Suzi's Blog

Killer Brownies from Marc Forgione

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Yesterday I posted a Coffee Nutella Ice Cream to be paired with this Killer Brownie. It’s dense and chocolaty. The crust, you can see from the picture, is thin and fragile. You could not frost these brownies, so ice cream is a sound way to “complete” the dish, although honestly it does not need anything in addition.

If you don’t want ice cream, then some whipped cream will tone down the intensity of this dessert. Or, you can go the other way. A glass of deep and dark red wine is a complement readily enjoyed.

Unlike most people, I can truthfully claim I have eaten more brownies than Oreos. Suzen and I have a shelf devoted to brownie books. Not cookie books. Brownie books. It is an American dessert, perhaps as much “the” American dessert as apple pie. The wife of the owner of the premiere Chicago Palmer House Hotel requested that her chef create a dessert for ladies attending the World Fair in Chicago 1893. The idea was to have something small, a cross between cake and cookie.

Bertha Palmer was married to Potter Palmer. He had founded a department store and sold it off — before it evolved into Marshall Field’s. He founded the Palmer House, only to lose it in the Great Chicago Fire. But he rebuilt and the Palmers were formidable and gracious members of Chicago society.

Bertha is forgotten now. But her desire, the brownie, is an institution as grand as any hotel or department store.


Killer Brownies

Yield: 8 really large ones

Ingredients:

  • 6 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • ¾ cup sugar
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • ⅔ cup cake or all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup chocolate chips

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place the butter and sugars in the bowl and melt and mix until creamed and smooth. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and mix to combine.

Sift the cocoa powder, flour, and salt into a bowl. Add half the cocoa mixture to the butter mixture and mix until just combined, scraping down the bowl continuously. Repeat with the remaining half.

Grease and flour an 8-inch square cake pan. Spread the batter into the prepared pan and transfer to the oven. Bake until a toothpick inserted comes out dry but with a crumb or two. The top should look dry, crater like, and crackly, about 20 to 25 minutes. Set aside to cool completely. Trim off the edges first [you can save for a great ice cream topping] and cut into even squares.

Source: Cooking by the Book Staff with info from Wikipedia

Photo Information Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/4.5 for 1/50th second at ISO‑2500

 

 

 

Fudgy Walnut Brownie Cookies from One Bowl Baking

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Cookies are part of our lives. Almost from the start. You don’t eat cookies, now, at all? Ever?

What about when you were teething decades ago? You got a cookie/cracker to gnaw on. There were animal crackers with milk at school. And everybody has at least one Oreo in their life. There just cannot be such a thing as an Oreo virgin. Okay, if you are allergic to chocolate, you may have escaped the Oreo but surely your life’s path was paved, in part, with cookie crumbs.

Given their ubiquitiness, we all can appreciate the range of quality we’ve encountered. Mostly okay, some good, but in truth just a few can be labeled great. How do you know a great cookie? At first bite. There’s just something there. Like that girl across the room.

So, this cookie, from One Bowl Baking, is deservedly in that love at first bite category. This is a great, exceptional, wonderful cookie.

Author Yvonee Ruperti compares this cookie to a brownie and calls it that, too. There is a brownie flavor and texture, I admit, but I think this cookie is more. I love soft chocolate cookies and I love thin cookies [and thick ones too]. The issue is that softness is often correlated with that thickness. It is hard to fashion a cookie that is both soft and thin. Most often, the baking process just naturally turns thin cookies into firm wafers.

Not here. The brilliance of this recipe is the ratio of sugar to flour and the placing of the cookies on the baking sheet. In a standard brownie recipe, the ratio of sugar to flour is typically 2:1. Here it is 1:1. The cookie dough is shaped into balls, about the size of a golf ball, and when baking starts they don’t immediately collapse. But over time, with that extra flour, the cookies gracefully settle in thin rounds.

When you bite one, it is soft, succulent and just chocolaty enough to make you sigh in pleasure.

The recipe says you get twelve 3½ inch cookies. You do. That batter spreads. So you have to exercise care in spreading the cookies out on the baking sheet. They will truly cover, if not dominate, every square inch of a half sheet pan. If your oven will accommodate a full sheet pan, that is that safer route. If you use a half sheet and some of the cookies spread into each other, I’m afraid the only solution is to take those misfits, eat them, and bake another batch.

I said this cookie was exceptionally good. Not perfect.

The premise of One Bowl Baking is to achieve superior products with minimum mess. That’s exactly what occurs with this recipe. If you have a child or grandchild who has been cookie deprived, this is a wonderful way to cook with them and show them what wonders can be achieved in your own kitchen.

The title has “walnut” in it. As usual, personal preference went to pecans. Our portfolio probably includes pecan stocks.

 

Fudgy Walnut Brownie Cookies

 

Yield: twelve 3½ inch rounds

Ingredients:

  • 4 tablespoons (2 ounces or 55 grams) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 ounces (115 grams) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1 cup (7 ounces or 200 grams) granulated sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup (5 ounces or 140 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ¾ cup walnuts (3 ounces or 85 grams), chopped, divided [pecans or other nuts can be readily substituted]

 

Preparation:

Place an oven rack in the middle position.

Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.

In a large heatproof bowl heat the butter and chocolate to just melted, stirring frequently.

Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Stir in the eggs, one a time, until completely mixed in.

Add the flour and baking powder to the bowl, then stir to combine. Stir in half of the chopped walnuts.

Scoop the batter into 12 balls, spacing evenly on the pan. Sprinkle the remaining walnuts over the t op of each cookie.

Bake until the cookies are puffed, cracked, and barely set, about 8 minutes. Do not overbake.

Let the cookies cool on the pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

 

Sources: One Bowl Baking by Yvonne Ruperti

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60 mm Macro Lens, F/5.6 for 1/10th second at ISO-3200