Posted in baking

Fudgy brownies

There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are obsessed with dichotomies and non-linguists those who think brownies should be fudgy, and those who think brownies should be cakelike.  I am of the former kind.  Unfortunately, most “best” brownie recipes you find proclaim themselves to be a little of both, which I suppose is a weak attempt at pleasing both kinds of people.  To me it just sounds like a recipe for a mediocre brownie.  Now, like limoncello, even mediocre brownies are pretty darn good, but these are called cooking adventures for a reason.  Shoot high, and, as one of my best ballet teachers once told me, “If you’re wrong, be gloriously wrong.”  And snap a picture of it, put it on the internet, and call it an adventure.  So, I’m trying to convert a meh brownie recipe into a gloriously fudgy one, despite having basically no experience with brownie recipes that aren’t on the back of the Betty Crocker brownie mix box.

The basis for this recipe is the one on joyofcooking.com, and some of the changes I’m implementing are based on the tips on Baking 911.  The tips are: for fudgier brownies, use less flour and real chocolate instead of cocoa powder.  Makes sense. Less dry stuff = moister brownies.  Also, leaveners like baking powder and baking soda make them rise, which makes them less dense.

I also got the idea to replace one of the eggs in the recipe with two egg yolks.  I figured egg whites 1) coagulate at a higher temperature, and so come out drier and 2) have less fat than egg yolks, so if I tip the scale towards the yolks a little bit, I may come out with a moister, more decadent brownie.  I’ve never seen this in a brownie recipe, so there may be some reason why it’s a bad idea, but I suppose we’ll find out soon enough.

Chili flavored chocolate is delicious, and I'm not even crazy about spicy food.
Chili flavored chocolate is delicious, and I'm not even crazy about spicy food.

I got several kinds of chocolate – a mix of light and dark, cheap and expensive.  I got one bar that has a chili flavor to it, but I had backups in case it was too strong.  It’s not. I considered using the backups anyway so I could eat the chili one out of hand, but I somehow managed to convince myself to save it for the brownies.  I wonder if anyone will notice the kick.

The recipe comes out to this:

200g chocolate

113 g (1 stick) butter

200g sugar

1 tsp vanilla

1 egg

2 egg yolks

80 g flour (all-purpose is recommended; I used half bread and half cake)

1/4 tsp salt

a tablespoon or so of milk (it was looking too dry)

Brownies are a little unusual in the way they’re mixed.  The chocolate is melted with the butter – fair enough, it has to be incorporated somehow.  Then you have this sort of hot mixture that you’re supposed to put eggs into, so I add the other ingredients first – except the flour.  Flour goes in last, then everything gets mixed just enough, don’t worry about the lumps, and then, well in my case it looked a little dry so I added a little milk.  Then bake for 30 minutes at 350F.

My mom taught me to dust my brownies with powdered sugar. Yum.
My mom taught me to dust my brownies with powdered sugar. Yum.

I took these to a potluck and they were a hit, but I have to say that the recipe isn’t quite there yet.  It’s plenty fudgy!  But the taste was a little off, I don’t know if it’s because I had so much egg yolk or because I used a variety of chocolate, some of which are darker than I normally like.  I thought it would all even out, but I think next time I’ll go with something I’d eat by itself just to be sure.  As for the chili chocolate, next time I’ll either use exclusively that kind or just save that for myself, because only one person actually noticed that little bit of spiciness (and it wasn’t me).

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