Monday, November 9, 2015

New Classic Brownies

New Classic Brownies - made October 18 from Cookies and Brownies by Alice Medrich
I love Alice Medrich’s brownie recipes. They’ve always (or almost always) turned out for me. Not to mention her other recipes. So it was a surprise to me that I found one of her recipes in one of her cookbooks on my shelves that I hadn’t tried yet. In flipping through the recipe, I realized why. Mostly because it involved baking brownies then dunking the pan in an ice bath which probably seemed like a lot of trouble when I first read the recipe and I tried something simpler and more commonplace.
Some months/years later, I was in the mood for a new brownie recipe and, instead of being daunted by something new, I wanted to do something different to cut through my jaded brownie tastes. And trying a new way to make something I’ve made for years was appealing. Not to mention not a big deal at all. This basically calls for baking the brownies at a high temperature for a short period of time then dunking it immediately into an ice bath (in a larger baking pan filled with ice water; careful not to get the brownies wet) to let it cool abruptly.
The purpose of this method is to create brownies with a “crunch” on the outside but to have a moist, creamy, fudgy inside. Lo and behold, it actually worked too. The fudgy interior wasn’t new to me since that’s how I’ve always tried to make my brownies but the “shell” outside was new. It wasn’t tough or super crunchy but it did have more of a shell than the usual brownies and this contrasted nicely with the creamy fudgy goodness on the inside. 
Monitor the baking time carefully though. My oven tends to run a little too hot at 400 degrees and I left the brownies in there for the full 20 minutes that the recipe called for. At first I was afraid I had overbaked the brownies (OMG, overbaked! Crisis!) but the ice bath saved it and kept the brownies moist. Still, next time I’d probably shave a couple minutes off the high baking temp just in case.
4 ounces (1 stick, 1/2 cup) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line an 8 x 8" baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter and chocolate together in the top half of a double boiler over barely simmering water; whisk until smooth and completely melted. Remove from heat.
  3. Stir in sugar, vanilla and salt. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring until incorporated.
  4. Stir in the flour, beating with a wooden spoon until incorporated and batter is smooth and glossy.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20 minutes.
  6. While the brownies are baking, prepare an ice bath in a pan large enough to hold the brownie pan. Remove brownies from oven and immediately place in ice bath, taking care not to splash water onto the brownies.

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