Yes, there’s such a thing as “emergency brownies.” I’ve probably talked about them before, now that I think about it. They’re the super-rich-chocolatey-goodness you need this instant without doing any work. Or else you might just expire on the spot from unfulfilled desire for warm chocolate lovin’. I wish I were kidding, but this happens to me regularly, so I know what I’m talking about. You know what I’m talking about?
I “grew” this recipe from something else we made at Le Cordon Bleu…something completely unrelated to brownies, because they don’t teach you how to make brownies there, trust me. But they teach you good ideas, and this was one of them that had been gnawing at me ever since we made the French version in the kitchen and devoured it all.
It’s a super simple recipe, made with staples you should have in your fridge and pantry. Try it!
Quick and Simple Brownies – serves 1, maybe…
- 50g dark chocolate (preferably good quality, at least 60% cacao, but a craving is a craving, so go ahead and bust out that Baker’s Chocolate if you need to.)
- 50g unsalted butter
- 50g sugar
- 1 large egg (50g)
- 15g (1 Tbsp) flour
- 15g (1 Tbsp) ground almonds or ground hazelnuts, or just flour if you don’t have either
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 pinch salt
- 1 tsp instant coffee granules (optional)
- Mix-in’s: chopped nuts, a handful of chocolate chips, chopped pretzel pieces – all optional
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 170 Celsius.
- Get out your muffin tin and line 6 cups with your cupcake liner.
- Melt chocolate and butter together in the microwave or in a double boiler.
- Whisk egg and sugar together with a hand whisk. Add in vanilla, salt, and coffee granules and whisk well.
- Add in the melted chocolate and butter, mix together just until it’s homogenous.
- Fold in flour and ground almonds/hazelnuts if you’re using, until there’s no trace of flour left. Stir in mix-in’s if you’re using them.
- Split the mixture evenly in the 6 cupcake liners you’ve got. You should be able to fill just under 1 inch in each tin – think brownie height, not muffin height.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes until the top is crackly and slightly firm to the touch. You don’t want it to be too gooey, and these brownies can’t really over-bake.
- Remove from oven and let cool in tins until the brownies aren’t too hot to the touch, then move to cooling rack to cool completely.
These brownies are not exactly chewy, which I think doesn’t really quality them as brownies, but they definitely hit the spot with their rich chocolate taste. They feel like a flourless chocolate cake done well, but of course they are not flourless. The crackly top is my favourite part – just what I’d expect from any good brownie. The unadulterated chocolate taste and the texture of this brownie also make this a perfect vessel to serve with ice cream and caramel sauce (or fruit coulis?) for a decadent dessert that’s sure to wow your guests. The best part? I’ve also discovered that they freeze exceptionally well – and dare I say they taste even better when frozen?
Give them a try the next time your cravings hit!
This is one of my favourite Barefoot Contessa Recipes, adapted to a personal pan size for those “emergency brownie days”. Emergency brownie days in my books are usually also accompanied by vodka, if it happens to be available in the fridge. That’s how I concluded brownies were probably, most likely, created by stressed out women everywhere. Women who have been pushed to decide that just chocolate simply wouldn’t do; chocolate and butter and sugar together would be soooooo much better.
Extremely Chocolate-y Brownies
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa Cookbook
- 2.5 oz. unsalted butter, melted
- 3.5 oz. semi-sweet/bitter-sweet chocolate chips, melted
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. flour
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- a small pinch of salt
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Celsius. Line a small brownie pan, 6″ cake pan, or loaf pan with butter and flour, and put parchment paper on the bottom – since this is a “personal pan” brownie recipe, you don’t need a regular brownie pan.
- Combine butter, chocolate, egg, instant coffee, and vanilla together in a bowl. Whisk together until mixed well.
- Add in the dry ingredients, and whisk until everything is incorporated.
- At this point, you can chop in nuts or extra chocolate chips. If you do, toss them together with a tbsp. of flour first so they don’t all sink in the batter.
- Pour batter into pan and bake until the top starts to crack and a tester comes out clean.
- Forget about cooling. Grab a spoon and dig in. Have vodka ready if necessary and available.
Wednesday 17 February 2010
Can you believe that I grew up in BC, loved Bake Sales at school, but had never had a Nanaimo Bar until this past Friday? It’s true, sometimes I can be unnecessarily stubborn.
