Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Lowney's Brownies

Lowney's Brownies - October 3, 2009

This is a standard brownie recipe from Nancy Baggett's All-American Cookie book. Quick and easy to make, it comes out fine but to me, having baked dozens upon dozens, if not hundreds, of brownie recipes, this is nothing special. Even baked in an 8" pan, it still comes out pretty thin and the taste isn't exceptional. I substituted chocolate chips for the nuts which was fine but this isn't a standout recipe. People at work liked it just fine and I got some compliments on it but to my overly critical taste buds, I don't think they warranted that much praise. They were just okay.

But that's part of trying out new recipes - some will be fabulous, some will flop and others are in that wide gray area in the middle of okay but nothing special. My baking quest is about the ones above average and tremendously special. Luckily, it's often easier to find good brownie recipes than average ones. I have so many different varieties that now I look for brownie recipes that are just a little bit different. I'll start posting a few so you can see what I mean.

Lowney's Brownies

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, broken up or coarsely chopped
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup (2 ounces) chopped walnuts or pecans
¼ teaspoon salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Lightly grease an 8-inch square baking pan or coat with nonstick spray. Line the pan with aluminum foil, letting the foil overhang two opposing sides of the pan by about 2 inches. Grease the foil or coat with nonstick spray.
2. In a small, microwave-safe bowl, microwave the chocolate on 50% power for 1 minute. Stir well. Continue microwaving on 50% power, stirring at 30-second intervals. Stop microwaving before the chocolate completely melts and let the residual heat finish the job. (Alternatively, in a small, heavy saucepan, melt the chocolate over lowest heat, stirring frequently; be very careful not to burn. Immediately remove from the heat.) Let cool to warm.
3. In a medium bowl, with a wooden spoon, mix together the butter and sugar until well blended and smooth. Stir in the chocolate until evenly incorporated. Stir in the eggs, then the flour, walnuts or pecans, and salt, until evenly incorporated. Turn out the batter into the baking pan, spreading to the edges.
4. Bake in the middle of the oven for 19 to 23 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let stand until the brownie is completely cooled. Refrigerate until chilled.
5. Using the overhanging foil as handles, transfer the brownie to a cutting board. Carefully peel off and discard the foil. Using a large, sharp knife, cut the brownie into 16 squares; wipe the knife clean between cuts.

Store in an airtight container for up to 4 days or freeze up to 1 month. If freezing, leave the brownie slab whole, then cut into squares when partially thawed.

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