Monday, April 11, 2011

Chewy Brownies by McJane

Chewy Brownies from Cook's Illustrated

A discussion with McJane is what started the Brownie Bake-off.  About a year ago, McJane and I traded messages about how to make homemade brownies as good as a box mix.  This is one of the options she tried.  Last week I tried them, too, but they got beaten, hands down, by Tom's boxed version!

Hi Barbara

I was on the hunt again after your email about why brownies turn out cakey, and I came across a bit about it online in Cooks Illustrated. Turns out I'm not the only one who cannot reproduce the chewiness of a boxed mix. Sounds like you are correct about the fat ratio, and they posted a recipe so ... it is in the oven now! I did not alter it at all except I did not put in any instant espresso (instant? perish the thought!). I am including what I cut and pasted from it and will let you know how it goes. If I like it, I will try it again with Splenda to see how that affects the texture.



♦ For the chewiest texture, it’s important to cool brownies completely before cutting.

♦ If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them from the pan to a wire rack (otherwise, the heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking).

Chewy Brownies
Yield: 24 brownies

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.

4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

(From Cook’s Illustrated, March - April 2010 issue)

These brownies are definitely chewy, which is a positive, but they are more cakey than some of the others in the Brownie Bake-off.  

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