What’s Baking Red Velvet Round-Up

February was my month to host our What’s Baking blog group. I chose red velvet as the theme because it only seemed fitting with Valentine’s Day.  And, I realized, I haven’t baked anything red velvet and it’s about time I did. I just love the contrast of the bright white cream cheese frosting to the red velvet base- whether it be cake, cookies, brownies or whatever.  And, the chocolate flavor is so mild, even my husband can enjoy it and he did indeed.

Whats Baking Badge

My good friend Eva, of Eva Bakes, made these amazing looking red velvet marble brownies.  I almost made brownies too, but at the last-minute went with cookies instead. These look so crazy delicious that I had to put them to the top of my baking to do list.

Red velvet cheesecake brownies by Eva Bakes

Alison, of Sparks from the Kitchen, made red velvet cookie bars with vanilla bean frosting.  Butter cream frosting is always made better by the addition of real vanilla bean and these look delicious. I have never made the red velvet version, but frosted sugar cookie bars are one of my favorite things to bake. Why?  Because they have the taste of soft frosted sugar cookie with much less work and my family absolutely loves them. My husband has been known to eat most of the pan himself.

Red Velvet Cookie Bars - Sparks from the Kitchen

Nicole, of Seven Ate Nine (can’t help but love this blog name), made Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares.  She had these bars at her rehearsal dinner at The Blue Willow Inn almost 5 years ago and was able to recreate them from the inn’s cookbook. I love how food can bring you back to a day and you can almost relieve that memory as you eat it.  And, I also love that these bars have just 5 ingredients.  I mean really, it can’t get any easier than that!

Red Velvet Cake Batter Squares- Seven Eight Nine

Ange, of The Tiny Tyrant’s Kitchen, made red velvet chocolate chip cookies.  Chocolate chip cookies have always been my favorite dessert to eat. I have never had red velvet chocolate chip cookies before but I’m thinking that should change.  Ange had the same problem I did.  Our red velvet wasn’t as red as we would have liked because of the brown color of the cocoa. But, never mind that because these look delicious.

Red velvet chocolate chip cookies- The Tiny Tyrant's Kitchen

Carrie, from Carrie’s Sweet Life, made a red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting for her grandmother’s birthday. Until now, Carrie had the same problem I do, and that is finding a homemade cake that she likes. I have found homemade cake to be too dense or too dry. This is the cake that changed all that for Carrie… as it was moist, the frosting wasn’t too sweet..in other words perfection.  I’ll have to give it a try. I have been meaning to make a layer cake so I can use the beautiful and incredibly thoughtful engraved cake server set my husband gave me for reaching a million views in November.  Awww…

Red Velvet Cake from Carrie's Sweet life

And, I made soft red velvet sugar cookies with cream cheese frosting.  In this house, we love soft, frosted sugar cookies.  So, I thought a red velvet version would be just perfect. And, I was so right. These cookies were amazing. They were really soft, with a hint of cocoa, and the most delicious cream cheese frosting.  Honestly, there aren’t too many recipes I make more than once because there are just so many I want to try.  But, I see more of these cookies in my future. So delicious and pretty too.

Soft red velvet sugar cookies with crea cheese frosting

Brownie pudding

Last month, I made myself this hot fudge pudding cake for my birthday.  It was so delicious that Jack and Sammie haven’t stopped talking about it since.  I thought about making the same cake again, but then I remembered Ina’s brownie pudding, that I made a few years ago, was very similar.  I love that this pudding is made from pantry staples and honestly, it only takes 10 minutes, 15 minutes tops, to prepare the batter.  Then you pop it in the oven, and like magic, a crispy, crusted brownie develops on top with a thick, rich, deep dark chocolate pudding on the bottom.  How easy it that?  All that is missing now is a big scoop of good vanilla ice cream.

I totally love Ina, but I can’t help but think that these it’s fine memes are hilarious. 😀  In every recipe she writes, she calls for “good” ingredients, those used in the Hamptons, I suppose.  This recipe is no different as she asks for good cocoa, which to Ina, is Pernigotti.   I have made this pudding with the “good cocoa” and it was delicious.  This time I used Hershey’s Special Dark and it was fine.  Well, better than fine.  Sammie says it was divine.  Apparently she learned that adjective from the cooking lady, AKA Giada.  Gosh, how I love that girl!  Another thing you’ll notice about Ina’s recipes, is that she always uses extra large eggs, a carryover from her catering days.  I almost never have them because large eggs are used in essentially every other recipe but Ina’s.  A few times, I bought them specifically for one of her recipes and then had to scramble the rest.  But, here I substituted 4 large eggs for the 4 extra large eggs and it was fine. ;D   The pudding has to be cooked in a water bath, so make sure you have a big enough pan to put your baking dish in.  I couldn’t find my big roasting pan anywhere because the baby likes to push his stuffed dog around in it or he likes to sit in it like a sled.  So, I had to make do with a 13 x9 Pyrex, but it was a close fit with all the water.  Oh well, it worked.  At least this time I had all of my measuring cups.  Some of them were missing for about a week, until I found them hidden in the griddle box (Alex!!) when I went to make pancakes.  Wow, it is so much easier to measure by the cup than by third cups.

