Sunday, October 19, 2014

Fudgy Frosted Brownies and Cal vs UCLA

Fudgy Frosted Brownies - made October 17, 2014, recipe modified slightly from Sally's Baking Addiction
Memorial Stadium, an hour before the game - the stands filled up considerably by kickoff
I've got a backlog of recipes to put up but haven't had time to write them up yet. But I'm leapfrogging this one to post nearly real-time while it's fresh in my memory. One of my nieces, my sister and her boyfriend flew in this weekend so they, my parents, my other niece and I could all get together to watch the Cal vs UCLA football game at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. My out-of-town niece goes to UCLA and the other to Berkeley so we had a little intra-family rivalry going on. I myself graduated from Cal so I knew who I was rooting for but figured even if they lost (which they did! *sad face*), at least we had one person in the family who would be happy that UCLA won.
At Halftime - there was still hope for Cal
The Bear and the Bruin
I always bake for my nieces whenever I have a chance to see them but last week was particularly all about the long hours as I had some big deliverables due at work so I didn't really have time to bake during the week. I had made up some cookie doughs last weekend so those would be easy enough to bake off at the last minute but I also wanted to do a brownie. Unfortunately I ended up working later than I had expected on Friday night so by the time I got home the night before the game, I almost decided against baking and had to fight the temptation to just collapse on my couch. But even when I'm tired, I'm still stubborn so I made myself get it done.

Fortunately, brownies are my specialty and I could probably make them in my sleep. Plus this recipe from Sally's Baking Addiction was simple enough to put together quickly and easily. I baked off the brownies the (late) night before and frosted them the next morning. The only thing I changed was I baked them in an 8 x 8 pan instead of the 9 x 9 pan that her original recipe called for. I'm glad I made them in the smaller pan as they had the right thickness, even with the frosting.

Normally I don't frost brownies but I wanted a little extra decadence so I did this time. The frosting was rich but I actually liked it (I know, right?). At least in the half-piece I ate as a taste test. True to their advertising, these did come out fudgy. Of course, bear (get it? GO BEARS!) in mind, it's not as much about the recipe as it is about the quality of ingredients (code for "use good chocolate") and underbaking the brownies slightly. The best fudgy brownie recipe in the world won't turn out well if you use inferior chocolate and overbake them.
I asked my nieces whether this batch of brownies should be winner take all or serve as a consolation prize for the loser. But since, between the two of them, one was going to be a winner and they learned all about sharing in kindergarten, that meant it didn't matter and they (and their friends) could partake of rich, fudgy, frosted brownies. Even though Cal lost. Sigh.
1/2 cup (115g) butter (salted or unsalted, your choice)
8 ounces (228g) coarsely chopped good quality semi-sweet chocolate - I used Valrhona
3/4 cup (150g) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (50g) light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons (80g) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons (11g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup (180g) semi-sweet chocolate chips

Milk Chocolate Frosting
1 3/4 cups (210 g) confectioners' sugar
1/4 cup (22 g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons heavy cream or half and half
1 teaspoon vanilla
salt to taste
  1. Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat oven to 350F degrees. Line the bottom and sides of a 8 x 8 inch square baking pan* with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. Melt the butter and chopped chocolate in a medium saucepan on medium heat, stirring constantly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat, pour into a large mixing bowl, and allow to slightly cool for 10 minutes.
  3. Whisk the granulated and brown sugars into the cooled chocolate/butter mixture. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla. Gently fold in the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Once combined, fold in the chocolate chips.
  4. Pour batter into the prepared baking pan and bake for 35-36 minutes or until the brownies begin to pull away from the edges of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center should come out with only a few moist crumbs when the brownies are done. 
  5. Allow the brownies to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack. Once cooled, lift the foil out of the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into squares.  
  6. Frosting: sift together the confectioners' sugar and cocoa powder to assure there are no lumps. Set aside. With a handheld or stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium speed until creamy - about 2 minutes. Gradually add the sifted sugar/cocoa powder alternately with the heavy cream and vanilla. Beat on low speed after each addition. Once all added, beat on high speed until creamy and combined for at least 2 minutes. Add a pinch of salt if frosting is too sweet. Frost the brownies before or after cutting into squares, whichever you prefer.

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