Tuesday, May 26, 2009

TWD: Chipster-Topped Brownies


This was my week to pick our Dorie recipe!

I have to say I was very excited. The instant I received the email telling me my week was approaching, I grabbed the book and sat down with my husband. It didn't take us long to pick a recipe once we stumbled upon this brownie recipe. You see my husband has a weakness for chocolate chip cookies and an even bigger weakness for brownies.

I started getting a little nervous when the reviews from bakers who bake our recipes way in advance starting coming in about the cooking time being off and getting gooey middles. I took the advice of one baker who suggested baking the brownie layer for 15 minutes while mixing the cookie layer. It definitely helped to bake the brownie layer first. In the end, my total baking time was 60 minutes and an additional 15 for the brownie layer. I did placed some foil over the top for the last 15 minutes so my cookie layer didn't burn. I also didn't try to spread the cookie layer out, I just let it spread on its own while it baked.

At first I was slightly disappointed because my chocolate chips seemed to sink into my brownie layer leaving me with a brownie with a golden colored top. My disappointment didn't last long once I tasted them. Amazing! I personally still would have preferred more of a cookie layer but these were still great!

Thanks to all who baked with me this week!

Chipster-Topped Brownies
Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From my Home to Yours


For the Brownie Layer:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped

For the Cookie Layer:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store bought chocolate chip

Getting Ready
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan, line it with wax paper or parchment paper and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To Make the Brownie Batter:
Put both chocolates and the butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, heat just until the ingredients are melted, shiny and smooth. If the mixture get too hot, the butter will separate from the chocolates. Remove the bowl from the heat.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale, thick and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add flour, mixing only until it disappears into the batter. Using the spatula, fold in the walnuts, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.

To Make the Cookie Dough:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.

Working with the stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minutes after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Still on low, mix in the chopped chocolate. Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and, using a spatula and a light touch, spread it evenly over the batter.

Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until the cookie top is deep gold brown and firm and a thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

When the brownies are completely cook, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn the right side up onto a cutting board. Cut into bars about 2 inches x 1 inch. (You can cut larger bars if you're serving cookie lovers with Texas-size appetites.)

Makes 24 servings.

Serving: Ice cream, whipped cream and creme fraiche are all great accompaniments, as is a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Storing: Wrapped well or packed in an airtight container, the bars can be kept at room temperature for 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Playing Around: The cookie top can be varied easily be swapping peanut butter, butterscotch or white chocolate chips for the chopped chocolate. You could even use all of them.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

TWD: Fresh Mango Bread

I had a hard time motivating myself to make this week's recipe. It just didn't seem to appeal to me and I really don't know why.

The hardest part was peeling and coring the mangos. I am very thankful for my mango corer! My mangos had great color and weren't green and yet were still a bit green underneath. I wish I had double peeled them and got rid of some of the tougher skin. I bought 2 mangos for fear I wouldn't have 2 cups with just one. I ended up with about 3 1/2 cups. I added the extra mango just for the fun of it. I skipped the raisins and the lime zest.

I made the full recipe and actually ended up with a loaf of bread and 12 muffins! My husband loved it and took the bread to his rehearsal (as usual!).

The bread reminded me of a spice cake. The texture and flavor of the bread actually reminded me of a rhubarb cake that my mom made when I was little and I loved it. I'm glad I made the bread but I think I will stick with my mom's rhubarb cake (the rhubarb is easier to cut!)

This week's hostess was Kelly of Baking with the Boys. You can find the recipe on her blog.

PS. Come back next week for Chipster-Topped Brownies and I'm next week's hostess!!!!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

TWD: Tiramisu Cake

I have to say that I was not excited for this week's recipe. Tiramisu is just not my dessert of choice. You must be asking yourself how anyone could not like tiramisu. Well, someone who doesn't like coffee, that's who! I love the aroma of coffee (which is good, since J loves coffee!) but I just never developed a taste for it.

I really struggled with whether or not to make this cake. I have missed the past two weeks due to life in general. So, missing this week would not have gone over very well. J and I have also been trying really hard to eat healthier and shed some unwanted pounds. I thought I had come up with a master plan to make the cake and send it away until...

I dropped an egg shell piece into the moving mixer.

It was an accident. J scolded me by saying isn't that why you are supposed to break it into a bowl first. Yes, that it true. However, I'm sure I probably haven't learned my lesson either!

In the end I made the whole cake intending to cut a little piece off for me sans the coffee. I remembered to cut the bottom corner but not the top. I give you my tiny piece of tiramisu cake without the coffee. It was good. I can honestly say I don't feel like I'm missing out by not eating anymore.

J loved it and wished it had more coffee. I just made a pot of regular coffee instead of the espresso coffee extract and liquor. I also made it in a square pan because I was too lazy to deal with 2 round cake pans.

Despite my procrastination, I am glad I made the cake!

For the recipe, please visit this week's hostess, Megan of My Baking Adventures