How does one read brownie pudding and not want to make it?  It is quick and easy.  It tastes divine.  I know you have the ingredients….

Brownie Pudding

Yield: 2 quart casserole

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature  I used 4 large eggs and it was fine

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup good dutch processed cocoa powder    I used Hershey’s Dark

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

I added a pinch of espresso powder

1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional   I omitted

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish.  Melt the 1/2 pound of butter in the microwave. Set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on med-high speed for ~ 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together to remove the lumps. Set aside.

When the egg-sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low.  Add the vanilla seeds, framboise (if using), and the cocoa-flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter.  Mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish. Place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish.  Bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked.  This dessert is between a brownie and a pudding- so it should.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream.

Source: Barefoot Contessa Back to Basics: Fabulous Flavor From Simple Ingredients   by Ina Garten

Brownie S’mores

Besides my obvious cookbook obsession, I also have a pretty bad cooking magazine obsession as well.  I must subscribe to at least a dozen magazines, even after I recently paired them down.  While I know I could probably get most of the recipes online, I think with all the junk I get, I just really enjoy getting some fun mail that isn’t bills.  It’s probably silly, but I was so happy this morning when I opened the mailbox to see 3 magazines!  Score!  Exciting life I lead I tell you. 😀  Taste of the South magazine is one that I have been getting for several years now.   I always book mark a bunch of recipes in each issue, but then they end up on the shelf, and I forget about them.  I decided to start going through my magazines and at least write down those that really catch my eye, so I don’t miss out on any great recipes.  That is how I came across brownie s’mores.  I thought it was fun to have brownies with a vanilla wafer crust and topped with golden toasted marshmallows. Right from the oven the marshmallows and brownies are the perfect amount of melted gooey deliciousness.  Now that the weather is getting warmer in Chicago, sure I could make some s’mores on the grill one night after we barbecue.  But, here you get 12 perfectly cooked s’mores all at once.  Besides, for some reason, I was never very good at campfire marshmallow cookery.  Most likely because I am not much of a camper.  So, I’ll stick with what I do best.  I’ll take a baked brownie s’more against a plain old graham cracker s’more any day.

Brownie S’mores

Yield: 12 to 16 servings

1 (12-ounce) box vanilla-wafer cookies

2 1/4 cups sugar, divided

3/4 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1 cup plus 5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, divided

5 (1-ounce) squares unsweetened chocolate, melted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

5 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 (16-ounce) bag large marshmallows, each cut in half  (easiest to use kitchen scissors)

2 Hershey Bars  optional

Preheat oven to 350°. Line a (13×9-inch) pan with aluminum foil, letting foil hang over sides of pan. Set aside. In the work bowl of a food processor, pulse together cookies, 1/4 cup sugar, and 1/4 teaspoon salt until mixture is fine. With processor running, slowly add 5 tablespoons melted butter, and continue blending until mixture is well combined. Press crumb mixture firmly into the bottom of prepared pan.

In a large bowl, whisk together remaining 1 cup melted butter and melted chocolate until mixture is well combined. Whisk in remaining 2 cups sugar and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, whisking constantly, until mixture is smooth and glossy. Whisk in flour and remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt. Pour batter into pan, smoothing top.

Bake until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out with just crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes. I undercooked mine a bit because I like the gooeyness.  Bake yours longer if you like a more firm brownie texture.  If using, break the Hershey bars into squares and scatter them along the top of the brownie.  Let cool slightly.

Preheat oven to broil. Place marshmallow halves on top of brownies, in rows, as close as possible. Broil until tops of marshmallows are golden brown and puffed, approximately 5 minutes. Let cool slightly before cutting brownies into squares.  But, make sure to cut while still warm. Serve warm.

