Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Brownie #1

As I mentioned in the last post, I was ready to test out recipe no. 1, which I will call Brownie #1 (original, isn't it?). I had some handwritten notes using Betty Crocker Supreme Brownie mix as a guide. I made notes as I went along the baking process, adjusting ingredients here and there. This is what I came up with. The ingredients I used were what were on hand (like dark brown sugar vs. light brown sugar). I hand mixed everything with a wooden spoon. Review follows the recipe.

1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 3/4 C granulated sugar
1/4 C dark brown sugar
1/4 Canola oil (any vegetable oil would do)
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), melted
2 Tbsp water
1 C unbleached all purpose flour
3/4 C dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 tsp table salt

Preheat oven at 325 degrees F.

Grease a square 8" pan. I didn't use a foil or parchment paper sling but you can do that if you prefer. I didn't have a problem getting the brownie out of the pan without a sling.

In a small bowl, mix egg and vanilla. Add sugars and mix well. Add oil, melted butter, water and stir until everything is incorporated.

In a large bowl, combine flour, cocoa and salt. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until everything is incorportated. It's okay if there are lumps. The reason why I did it this way is because I find that sometimes it's easier and a bit faster to incorporate ingredients this way.

Spread mix into greased pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into squares.

First impression: the brownie had absolutely no rise (not surprised but more on this later), had a great dark color (yea, Callebaut!), and the top was nice and crackly, like Betty Crocker's brownies.

First taste: Very nice chocolate flavor, rich, good sweetness/chocolate balance, very dense, a tad overbaked--the sides were too crunchy but the center cuts were nice and moist. Surprised how rich it tasted with only 1 stick of butter. A slight fudge texture in the center squares.

I had thought about doing a whole "taste test" questionnaire but bah, I was too lazy. I did, however, bring some to work and solicited some of my friends, a Brownie Guinea Pig Panel if you will, to help rate the recipe. No official questionnaires, just verbal feedback. The BGPP consists of 5 guinea pigs, GP1 through 5, me included. Here are the feedbacks from the other 4.

GP1: Edges were too dry, but the flavor was really good. Didn't think it was too sweet, just right. The center cuts were moist. Good texture. Thought would hold up nicely to ice cream without getting all soggy.

GP2: Like it just the way it is. Perfect for brownie sundaes. Tasted really good, and loved the textured. Doesn't want anything changed. Will be a guinea pig for anything I want to bring in for a taste test. (That's so sweet!)

GP3: Mmmm, really good. Can't talk, I'm chewing. When's the next batch? (Okay, I see how this GP is going to be.)

GP4: Tastes good, dense but doesn't seem heavy. Chewy. I like it.

Adjustments for Brownie #2: As I mentioned, there was no rise whatsoever and I think adding some baking powder might help. Reduce the cooking time to 25 minutes (down from 30 min) and when the toothpick comes out just a little crumbly. I also might increase egg to 2 but it might require an adjustment on the flour. I will keep the cocoa to sugar ratio as it for right now since taste was rated pretty high across the panel.

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