Saturday, October 13, 2007

Brownie heaven = Alice Medrich + my mistake

Quick question: If I handed you that bowl of brownie batter seen in the photo above, would you be tempted to eat it? Okay maybe not all of it, but perhaps just an innocent lick of the whisk?

Would you?

I would, in an instant. I guess that's the fun part about baking - sneaking in a nibble or two of that cookie dough before popping it into the oven, or a taste of the melted chocolate before adding your eggs and flour. It's quite a habit I suppose, but it's one that's hard to kick. Haha I'm happy to indulge in a decadent mixture of butter, sugar, eggs and flour. It sounds disgusting but hey, you'll know it once you've tried it.

So what of that brownie batter? I'm sure you're curious.... Especially if you're a huge brownie-lover like me. Let's just say that I've had a sinful afternoon of brownie fun.

One the ended up looking divine:

It all started with a simple chocolate craving. Been dreaming of perfect fudgy brownies recently and I just couldn't resist a frolick with my favourite ingredient - chocolate.

So I was checking out my recipe files and found this Alice Medrich Classic Bittersweet Brownie recipe I had saved sometime back.

I chanced upon it once at Veronica's Test Kitchen when Veronica did a brownie bake-off and used two recipes to compare. Then I doing my regular food blog hopping when I realised that Diddy of Wok With Me also tried out her recipe and loved it. The photos looked too delectable and I couldn't bear to resist such a temptation....

so I baked those brownies.

I'm mighty pleased with the outcome. I might have just reached brownie heaven. These brownies are the bomb... They are crisp on the outside and soft and fugdy on the inside.

So what's the secret? Okay, there's two. One's a complete mistake that's really my fault but I realised that it might have done more good than bad.

First of all, I thought the recipe called for 7 ounces (approx. 198g) of unsalted butter. I really am uncertain if it was my eyes or perhaps the person who posted up the recipe typed it wrongly. Well I usually cut and paste recipes into MS Word and save it into my computer. But when I checked back with Veronica's blog, it was stated clearly - 7 tbsp. (approx 98g) unsalted butter. I realised this only when I was scrutinising the recipe, trying to find out how come the brownies tasted so good!

Then I realised that I doubled the amount of butter the recipe had asked for. Imagine the hysterics that ensued! I was like... What?! So it's not supposed to taste this way? I was dumb-founded. Then I thought, okay, it does make sense because the brownies did have a light mouthfeel. It sort of melted in my mouth. It was reeeeeally good though. But now I know it was because of the large amount of butter. hahaha... so you see, the most sinful things always tastes the best!

So it might not have been a bad thing after all :) I'll try the proper version soon and tell you if there's a difference.

The other reason for the amazing brownie is the 'Steve Ritual' that Alice Medrich swears by. It involves baking the brownies at a very high temperature for about 20 minutes and then placing it in an ice-bath or in the freezer right after taking it out of the hot oven. I was a bit sceptical at first. But you know what? It worked like a charm. I was blown away.

You can see what I mean if you take a closer look at the brownies:

Moist and soft and slightly fudgy on the inside and the crisp shell that encases it, ahhhh.. that's a miracle.

Check out Brownie Secrets to get a low-down on how to crack that brownie code.

Looks like it paid off after all.... it doesn't hurt to make a mistake I guess? Sometimes, it just turns out perfect.

Anyhow, here's the correct recipe. But if you want to try out how it tastes with my mistake (of doubling the butter) then feel free to try it - haha but don't come running after me once the guilt sets in!


Classic Bittersweet brownies
By Alice Medrich

6 ½ ounces bittersweet chocolate (184g)
7 tbs. unsalted butter (98g)
1 cup sugar
2 cold eggs
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

8 inch square pan (lined with foil or parchment paper with 1” overhang)

Position rack on lower third of oven and preheat to 350°F

Combine chocolate, butter and sugar in a heatproof bowl and melt atop a skillet with barely simmering water. Stir with a wooden spoon. When chocolate and butter is all melted, and the mixture is hot enough that when you dip your finger into it you would want to pull it out fairly quickly. Remove bowl from skillet, stir in the vanilla and salt. Add the egg one at a time making sure the first egg is fully incorporated. Stir in the flour and beat until smooth and glossy and batter is pulling away from the pan. Mix in the nuts if using then pours the mixture into the prepared 8-inch square pan.

Bake for about 20 minutes. The brownie is ready when it is starting to pull away from the sides, the top is dry and when you stick a toothpick in the center, it is still slightly gooey. Let cool on a rack before slicing into 16 or 25 pieces.

*Note: Remember to perform the 'Steve Ritual' after taking it out from the oven for best results!


