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Sunday, May 22, 2011


Since almost any recipe you could possibly want is available via internet, I rarely lust over hard-cover copies of cookbooks anymore. But, "Baked: New Frontiers in Baking" is an exception. If you're looking for something simple, but still a little off of the beaten path, B:NFB is worth a fun look.

Some of the most rewarding baking, is "thank you baking". Baking something for someone who has done something helpful or nice, or someone whose friendship you appreciate, and you want them to know it.

The reason for the two different types of brownies, is because I wanted to make brownies for some co-workers. I wanted to make something special, but I also needed a back-up brownie plan in case something with the untested recipe went awry.

I looked through the B:NFB cookbook, and made the delicious "Baked Brownie". Recipe listed further along. They turned out great, but then Mr. Icequeen wanted brownies too, so instead of making another trip to the grocery store for supplies to make another batch of "Baked Brownies", I turned to a Ghardelli box mix instead.

Both are delicious. I've always believed that boxed brownie mixes were actually superior to all brownies I had ever made from scratch. But, I have seen the chocolate light. The scratch brownie is both fudgy, and has a deep chocolate flavor, that is richly enhanced by the espresso powder added to the mix.


Yield: 24 brownies

The Baked brownie is a beautiful thing.

Baked Note: A great brownie is easy to make, but you have to be aware of several factors. 1. Use a dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona. A pale, light-colored cocoa does not have enough depth. 2. Make sure your eggs are room temperature and do not overbeat them into the batter, and 3. Make sure you check your brownies often while baking. Once the brownies have been overbaked slightly, they have reached the point of no return.

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

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.


We never really thought that the world would end over the weekend, but we're always looking for any small reason to celebrate. So, when the world is nice enough to keep on keeping on, it only makes sense to party on down with shrimp fritters.

The only thing that even came close to the "walking dead" was Yeti.

Monday, May 16, 2011

What I'm Reading Right Now

I just finished the Hunger Games trilogy. If you have not read this set of books, you must do so, right now. I'll be waiting here patiently for you to come back, and to let me know what you think of it.