situation!

  3. Anonymous11:13 AM

    And I seem to be the brownie piggie!

  4. Anonymous1:22 PM

    Thank you for the receipts! I don't bake much, but when I do, I like it to be worth it--and these certainly are.

  5. Anonymous8:19 AM

    Hi! I know this is an old post, but I just made the Black and Tan brownies over the weekend from my Irish Spirits cook book. They were great, but they were not layered. The tan kind of oozed up into the black. I suspect you didn't have this problem?


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