An Experiment: Baking The Perfect Brownie

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Can I find the perfect brownie recipe?

I poured over many brownies recipes and the science behind the ingredients. The first recipe I thought I would try is the famed, Cooks Illustrated version. I have to say they were good. They are slightly fudgy and just a little chewy & not cakey at all. They are not short on chocolaty flavor or richness and they are not overpowering. I would say that this is a good go to brownie….. but I’m looking for more. I want a brownie that holds a better shape, has more chew & has a little stronger flavor presence. So now, I will happily go forward with my experiment 🙂

My next step….

After much reading & thinking about the science behind different types of brownies, I came up with the Ingredients & proportions I wanted to start my experiment with. To my surprise all this reading paid off & this turned out to be a very good brownie, in my opinion anyway.

A + for Texture

One of our favorite things about this brownie is it’s texture. And as you know finding a recipe that provides the texture you want is like winning half the battle, so I am very excited! This brownie, has a compact density to the crumb so it holds it’s shape very well. At the same time it has a light, airy, melt in your mouth quality to it. This brownie is slightly chewy, slightly fudgy, has a crinkle top & is not cakey at all. It has a nice thickness & is easy to cut. It is similar to a cookie bar, in that it holds its shape very well & is not crumbly.

Flavor Findings

Now about the flavor. To me, the chocolate was a bit strong, but my husband loved the deep dark chocolate flavor. As I continue to tweak this recipe, I will work to temper the deep chocolate flavor. First, I will do this by increasing the amount of sugar & keeping everything else the same. After tweaking the sugar content, I may reduce the amount of chocolate in the recipe – but doing so only in small increments because I want to retain the dark chocolate quality of this brownie. So I am happy to use this brownie as the basis for my fun & tasty brownie experiment. I will share my findings in future posts. See below for the recipe.

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Dark Chocolate Crinkle Top Brownies

Ingredients

  • 5 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 TBSP Cocoa Powder
  • 4 TBSP Butter
  • 4 TBSP Vegetable Oil
  • 1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 flour

Directions

  • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on each end.
  • In a pan, melt the butter, then add the oil & chocolate. Stir until melted & smooth. Take off of the heat & add the cocoa powder & stir until smooth. Let cool to room temperature.
  • In a large bowl, use an electric mixer to beat the eggs and sugar on high speed until light and thick, about 5 minutes.
  • Beat in the vanilla extract.
  • Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula.
  • In a separate bowl thoroughly combine flour & salt Add the flour and salt, folding gently until well combined. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.
  • Bake for about 20 minutes – 30 minutes (depending on how fast your oven cooks) or until the brownies are slightly moist in the center.
  • Do not over bake or the brownies will become cakey.
  • Transfer the pan to a wire rack and cool completely before cutting into squares. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 days.

Cook’s Notes

This combination of oil & butter create the texture for this brownie so be careful of any alterations to these proportions. To reduce the chocolate flavor but retain the texture, you can remove some of the chocolate but not the cocoa powder. The 5 minute beating time produces the crinkle top, so don’t skimp on this if you want that beautiful crinkle top.

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