Anna said...

This is definitely one of my favorite brownie recipes of all time!

singairishgirl said...

Oooh...yummy! Me love borwnies. Who doesn't?

Judy @ No Fear Entertaining said...

Oh...I can't wait to try this. Should I double the butter like you did or just tr it the recipe way?

the baker said...

anna: and i can see why! i'm so gonna stick to this recipe from now on. it's a sure winner :) yummy!

singairishgirl: yea tell me about it. brownies drive me crazy :p

judy: haha hmm I think you can try the recipe straight away.. try the double-butter version only if you think the original isn't rich or fudgy enough. haha unless you don't mind the guilt!

singairishgirl said...

Hey, I so have to have to tell you this!! Cedele has a corner in Cold Storage Parkway!!! Whoopee!!! Great for us Central Easterners. ;) But no soups or sandwiches, only cakes and breads. I really wish they'll start a soup one in Parkway.

Anonymous said...

what does it mean by placing the brownie in an ice bath? put the whole square pan in an ice bath?? for how long?

the baker said...

singairishgirl: YES! i know! i found out about it this week! was at parkway having dinner and so pleased to find out that the cold storage revamp has finally completed. yea.. you should have seen the way i yelped when i saw cedele! :p yea i want their soups!

anon: yes yes.. an ice bath.. put it till it cools down completely...

singairishgirl said...

Hahaha, but I not there leh to hear you yelp otherwise I'll know it was you. I love the CS now... about time they spruce up the place. So much bigger. But the Borders, sigh, that's another story. December ok?! Madness! I really so so miss MPH. Did you see the new Dome? Very, very nice the decor. :) I love the half wall.

Jim said...

Gahhh. So much butter...and yet it must taste so very, very good. Just as I vow not to file any more dessert recipes, you post these...the food blogs are trying to sabotage my health regimen!

the baker said...

singairishgirl: yea, last time it was so cramped! ah a pity about MPH though... it's been there since forever. oh yes the new Dome looks fab. parkway has changed so much.. i love the korean & japanese mini-mart thingie :D the korean one sells canned cooked pupa! my sis almost psychoed me to buy it..

jim: DEFINITELY. oh what would we all do without butter! we won't have pastries, no croissants, no yummy pies, and no delish brownies... haha quit fighting against butter.. you know you want it. it's worth it. :) at the most, just run an extra mile on the treadmill!

singairishgirl said...

I tried the brownie today, did the steve ritual whatever. The taste is really nice but couldn't cut it as well as you did. Very soft and crumbly but rich and yummy. Wa quite fudgy too. I usually use cocoa but with chocolate it's so much yummier. But I used normal amount of butter not double like yours. Hahaha. Turned out alright.

veron said...

ha..ha...I've been using that 7 oz butter for a while until a reader pointed out the typo. Sorry for the mix-up. I'm about to embark on another round of brownie bingeing - gotta love them brownies.

Angel said...

which brand of choc u used & how many bars of it?

daphne said...

I agree with you! my never fail brownie recipe is very much like yours and everyone loves it! Keep the butter content..everyone needs abit of indulgence in a while! kekekee

ps-i will gladly lick that whisk...anyday!

Anonymous said...

May i noe where do u usually buy ur chocolate from? :)

Jim said...

I suppose you're right, baker. It's probably the endless layers of butter that made these tarts so good, too, come to think of it.

Ah well, at least it doesn't have any transfats...

Big Boys Oven said...

looks so fantastic! must be delicously indugled but only by yourself! :( lol

wei wei said...

I tried making the brownies today!!!! LOVE IT. i undercooked it a little, so the middle is really really gooey... but i know this recipe is a keeper!!! THANKS! =)

Hungry Hamster said...

The brownies looked AMAZING!! I love that you can actually see the moist/fudginess of the brownies!

I've been reading your blog for a long long while now! It's very enjoyable! Keep up the posting!

Aimée said...

Wow, those pictures sell those brownies pretty easily. They look so moist!! Bravo.

Astee said...


I tried this recipe but somehow mine came out too sweet. What sugar are you using and 1 cup = how many grams?

Sorry about the question but my hubby is a real brownie lover.. : P


onegrain said...

wow. great recipe! but just to long do you leave it in the freezer for the "steve ritual"?

Sadid said...

hi thanks for sharing the recipe, i just tried it...texture and appearance are wonderful. but i find it way too sweet....any idea how far i can reduce the sugar without affecting the texture?


Emma said...

Mmm... I see what you mean! Deliciously fudgy, must try! Though I might just stick to the original on the butter front... second batch I'll be sure to try your mistake!

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