Wednesday, September 19, 2007
I have been going brownie crazy over the past couple of months! I just love baking them, and most importantly, I love eating them. Very few people can say no to a brownie. Of course, brownies are definitely NOT in keeping with my new semi-healthy family eating plan. Full of chocolate, butter, eggs and sugar, brownies are some of the most decadent treats imaginable.
My general brownie-coping strategy has been such. I'll bake a batch, and share some small fresh-from-the-oven slices with my family over coffee. The remainder will either be donated to the staffroom at work, or stashed in my freezer for a metaphorical rainy day. Brownies freeze very well, and freezing them prevent them from being completely devoured in one go. (Very possible).
Here are the brownies I have been baking these past couple of months. (Click here for my other brownie-related posts.)
These brownies contain no butter or eggs, but rely on yogurt for moisture and leavening. I chose them from The Ultimate Brownie Book, thinking they would be low in fat and a good healthy treat. (I try to avoid those artificially "low fat" brownies from healthy magazines, which contain lite margarine, lekvar and other spooky ingredients). I was wrong. They were totally minging and feral! They were bizarrely chewy, dense, hard and very dark. I am loath to throw food out, but these had to go.
These babies, also from The Ultimate Brownie Book, were a vast improvement. They are regular brownies, with part of the melted chocolate replaced by Ibarra brand Mexican hot chocolate. The chocolate comes in discs, and is a mixture of cocoa, sugar, spices, and cocoa nibs.
I received this hot chocolate as a gift from the lovely Lisa in America. Thank-you Lisa! Luckily, they are now available at specialty shops in Australia, so I can feed my Mexican chocolate fix at any time. You simply melt a few rounds of Ibarra with some regular dark chocolate, and add it to the brownie mixture. It adds a wonderful spice and aroma to the finished product.
These were perhaps my favourite brownies. Soft within, crunchy on the outside, delicately flavoured. Muy bueno.
White Chocolate and Macadamia Brownies
These brownies only containe white chocolate, and no cocoa, so I think these techinically count as blondies. But who am I to argue with Nigella? These are from her fab baking book, How to be a Domestic Goddess. The white chocolate in question is melted and folded into the batter - hardly enough! I threw in a good handful of large Lindt hexagonal white chocolate chips for that wonderful white choc-macadamia combo. (Have you ever had a white chocolate and macadamia cookie from Mrs. Fields? You should.) The batter is a lovely golden colour, with a warm buttery vanilla scent. I dubbed them Moon Brownies, because we ate them whilst watching the recent lunar eclipse.
Moon brownies... what a time to be alive.
As you can see, some of the brownies (from the centre of the pan) were very, very fudgy. If you have the patience, I'd recommend leaving the whole baked brownie to set overnight in the fridge before slicing it. Don't bake it for longer, or the edges will go dry and feral! I obviously didn't have the patience, and cut the well-cooked edge pieces away to eat straight out of the oven, before stashing the rest in the fridge. Because the inner pieces are so incredibly fudgy, they taste great frozen. Ooh yeah.
Finally, we have the brownies in the picture at the top of this post. Chestnut brownies, (again from The Ultimate Brownie Book), contain a tin of unsweetened chestnut purée, which gives them a densely grainy-yet-smooth texture, rather like a chestnut. Additionally, the purée seems to ensure that the entire brownie is moist, right from the edges to the centre. Fab. I iced them with a vanilla drizzle icing - a mixture of milk, icing sugar and vanilla extract. They don't exactly need extra sweetness, but the white drizzle did lift the apperance of the brownies and made them more appealing. (As if you'd need extra encouragement!)