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(Black Bean) Brownies! Take 2

11 May

IMG_1731Oh, how I love a good brownie. Let me count the ways…This will be my fifth blog post about brownies (sixth if you count blondies), and my second recipe for black bean brownies (see the first recipe here).

These super fudgy chocolate cookie squares contain a whole can (1 1/2 cups) of black beans. And guess what else? The brownies are made without butter, eggs, or flour. WHAT?! How can they possibly be good? They are not good, they are great, and here is why.  Continue reading

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Black Bean Brownies

30 Aug

I am always amazed when a brownie or cookie recipe calls for anything less than a stick of butter. Usually you see a shocking 2 sticks of butter!

As a pastry professional, I’ve learned to get over my fear of using generous amounts of butter. That’s just how the cookie crumbles in that world. But at home, I try to only use butter when I can really make it count. Less is more. I want to treat myself, but still look good, ya dig my flow?

Black beans are the new applesauce when it comes to baking. Their dark color blends in perfectly with the chocolate, and they’ve got protein and fiber that are not only good for you, but help retain the whole rich-dense brownie thing.

I live with 3 dudes who dove head first into these fudgy squares. Dudes are into black bean brownies. It especially helps to put walnut studs, extra chocolate chips, and some coarse salt on top.

I don’t have a food processor. I hope you have one because it makes life easier. If you have one, just give the beans a whir. If you are like me and do not have one, you can smash your beans with a fork or your fingers, or pour your beans into the melted chocolate/butter mixture and then use an immersion blender and get it as smooth as you can. It’s ok if there’s a little texture. It all gets baked up and masked by the chocolate anyway.

Note that I first tried to blend my beans in my blender, but the blender was too large for the small amount of beans and nothing was happening. Moral of the story, buy a food processor. I just like to take the hard way, mostly because I have no room for another kitchen gadget in my apartment.

Black Bean Brownies

makes 9-12 brownies

adapted from Joy the Baker

1/4 cup (half a stick/2 oz) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan

3 oz semisweet chocolate, chopped

2 oz of the darkest dark chocolate you can find (think 72% and up), chopped

2 large eggs + 1 egg white

1/4 cup black beans, rinsed, drained, and pureed in the food processor

1 cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 cup (155 g) all purpose flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

walnut chunks, chocolate chips, and coarse salt for sprinkling on top (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter an 8-inch (9-inch is ok, too) square baking pan and line it with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on all sides. Butter and flour the parchment paper as well.

In a small bowl, sift together all of the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Set aside while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water. Bring the water to a simmer. Place the butter and chocolates in a heat-proof bowl. Place the bowl over the simmering water and stir until the chocolates and butter are melted and combined. Carefully remove the bowl from the saucepan and let it cool for a minute or two.

Whisk the eggs and white into the chocolate/butter mixture, one at a time. Next whisk in the pureed beans, sugar, and vanilla extract.

Dump the sifted dry ingredients into the mix all at once and fold and incorporate everything together with a spatula. Once thoroughly combined, pour the batter into the prepared pan. Sprinkle with walnuts, chocolate chips, and coarse salt, if using.

Bake the brownies for about 25-28 minutes. Note that brownies are better slightly underdone than overdone. Right? Right. Let the brownies cool on a wire rack for 10-20 minutes, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment overhang. Slice and enjoy.

>Drool-Worthy: Alice Medrich’s Best Ever Cocoa Brownies

21 Apr

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So I am going to describe something and you are going to drool. Ready?

Browned butter cocoa brownies with walnuts, pecans, and chocolate chips mixed in, sprinkled with flaky sea salt, and baked until a cracked in all-the-right-places top develops. Fudgey, moist, rich perfection. The sinfully sweet balance of gooey and chewy, of salty savory dark and sweet. Oh, and this is a one-pot recipe. And you don’t have to clean the baking pan after baking.


How’d I do?

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter
Adapted from The Cilantropist, originally from Bon Appetit, February 2011, recipe by Alice Medrich

***My adaptions are in bold


1 1/4 stick unsalted butter (10 tbsps) cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups cocoa powder
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 teaspoons water

2 large eggs
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 cup pecans (I used a mix of pecans and walnuts), chopped
~1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Extra sea salt for sprinkling


Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and line the inside of an 8×8 square baking pan with aluminum foil, leaving 2-inch overhangs and pressing the foil tightly to the sides of the pan. (If you like spray the aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray, though I didn’t find this necessary.)

In a large saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat, stirring often. The butter will first melt, then foam, then form more clear bubbles. Once the butter has only bubbles (and no foam) and there are browned bits at the bottom of the pan, remove the butter from the heat. Stir in the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and 2 teaspoons water. Let the mixture sit for about 4-5 minutes to cool, then mix in the eggs one at a time, beating quickly after each addition. Once the chocolate mixture looks relatively smooth, mix in the flour, and then beat well for a few minutes. Mix in the chopped nuts, and transfer to the prepared pan, smoothing the top before baking.