Source:  Taste of the South Magazine

Southern Living’s Fudge Pie

With my husband out for the afternoon, I thought it would be fun to surprise Jack and Sammie with a chocolatey treat.  I was looking through Classic Southern Desserts  and when I came to the picture of fudge pie, I was stopped dead in my tracks.   Like most people I love brownies and I love pie.  Not much could be better than a combination of the two.   I don’t make pie very often, mostly because I don’t always have time to make a homemade crust.  But, this pie has no crust.  How great is that?  You just make a simple brownie batter with ingredients that most people probably already have on hand and if you like, add a sprinkling of pecans.  I am a brownie purist, so I left them out.  Instead, I decided to throw in some mini chocolate chips to add some little pockets of melted chocolate goodness.   The batter is poured in a pie plate and baked.  It really is as easy as that.  I like to pull my pie out of the oven a little bit underdone, so I can achieve maximum gooeyness.  When it is still warm, it is best served with a big ol’ scoop of your favorite ice cream and a generous drizzle of chocolate syrup.  I called Jack and Sammie to the table for a surprise.   When they arrived, with their eyes large and fixated on the pie, they both asked “Why do we get to eat dessert before dinner?”  Do you guys really want to question me on this?  Yeah, I didn’t think so.  Grab some forks and let’s eat!

Fudge Pie

3/4 cup butter or margarine

3 (1-ounce) unsweetened chocolate squares   I used Callebaut

3 large eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted and divided  optional

1/4 to 1/2 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips  optional

Preheat oven to 350.  Cook butter and chocolate in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring often until melted.   I put the cut butter and chopped chocolate in a bowl and microwaved them carefully until almost all melted, then let the residual heat melt the rest of the chocolate.

Beat eggs at medium speed with an electric mixer 5 minutes. Gradually add sugar, beating until blended. Gradually add chocolate mixture, flour, and vanilla, beating until blended. Stir in 1/2 cup pecans (if using) and mini chips (if using).

Pour mixture into a lightly greased 9-inch pie plate.

Bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes or until center is firm. Cool. Top each serving with vanilla ice cream and chocolate syrup.

Source: Classic Southern Desserts:  All-Time Favorite Recipes for Cakes, Cookies, Pies, Puddings, Cobblers, Ice Cream and More

Chocolate Brownies with Peanut Butter Frosting

Fudgy brownies with peanut butter frosting.  The End.  😀  Ha!

I love Bon Appetit and since I love to bake, I especially love the Bon Appetit Dessert Cookbook.  It has more than 600 of the magazine’s best dessert recipes from over 50 years.   600!  How the heck was I going to choose where to start?  I was flipping through the book, when I got drawn in, yet again, to my favorite combination and I just had to make chocolate brownies with peanut butter frosting.  Although the brownies come together quickly, the problem is waiting for them to cool so you can slather them with the peanut butter frosting.  My son loved these so much, I think he had at least 5 brownies yesterday, making mmm noises with each bite.  I love that!  It reminds me of the hilarious dinner scene in What About Bob?.  And really, who ever asks for a salt substitute?  😀

Anyways, these are too dangerous to have in the house, so I had to send most of them away with my husband for his first period students.  The kids are so funny.  They check my blog and see if I made something that Justin might bring to school.  They’ll come to class and say, “We saw that your wife made cookies. Where are they?”.  Then, they are so sad if Justin comes to school empty handed.  But, not today.  Today they will be so happy because Justin brought peanut butter frosted brownies and they are fabulous! 😀

Brownies

5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped

4 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped     I used Callebaut Semisweet

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter

1 1/2 cups sugar

4 large eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup all purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon salt

Frosting
1 cup creamy peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned or freshly ground)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 13x9x2-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving 2-inch overhang on both short sides. Spray foil with nonstick spray. Combine both chocolates and butter in heavy small saucepan. Stir over low heat until melted and smooth. I melted the chocolate and butter in the microwave.  Cool to barely lukewarm. Using electric mixer, beat sugar, eggs, and vanilla extract in large bowl on high speed until mixture thickens and is pale yellow, about 5 minutes. Reduce mixer speed to low; beat in flour and salt, then melted chocolate mixture. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan.
Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs still attached, about 20 minutes. Transfer baking pan to rack; cool 15 minutes. Press gently on edges of brownies to level with center. Cool completely in baking pan.
Frosting
Combine peanut butter and butter in medium bowl. Using electric mixer, beat until smooth. Add powdered sugar and vanilla extract and beat until well blended and smooth. Spread frosting evenly over brownies in pan. I found an offset spatula to work best.  Refrigerate at least 1 hour. Using foil as aid, lift out brownies from pan. Cut into squares. Clean the knife as necessary to keep your slices neat.
DO AHEAD Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Cover and keep refrigerated. Let stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

