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the quintessential(sp?) brownie

4633 Views 37 Replies 12 Participants Last post by  isa
what makes the quintessential brownie? as in the very chocolately fudgy kind- i have seen recipes using white sugar, brown sugar,
bittersweet choc. unsweetened choc. similar recipes that call for 1/2 to 1 c. flour - help- any opinions or favorite recipes out there?!
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I've seen Devil's Food Cake recipes, like on the Domino sugar bag, that call for brown sugar. And brown sugar isn't just sugar that still has molasses. It's white sugar the processor puts molasses back into. Kind of a long way to go, but maybe they can control things better. I just read an article in one of my beekeeping magazines on sugar processing and it sounds way complicated.
Haven't been here in a couple of days. I thought I wanted to be a beekeeper, joined a beekeeping association, but just don't have the time and my yard and neighborhood are just too small and crowded. So, I'm an armchair beekeeper. Plus, I got stung this year and didn't enjoy it. Seems to be going around. The son of a woman at work was up on a ladder spraying a nest prior to working on the roof, got swarmed, fell, smashed his head on the dumpster under him and is just now, a week later, coming out of it. And my kids last night were up on a roof and got buzzed and one of them got stung 5 times.
Back to brownies. Made some today that had brown sugar in them. Gave them a nice butterscotch flavor. I heated 20 oz of eggs with 24 oz of brown sugar and 24 oz of white sugar, then whipped till cool and thick. Folded in 14 oz of chocolate melted with 14 oz butter and then 24 oz cake flour. This was a recipe I copied out of a book in a bookstore. They got a little cakey around the edges, but had no texture in the middle. I baked two half sheet pans. I notice that some of the recipes posted here have either self rising flour or soda in them and I wonder if that's not missing in most brownie recipes. Seems like you might want something to give the batter a little lift. Most brownies have the sugar beaten into the melted butter and chocolate, then the eggs. If you are not whipping the eggs to a foam, where's the leavening? I get frustrated by brownies. I need to make them frequently and have been using Alice Mederich's New Classic Brownies lately. Also made blondies today, using Richard Sax's recipe, which has a little soda in it, and they came out great.

[ August 04, 2001: Message edited by: thebighat ]
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I'd be very happy to get recipes from you, W. deBord. Katherine- the reason one would heat the eggs, a pretty standard procedure, is to allow the proteins to really get long and elastic when you whip them. Denaturing I think is the term. And yes, I do follow the Steve ritual. The brownies go right from the oven to be placed on a sheet pan in a very cold upright freezer. I have the Malgieri book and will try that one.
I knew there was something else....W. deBord...about that strawberry pie. I tried your recipe with the puree, pectin and cornstarch, and it oozed everywhere. Tasted great, looked good when I left it. Had to make another one today for the general manager with cream cheese on the bottom. I thought the Perfect Puree was a little thick so I used half water, half puree, boiled it with a cup of sugar, tb of surejell, and then added the three tb of cornstarch in 1/4 cup h20. Put it in the refig. till it got thick. Still it didn't seem like it wouldn't ooze, so I tried a couple of gelatin leafs in it. Again, looked beautiful going out the door, but unless he refrigerates it for several hours, I gonna hear on Tuesday, "You know, Baker, your pies **** ." And it wouldn't be the first time. I'm looking for a soft gel consistency, that cuts clean and holds together in a slice. BTW,I'm pretty sure I wasn't using any special low sugar pectin and that probably makes a huge difference doesn't it? Thanks.

[ August 05, 2001: Message edited by: thebighat ]
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The person I'm always the most scared of in the bake shop is someone who says, "Hey, I have a great idea." And even though I work alone, that person sometimes turns out to be me. I stood there staring at the instructions in the surejell and it says, don't change the amounts or a loose gel may result. So, duuuh. I went right ahead anyway. I know there's some strawberry coulis left, so I'll pick up some low sugar pectin and try again. In general I find those little instruction leaflets to be obtuse and confusing. I just love the look of that pie and want to ace it. I have been using a lot of Rose Levy's pie recipes. I like the way she macerates the fruit and then reduces the juices. That really seems to work well.
The Steve ritual involves putting the pan of brownies in the freezer to stop the cooking immediately. One of my problems with brownies is that I usually make them at noontime to cut and platter them by 2 pm. Not real organized sometimes. Fine Cooking had an article on brownies a while ago and had a brownie cookie that is always a big hit.
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Thanks. I'll try these tomorrow. And, I noticed that there is baking soda in this recipe. I'm convinced brownies need a little leavening or they bake to a paste.
Made the pie today,using the low sugar pectin and it made all the difference in the world. It gelled, and when stroked with a finger, left a trench. So I sliced the pie myself, which I don't normally have to do as our crack waitstaff is fully capable of butchering it. Made the brownies too, and made the steve ritual brownies with 1/2 tsp of b.soda to a triple batch. Not sure if I like what happened, but the other brownies I liked very much.
Fine Cooking had an article about brownies and there was a recipe for cocoa brownies which were pretty good. I'll dig it up. I also did a project in baking formula tech on brownies were we substituted prune puree for the fat, and while my kids to this day look suspiciously at any brownie I make, they weren't too bad either.
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