Monday, March 23, 2009

Brownie #2

Encouraged by the taste of Brownie #1, Brownie #2 was focused on the texture more so than the flavor. My original thought was just to add some leavening (i.e., baking powder) which I believe would solve the height issue and give the texture a bit more...fluff without being cakey. On the morning of testing, I decide to also adjust for volume also since I was going to use the Baker's Edge pan.

I started out with 2 tablespoon of water but after mixing everything together, the batter seemed a little dry, so I added an extra tablespoon of water. Hard to say whether it needed it or not but the batter was a little easier to spread. I also changed the white sugar to dark brown sugar ratio since brown sugar is suppose to help with the chewiness.

Since I wanted to increase the batter amount, I had to adjust the egg content to compensate for the increase in flour. I used a Cook's Illustrated trick for chewiness by only adding egg white. This should also keep the brownie from getting cakey (ick). I think the adjustments were spot on as to what I thought they would produce. Taste test results are after the recipe.

Brownie #2

1 whole egg + 1 egg white (large eggs)
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C dark brown sugar
1/4 oil (Canola)
1 stick melted butter (1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp water
1 1/2 C unbleached AP flour
3/4 C dutch-processed cocoa powder (Callebaut)
1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat oven at 350°F oven (using Baker’s Edge Brownie Pan pictured below).

In a medium bowl, mix eggs and vanilla (hand mixed with a wooden spoon). Add sugars and mix. Add oil, butter, water and mix well. Don't worry if there is a bit of separation of the melted butter and/or oil on top. It'll all get blended together.

In separate large bowl, sift flour, cocoa pwder, baking powder and salt together. I sifted this time to help with the height. I think you can get away without sifting. You can also sift all the dry ingredients directly into the wet ingredient bowl (saves on clean-up). Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix just until incorporated.

Lightly sprayed Baker’s Edge (or an 8" x 8" pan) with oil. Spread mix into pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out with light crumbs. Cool completely in pan and cut into squares. Here's what it looked liked in the Baker's Edge pan.

For the taste test of Brownie #2, I had 2 extra volunteers. So there will be 2 additional Brownie Guinea Pigs to this taste test panel (hehe).

CAB: Chocolate taste is still good, but not as intense as Brownie 1 (expected since the flour ratio is a bit higher). The baking powder really gave a good rise and improved the texture with a little bit of fluffiness, almost with slight fudgy mouth feel on the inside. Sides were chewy, but delicate, not tough or hard. Probably could be a little more chewy for me. Adding egg white did not make it cakey. Really enjoyed the feel and taste of brownie. Good chocolate aftertaste.

GP1: Really good texture. Lighter than the first one. Good flavor. Like it better than the last one.

GP2: Really like this one. Tastes really good and is a little fluffier than the last one. Liked it better than Brownie #1.

GP3: This one is good just the way it is. Really good. Wouldn't change this one.

GP4: Really good but maybe a bit too sweet? I don't know. Maybe it's because I just like my brownie with nuts in it.

GP5 (new): Really good. Not too sweet, chewy, really nice flavor. Not cakey (a good thing). I'd make this one at home.

GP6 (new): I think this one is really good, wouldn't change a thing on this. Maybe add some nuts.

So it was unanimous from the GPP (Guinea Pig Panel) that this was "The" recipe to stay with. I'm a bit surprised that it only took 2 recipes to reach this stage. I think I would like to try to see if I can turn up the chocolate taste in this one a bit more since it wasn't as intense as the first one. Also, every GP liked nuts in their brownie, I'm the odd one out.

So for Brownie #3, I'm going to add a traditional nut and a not-so traditional one. I threw my thoughts out to 2 GPs and they both agreed the nontraditional nut might be very interesting and potentially really good. I'll also work on increasing the chocolatiness, too. Maybe using an Ina Graten trick that she's used in the past for her baked chocolate goods.

Postscript: I completely forgot to mention how I liked the Baker's Edge Pan. I thought it did a great job baking the brownie evenly. Every portion I cut was the same as the others. I was a little surprised by the weight of it , much heavier compared to my square baking pan. Although this "might" be a uni-tasker pan for now, I really like it.

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