I decided to make these because it looks like everyone is in Olympic spirits and making Nanaimo Bars to celebrate, so I hopped on the band wagon and made some to take into work. I followed the recipe to a T for the first batch, found on – where else – Nanaimo.ca. I loved the hint of cocoa that came through the crust, but felt it could be a bit heavier, and also thought the middle layer could be a little less sweet and a little more complex. So with that, I set out to make my own version the next day.
for the base
- 3.5 oz (1/2 cup minus 1 tbsp) butter
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 6 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 egg (lightly beaten)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 cups graham cracker or finely crushed cookie crumbs
- 3/4 cup shredded coconut
- 3/4 cup pecans (chopped)
for the filling
- 4 tbsp butter (room temperature)
- 2 tbsp cream cheese (room temperature)*
- 3 tablespoon Bird’s custard powder
- 1/8 cup (2 tbsp) milk or cream
- 2.5 cups icing sugar
*If you don’t have cream cheese, just replace with butter. I like the tartness the cream cheese adds to the icing.
for the topping
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- 2 tbsp butter
Putting it all together
- Line an 8″ or 9″ square pan with parchment paper and set aside
- For the base, melt the butter in a heavy small pot, or over the double boiler in a heat-proof bowl. Once melted, using a wire whisk, whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar until smooth. Add in egg and vanilla and whisk again until smooth. Stir in coconuts, cookie crumbs, and pecans with a spatula. Press and pack the mixture into the bottom of the pan and put in fridge to cool.
- Using an electric mixer with the paddle attachment, or a handheld mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together for the filling. Add in the milk/cream and custard powder, beat until combined. Slowly, 1 cup at a time, beat in the icing sugar. Once it’s all mixed in together, whip on medium-high speed for 30 seconds. Spread on top of the base, and set back into the fridge to set.
- Melt the chocolate chips and butter together in a double boiler, in the microwave, or over the stove carefully. Pour onto the filling and put back into fridge to set.
- About 30 minutes after putting the bars in the fridge, score the bars with a sharp knife, wiping clean after each cut, to ensure that it’ll be easy to cut once everything sets.
- Cut into bars and enjoy!
You can also add sprinkles to the bars for a festive look, say, around Valentine’s Day?
Ever since Deb at smitten kitchen posted her recipe for cheesecake marbled chocolate brownies, I’ve been trying to come up with an excuse to make them myself.
Then when the Ali P & mango bake fest was drawing to an end on Friday night, we desperately sought excuses to keep the sugar high going, and I was delighted when she mumbled, “I’ve always wanted to try a good cheesecake swirl brownie recipe”. Well, look at that, I just happen to have a recipe!
Recipe adapted from the original smittenkitchen.com post, which was from Gourmet in 2007.
You will need
- 4 oz. unsalted butter (1 stick)
- 3 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped coarsely – I used extra-bitter Lindt couvertures because I really didn’t want the chocolate taste to be too sweet
- 5 oz. granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tbsp. instant coffee granules
- 1 oz. cocoa powder
- 3.5 oz. all-purpose flour
- 8 oz. (1 pkg) cream cheese at room temperature
- 3 oz. sugar
- 1 large egg yolk
- 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Putting it together
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Butter and flour a 8″ pan, and line the bottom with parchment paper
- Melt the butter and the chocolate carefully together in a microwave, or over a double boiler. Add in the coffee granules when it is warm
- Whisk in sugar, vanilla, eggs, cocoa powder, and flour one at a time, until everything is well combined
- Pour brownie mixture into the prepared pan, smooth out the top slightly, and set aside
- In an electric mixer with a paddle attachment, or with a handheld mixer, mix together all of the ingredients for the cheesecake, beating until it is smooth and the sugar’s fully incorporated and the mixture feels light and fluffy when scraping down with a spatula
- Drop the cheesecake batter in dollops on top of the brownie batter. Use a small paring knife or spatula, swirl in the cheesecake batter
- Bake in the oven for about 40 minutes, until the mixture is set enough that when you remove it, nothing jiggles like Jell-O
- Cool in tray. I put it in the fridge overnight, loosely covered, before slicing into squares.
The brownies are dense, chocolate-y, and chewy, and the cheesecake is just the right sweetness that it doesn’t overpower the brownies. We made quite a few adjustments to the brownies (they’re not the typical Ali P recipe), because the original recipe was just a little too sweet for me. I wanted something more like a dark chocolate brownie on the bottom, so the sugars were called down and I also intensified the chocolate flavour with a dash of coffee and some cocoa powder for good measure. Enjoy!