Black Bottom Mini Brownie Cups

The only thing better than plain brownies is brownies with a cheesecake and chocolate chip swirl.  Then, you go and bake them up in a mini muffin tin to get the cutest little mouth poppable cheesecake brownie bites. Pretty perfect right?  As usual, this is a super easy recipe.  You make the cheesecake batter in the food processor and the brownie batter is mixed by hand.  Just be certain to spray the muffin wells liberally for easy removal.  I found that a spoon was the easiest way pop them out of the pan.  These do sink in a bit in the middle, creating a perfect cup for ice cream or a rich chocolate sauce.   The author, Nancy Baggett, says she bakes them in a mini muffin pan because they are so rich.  I don’t know, I didn’t have any problem eating 4 in one sitting.   Embarrased smileEmbarrased smile

Black Bottom Mini Brownie Cups

Yield:  24 mini brownie cups

Cream Cheese Layer:

3 ounces cream cheese, slightly softened and cubed

2 1/2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1 large egg yolk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1/2 cup (3oz) mini semisweet chocolate chips

Brownie layer:

1/4 cup unsalted butter, cubed (1/2 stick)

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate. coarsely chopped

3/4 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup all-purpose flour — LESS 1 Tablespoon

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 egg

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 tablespoon water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat 2-12 cup mini muffin pans with cooking spray.  I suggest a spray with flour and spray well!!!

The cream cheese layer:  In food processor, beat cream cheese, sugar, butter, egg yolk and vanilla until smooth. By hand, stir in the mini chocolate chips; set aside.  (Or, in a large bowl, with an electric mixer on low speed, beat the cream cheese and sugar until smooth.  Add the butter, egg yolk, and vanilla, and continue beating until smooth.  Stir in the chocolate chips)

The brownie layer:  In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt butter and chocolate on 50% power x 1 minute.  Stir well.  Continue microwaving on 50% power, stirring at 30 second intervals.  Stop microwaving before the chocolate completely melts and let the residual heat finish the job.

Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until well blended; cool until warm. In a small bowl, thoroughly stir flour, salt and baking soda; set aside. Beat the egg, 1 Tbsp of water and vanilla into chocolate mixture until well blended. Stir in flour mixture until evenly incorporated..

Spoon 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate mixture into each prepared muffin cup.  Spoon 1 teaspoon of cream cheese mixture over the tops, dividing it equally among the cups.  Spoon the remaining chocolate mixture equally over the cream cheese mixture.  Take caution not to overfill.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 11 – 14 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few moist crumbs on it. Place muffin pans on a wire rack to cool.

Gently loosen brownie cups with point of a knife; remove from the pan. I found a spoon to be easier.  Store in airtight container for up to 4 days; or freeze up to 1 month.

Source:  The All-American Cookie Book

Inside-Out S’mores Brownies

When I think of s’mores, I immediately think back to camping with the girl scouts.  I can’t say I’m much of the camping type…well, really not at all.  But, back in the day, we slept on cots, in cabins with wooden floors and cooked all of our food on the campfire.  To me, that was really roughing it.  😀  I remember grilling hotdogs on sticks, fruit cobbler made in a dutch oven covered by coals, and eating s’mores while listening to ghost stories.  It was a long time ago, and I don’t remember much, but of course, I remember the food.

The cold Chicago winters don’t keep me from grilling dinner outside.  I love grilled food!  But, even I’m not crazy enough to go out in the snow and heat up the grill just to make s’mores.  So, I just have to be creative and somehow make indoor s’mores.  I was looking through the latest issue of Better Homes and Gardens and I saw these inside-out s’more brownies.  Basically you make an easy stove top brownie batter, divide it in half, and layer graham crackers and marshmallows in the middle.  It develops the cutest cobblestone top from the brownie batter covering the marshmallows.  So, you get all the familiar flavors of a s’more, while staying nice and toasty inside.  Who says you can’t have s’mores in the winter? Not me. 😀

Inside-Out S’mores Brownies

Yield: a 7 x 11 pan

1/2 cup butter

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

9 honey graham cracker squares

1 cup tiny marshmallows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 11 x 7 x 1 1/2-inch baking pan with parchment paper or lightly grease the pan. Set pan aside.

In a medium saucepan melt the butter and chocolate over low heat. Remove from heat. Stir in sugar, eggs, and vanilla until combined. Stir in flour.

