Sunday, September 19, 2010

Fudge Brownies

I've been on the search for a homemade brownie recipe that's as good as the one you get from the box. You know the kind - chewy, chocolaty, the perfect dessert to top with a scoop of ice cream. Finally, success!

The secret ingredient in these brownies is espresso powder. Apparently this ingredient is hard to find and can be expensive. So rather than shell out the big bucks for it I just purchased some instant espresso in the international foods aisle at Wegmans. It worked fine and was about half the price.

These brownies were a hit with Dennis and my co-workers. They all agreed that the chocolate in the brownies really came through. I asked Dennis for any additional comments and he said the consistency was perfect and also requested that I add them to the regular baking rotation. Sounds like a winner to me.

Fudge Brownies (from King Arthur Flour)

* 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter

* 2 1/4 cups sugar

* 4 large eggs

* 1 1/4 cups Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-process cocoa

* 1 teaspoon salt

* 1 teaspoon baking powder

* 1 teaspoon espresso powder

* 1 tablespoon vanilla extract

* 1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

* 2 cups chocolate chips


1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

2) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

3) While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Raspberry Chocolate Chip Scones

Dennis finally ate all of the blueberry crumb muffins so I had the task of coming up with another breakfast food. I came across this recipe for Raspberry Chocolate Chip scones and was intrigued. I've never made scones before but this had Dennis's favorite flavor combination so I couldn't resist.

I used frozen raspberries since fresh raspberries aren't really in season now. I think they worked out fine - it just made the dough really cold and I had to work quickly before they started to completely defrost.

I definitely don't think they turned out perfect. Dennis said the texture was good, though the outside was a bit chewy. I also didn't do the best job cutting them. I told him some are for when he's a little hungry and some are for when he's very hungry... So next time I'll definitely try to cut it in more even portions. But I don't think they turned out too bad for my first scone attempt.

Chocolate Chip Raspberry Scones (from Joy of Baking)

2 cups all purpose flour (I used ½ all-purpose, ½ white whole wheat)

1/3 cup granulated white sugar

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold and cut into pieces

2 ounces dark chocolate chunks or chips (about 1/3 cup)

3/4 cup fresh or frozen raspberries

1/2 cup plain yogurt

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 large egg, lightly beaten

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and place rack in middle of oven. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Cut the butter into small pieces and blend into the flour mixture with a pastry blender or two knives. The mixture should look like coarse crumbs. Stir in the chocolate chunks (chips) and raspberries. In a small measuring cup whisk together the yogurt, vanilla extract, and egg. Add this mixture to the flour mixture and stir just until the dough comes together. Do not over mix.

Transfer to a lightly floured surface and knead the dough gently four or five times and then pat, or roll, the dough into a circle that is about 7 inches round and about 11/2 inches thick. Cut the dough into eight triangles. Place the scones on the baking sheet.

Bake for about 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack.

Makes 8 scones.