Sunday, February 21, 2016

Another Great Brownie

Another Great Brownie - made February 6, 2016, recipe modified from Milk & Cookies by Tina Casaceli
This was actually the name of the recipe and isn't a judgment or endorsement on my part. I could've sworn I'd already made this but I tend to feel that way about most brownie recipes in baking books I own because chances are, I've looked at them and planned to make them for so long, I could half (or wholly) convince myself I had when I hadn't.
So just to remove all doubt, I went ahead and made them. I tend to prefer my brownies on the chewy-fudgy side. These were certainly fudgy but the addition of baking powder made them a little lighter than the dense chewy brownie texture that I prefer. They weren't exactly cakey but had more of a soft texture, bordering on mousse without being a mousse. Hard to explain but you'll get what I mean if you make these.

A couple of things to note, depending on how picky you are about brownies. I'm pretty much as picky as you can get. So I feel compelled to point out that this had more of an espresso flavor than I had counted on. Normally the addition of a bit of coffee or espresso to chocolate helps amp up the chocolate flavor. This did that but was slightly also bold on the espresso. Not a bad thing if you like coffee but if you don't, I'd suggest cutting back on the amount of espresso powder.

Lastly, and this is purely a personal preference thing, I'm not sure I like the chocolate chips in the brownie itself. If the texture had been more dense-chewy, I think I wouldn't have minded the chips but since it was a softer texture, the chocolate chips provided more of a contrast than I liked. Not a bad thing for some but for me, sometimes I just want the pure unadulterated chewiness of a plain fudgy brownie. With all that, you might think I didn't like this brownie. I did. I'm just picky.
2 1/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3.5-ounce bar of bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
1/2 + 1/8 cup all-purpose flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
1/2 cup + 1/8 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips for mixing in
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In the top half of a double boiler set over hot, barely simmering water, combine 2 1/3 cups chocolate chips, bittersweet chocolate and butter. Whisk until melted and smooth; set aside to cool slightly.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine 1/2 cup flour, baking powder and salt; whisk together.
  4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, espresso powder and vanilla. Stir until barely combined. Add melted chocolate mixture then flour mixture. Stir until smooth and glossy. 
  5. Toss remaining 1/8 cup flour with 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips until chips are coated. Add to brownie batter and stir to combine.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 15 minutes then turn pan and lower heat to 325 degrees. Bake another 15 minutes or until toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs.
  7. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies

Chocolate Chip Graham Cracker Cookies - made dough February 6, 2016 from My Baking Addiction
Now that the never-ending month of No-Sugar January is over, I did feel "safe" in venturing back to baking once a week for work. I actually had made Averie's Chocolate Chip Cookies (milk chocolate) and Bakery-Style Chocolate Chip Cookies (semisweet chocolate) for my nieces and for work on the last day of January but since I already knew what those recipes tasted like and because I had baked them on January 31 to take into work February 1, I didn't eat any. (Hold, please, while I straighten my halo.). Resisting was initially harder than I thought because what was better than a warm chocolate chip cookie 10 minutes out of the oven? That's right, nothing. Except I couldn't eat any when I baked them because January had hours left to go at that time and I hadn't gone into sugar-deprivation mode for eternity only to blow it on the last day. So I didn't. The next day when I brought the cookies into work, it was February and technically I could have had one then but since they weren't 10 minutes out of the oven, I resisted. I wanted to make the next time I had sugar worth my while.

Which I did with these cookies. Since I had skipped having anything from two of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes, I decided to try a new one. This recipe intrigued me as a new twist to a classic cookie. This one was bolstered by graham cracker crumbs which I found to be an intriguing concept. Instead of the 2 1/4 cups flour like a standard Tollhouse recipe, this substituted 1 1/2 cups of the flour with graham cracker crumbs.
I thought the cookies would be more graham cracker flavored and be akin to a s'more base without the marshmallow. Surprisingly, it wasn't. Instead it was like a regular chocolate chip cookie, a bit more "mealy" or robust in texture (thought not quite as chewy as an oatmeal cookie) but only very slightly and I could hardly taste the graham cracker flavor at all. It was still a good cookie though and one I wouldn't mind making again. It makes for a moist cookie but of course, only if you don't overbake it.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 egg
1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips
  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until creamy and no butter lumps remain.
  2. Blend in the vanilla and egg until well combined.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture until just combined.
  4. Stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon. Portion out dough into golf-ball-size dough balls, cover and chill or freeze for several hours or overnight.
  5. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  6. Evenly space frozen dough balls on baking sheet and bake for 7-10 minutes or until edges are golden brown and middles no longer look raw or shiny. Do not overbake.
  7. Transfer cookies to wire rack and let cool completely.