Spread half the batter in the prepared pan. Top with graham crackers (divide as needed to evenly top the batter). Sprinkle marshmallows on the graham crackers, but do not let them touch the sides of the pan. Carefully spread the remaining batter on the marshmallows and graham crackers, covering them completely.  I kind of drizzled the batter on top covering as much of the marshmallows as I could, then I went back, and spread what wasn’t covered with a spatula.

Bake brownies for 25 minutes or until set. Cool completely on a wire rack. Cut into bars.

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens February 2012

Peanut Butter Candy Mini Brownie Cups

A few months back, I was eating a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup and my daughter Sammie asked if she could have a bite because she never had one before.  Well now, how can this be that my poor, deprived, 4 year old daughter had never tried a Reese’s cup?   In my defense, it wasn’t for lack of trying.  😀  Every offer was met with the insistence “No, I hate peanut butter!”.  I can still see her face as she took her first bite.  Her eyes lit up and with every bite she exclaimed “This is delicious!”. Well, duh!!   Is there really any better combination than chocolate and peanut butter?  When I saw these brownie cups, I instantly thought of Sammie and how much she would enjoy them.  The base is a rich chocolate brownie with a bit of peanut butter to kick it up a notch.  (Sorry, I watch way too much Food Network.)  Then, when they are hot out of the oven, you press a peanut butter cup into each one, melting it into the center.  If you’re still reading this…you shouldn’t be.   You really should be in your kitchen making some of these brownie bites! 😀 Yum.

Peanut Butter Candy Mini Brownie Cups

5 Tbsp unsalted butter, cut into chunks

2 oz unsweetened chocolate, broken up or coarsely chopped

1 oz semisweet chocolate, broken up or coarsely chopped

2/3 cup sugar

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1 large egg

2 Tbsp smooth peanut butter (optional- you may want to leave out if you use Rolos)

1 tsp vanilla

24 Reese’s miniature peanut butter cups or Rolos, thoroughly chilled and unwrapped.

Preheat the oven to 350°F.  Grease two 12-cup mini muffin pans or coat with nonstick spray.

In a medium, microwave safe bowl, microwave the chocolates and butter on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir well. Continue microwaving on 50% power, stirring at 30 second intervals.  Stop when most of the chocolate has melted (but some solids remain) and allow the residual heat melt the rest. Do not overheat! Alternatively, you could use a double boiler.

Stir sugar into the chocolate mixture until well blended.  Let cool until just warm.  In a small bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.  Beat the egg and peanut butter (if using) into the chocolate mixture.  Add the vanilla and stir vigorously until the mixture is smooth and shiny.  Stir in the flour mixture until all is incorporated.  Spoon the batter evenly into the mini muffin cups.

Bake in the middle of the oven for 10 to 14 minutes (start to check at 8 minutes), or until almost firm when pressed in the centers.  Do not over bake.  Immediately press one peanut butter cup or Rolo, smaller end down, into the center of each brownie until flush with the surface.  Transfer the muffin tins to a wire rack and let stand until the brownie cups are completely cool.  Gently loosen the brownie cups with a butter knife or spoon, and remove them from the pan.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze up to 1 month.

Source: The All-American Cookie Book

Also, check out Sweet as Sugar Cookies, for her Sweets for Saturday Roundup.  Three of my recipes are featured, along with more than 100 other delicious looking recipes!

Flour Bakery’s Intense Chocolate Brownies

There is always a debate going on between brownie lovers: fudgy or cakey?  I think Joanne Chang, the author of Flour, has the perfect answer to this question.  “If I want a piece of chocolate cake, I pull out the mixer and cake flour and make a chocolate cake.  And if fudge is what I have a hankering for,  I grab the candy thermometer and make fudge.”  So, Flour’s Intense Chocolate Brownies aim for the middle, giving you the best of both worlds.   This brownie is a perfect showcase for good chocolate, so I used Callebaut here.  The brownies should be a bit underbaked to maintain the fudgy-cakey texture or they will just be cakey, but still delicious.  So if you think you know the answer to the question…cakey? fudgy?  Give these brownies a try and I think you might agree that the correct answer is both.

Intense Chocolate Brownies:

Yield: 9 x 13 inch pan of brownies

5.5 oz (155 grams) unsweetened chocolate, chopped

2.5 oz (70 grams) bittersweet chocolate (62-70% cacao), chopped

3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp (1 & 3/4 sticks/200 grams) unsalted butter, melted

5 eggs

2 cups (400 grams) sugar

1 1/4 cups (175 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp kosher salt

Position the oven rack to the middle and preheat to 325°F.  Butter and flour a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.  (I lined it with aluminum foil with overhang  first, so I could easily remove them from the pan and cut them.)

