Tuesday, 16 August 2011

Baking chocolate brownies with the family - everyday should be a brownie day ........

I have yet to meet someone who doesn't eat those decadent little brownie treats but the blondies (White chocolate versions) in my opinion should be avoided at all costs white chocolate has too higher fat content to work effectively.

The biggest question is which style of brownie suits you, for me they fall into two categories - rich melted chocolate versions or the cake like cocoa nibbles - I like both but the two camps can get quite heated about the outcome and finished results and brownie purists will argue about the addition of anything other than chocolate, eggs, flour and sugar but you try adding a few nuts to adorn the basic recipe and you might aswell have asked them to eat a blondie !!!!

For me the better the ingredient the better the brownie whether it is the best quality chocolate you can afford or the best cocoa you can afford, in the restaurant I always go for the rich fudgey chocolate versions as I feel the guests deserve that little piece of luxury whether it be a brownie slice for the bar, the base for a rocky road sundae for the kids or an a la carte assiette of chocolate......

But at home I always opt for the cocoa version as the kids prefer them lighter and fluffier but they are still decadent nuggets of goodness and all we have to do is reach for the cocoa inside the store cupboard.....

It’s easy to see that the brownie got its name from its dark brown color. But as with most foods, the origin of the brownie is shrouded in myth, first appearing in print in the early 20th century. The legend is told variously: a chef mistakenly added melted chocolate to a batch of biscuits...a cook was making a cake but didn’t have enough flour. The favorite, cited in Betty Crocker's Baking Classics and John Mariani’s The Encyclopedia of American Food and Drink, tells of a housewife in Bangor, Maine, who was making a chocolate cake but forgot to add baking powder. When her cake didn’t rise properly, instead of tossing it out, she cut and served the flat pieces. Alas, that theory relies on a cookbook published in Bangor in 1912, six years after the first chocolate brownie recipe was published by one of America’s most famous cookbook authors, Fannie Merritt Farmer, in 1906 (and the Bangor version was almost identical to the 1906 recipe).
From what we can find in the historic record, the actual “inventor” is most likely the great cookbook editor Fannie Farmer. The super-chocolate fudgy brownies we now known were developed by her protégé, Maria Willet Lowney.

Here is the recipe I use at home for the cocoa brownies - use it as a base or adapt your own brownie. As you will have probably guessed a brownie can be highly personal and everyone enjoys them in a different way........
Easy Brownies made with cocoa
Yield: 12-15 servings
170g unsalted butter
330g caster sugar
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 free range eggs
85g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of salt (optional)
chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 180 deg c.
Line a 13 x 9 in (33 x 23 cm) cake tin with grease proof or other non-stick paper and grease the tin. Melt the butter.
Beat eggs with sugar, and add vanilla, flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt (optional) and melted butter.
Add chopped nuts.

Bake at 180 degrees until a wooden skewer inserted in center comes out clean, approximately 20-30 minutes.

Cool the cake on a cooling rack

Dust with icing sugar or extra cocoa powder and portion as large as you like !!!

and don't forget the most important part of baking the ultimate in spoon licking !!!!!!!!
what chocolate ??

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