Place the unsweetened chocolate and bittersweet chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl.  Place over (not touching) barely simmering water in a saucepan and heat, stirring continuously, until completely melted and smooth.  Remove from the heat, whisk in the melted butter until well combined and set aside to cool slightly.

Place the eggs in a mixer bowl and fit mixer with the whisk attachment.  On low, slowly beat in the sugar for 1 minute, or until frothy and somewhat thick.  Using a rubber spatula, fold in the chocolate mixture.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder and salt.  Using the spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture into the egg-chocolate mixture until thoroughly combined.  Do not over mix.  Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread in an even layer with the spatula. (Batter will be thick)

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes- but start checking at about 20 minutes.  They are done when a knife or toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few wet crumbs on it.  If there is still liquid batter on the tester, they need more time.  If the tester comes out clean, they are cooked through and will be just cakey (not fudgy too).  Let them cool for 2 hours.  They are so moist, they need this time to firm up enough to cut.

Source:Flour:  Spectacular Recipes from Boston’s Flour Bakery + Cafe

Helpful Hints:

  • I used the weight measurements in grams to make the brownies. If you own a food scale, this is really the most accurate way to bake.  I have this Oxo scale and love it!!  I had this scale for almost a year before I finally decided to use it. Embarrased smile  For some reason I was afraid, I guess because I have baked with measuring cups my whole life.  I’m not so good with change.  But, believe it or not, it is so much easier to just pour ingredients into a bowl and weigh them, than fill up cup after cup of dry ingredients.  Especially when you double or triple a recipe.  So many times I have lost track of how many cups I put in, usually because I have kids running underfoot or asking me questions. 😀 And, it is so much more accurate, you will immediately notice a vast improvement in the quality of your baked goods!
  •  Watch the brownies carefully. You want them slightly underdone when you remove them from the oven.  There should still be some wet crumbs on the toothpick.

The Baked Brownie

I used to work in a retail pharmacy, and every once in a while, we would get a bunch of requests for the same product. I would wonder how could so many people want something that I had barely heard of. Soon enough I would find out that it was mentioned on Oprah and I would laugh. The belief was: Well, if it is good enough for Oprah, then it must be good.  I bet you are wondering how this story has anything to do with food. Well, the Baked Brownie was one of Oprah’s favorite things.  Now, while Oprah may have been wrong about the wonders of Airborne, she was not wrong about this brownie.  If you are a cakey brownie fan, this is not the brownie for you.  The Baked Brownie is really dense, super chocolatey, and just plain rich, fudgy goodness.  The better the quality of the chocolate you use, the closer you will approach the flavor of the Baked Brownie. I used Callebaut Bittersweet Chocolate Bars and Pernigotti Dutch Processed Cocoa Powder (Ina’s “good cocoa” :D).  Even my husband, who doesn’t even like chocolate, said it was really good…now that’s a complement! If you haven’t made the Baked Brownie yet, jump on the bandwagon and give them a try. You won’t regret it…well maybe you will after you eat them all yourself. 😀

The Baked Brownie:

Yield: 24 brownies

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 tsp salt

2 Tbsp dark unsweetened cocoa powder (Baked uses Valrhona- use it- you won’t believe the difference!!)

11 oz dark chocolate (60-72% cacao), coarsely chopped (recommended Callebaut or Scharffen Berger)

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 tsp instant espresso powder (I used Williams-Sonoma Brand)

1 1/2 cups granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

5 large eggs, room temperature

2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or light colored pan. I lined mine with aluminum foil as well, with an overhang for easy removal and cutting.

In a medium bowl, whisk the dry ingredients (flour, salt, cocoa powder). Create a double boiler by placing a large bowl over a saucepan of simmering water- take care not to get any water in the bowl. Put chocolate, butter, and espresso powder in the bowl, stirring occasionally, until they are all melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water while you add the sugars. Whisk until combined, and remove the bowl from the pan. Set aside and allow the chocolate mixture to come to room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat here, or your brownie will be cakey.  Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate and fold it in gently with a spatula until just a bit of the flour is visible. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Let them cool and cut into squares.

Source: Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

NOTE:  I have since made these again using Vahlrona.  I can’t even tell you what a huge difference that made.  I thought they were amazing before, now they are out of this world! 😀

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