Bake for about 30 minutes or more, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean – if there is still a tiny bit of moist batter at the very bottom that is ok. Remove the brownies from the oven and cool completely on a cooling rack. Once cool, remove the brownies from the pan using the aluminum foil overhangs; then pull the aluminum foil away from the brownies and cut them into 16 square pieces. Serve immediately or store in an airtight container.

>Nick Malgieri’s Supernatural Brownies

19 Nov

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Ok so I’m clumsy. You don’t even want to know how many of my shirts have food stains on them. Most of them aren’t even from baking/cooking, they are from my sloppy eating habits…I really need to start carrying my tide-to-go pen on me at all times. It’s really the only way.

Ok so I made a whole pan of brownies. There was no way that I wasn’t going to nibble on one hot out of the oven, how could anyone possibly wait until they are cool?


Ok so this was a very crazy week and I began many a morning with a comforting cappuccino and ended many nights chowing down on chocolate covered cranberries. That’s just how it goes.

Chocolate
Chocolate + Butter
Melted Chocolate + Butter

A week ago I spent the afternoon procrastinating studying “diseases of the liver.” I was sitting at a cafe looking up brownie recipes. All I have wanted this entire week was to make brownies. Uber-rich, uber-buttery, uber-fudgey brownies. A week later and I’ve finally done it. I’ve made the brownies that I have been dreaming about for 7 days.

Special thanks to Kiri for recommending this recipe to me…

Nick Malgieri’s Supernatural Brownies

recipe from Saveur magazine

makes 24 brownies

16 tablespoons butter
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut in 1/4″ pieces
4 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup dark brown sugar, packed
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 cup flour

1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 9 x 13″ pan with butter and line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment. Set pan aside.

2. Pour enough water into a 4 quart saucepan that it reaches a depth of 1″. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low. Combine butter and chocolate in a medium bowl; set bowl over saucepan (do not let the bottom of the bowl directly touch the water). Cook, stirring until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

3. Whisk together eggs in a large bowl. Add sugars, vanilla, and salt. Stir in chocolate-butter mixture. Fold in the flour. Pour into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.

>Blondies with Chocolate, Dates, and Shredded Coconut

30 Jan

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When it comes to food, I have no self control. I want I want I want. And then I want some more.

I’ve got a weak spot for uber rich desserts. The richer the better. Sometimes I hear people talk about a dessert, claiming it is so rich that they can only have a few bites. I could probably eat a whopping platter of the stuff.

Did you know that cats/felines cannot detect “sweet?” Yep, that’s right. They do not have the T1R2 taste receptor that is one of the components of sweet. No wonder cats and I don’t click (just kidding…maybe).

Today I made some sweet blondies for my favorite blondie’s birthday. I added a mixture of chocolate chips, shredded coconut, and chopped dates to the batter. The dates and chocolate chips packed quite the sweet punch, and (gasp) I may have erred on the side of too sweet. If I just add a touch less sugar next time, no one would know, and the natural sweetness of the dates could really shine.

You ask me, “What is the difference between a blondie and a brownie?” According to cakespy,

Generally, a blondie is accepted as a type of brownie–but not so much a brownie flavor, more like an identical cousin. An identical, albino cousin. Generally, it uses vanilla or butterscotch base instead of chocolate, and thus has a lighter hue which gives it its name. In our opinion, the finest blondies will have a texture (though not taste) halfway between a cakey and a fudgy brownie: that is to say, delightfully chewy, rich, and dense.”

These blondies are super easy to throw together and you can choose whatever add-ins suit your fancy. Bourbon, walnut, and chocolate is another favorite combination of mine (just add an extra tablespoon of flour to soak up some of the bourbon). I must confess, however, that I made a minor mistake in the process. I was supposed to melt the butter but intsead I just used softened butter and creamed it together with the brown sugar. I’m assuming that my batch came out more like a cookie than a fudgey cakey texture, but either way these blondies are bomb!

Oh, and I may have purposely under-baked these, just a tad.

Fresh and hot out of the oven, the melty oozing chocolate just kills me.

Blondies with Chocolate, Dates, and Shredded Coconut
adapted from SmittenKitchen

1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar NOTE: If using dates, I might cut my brown sugar down by a few tablespoons.
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
A pinch of salt
1 cup flour

3/4 or 1 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup shredded coconut
3/4 to 1 cup chopped dates

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 by 8 inch baking pan.
2. Melt the butter and let cool slightly. Mix it with the brown sugar until smooth.
3. Add the egg, then the vanilla and salt.
4. Stir in the flour.
5. Add in the chocolate, coconut, and dates or any additions of your choice.
6. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until set in the middle (Although a tad gooey is a-okay in my book).

>Brownie Pudding Amazingness!

5 Sep

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“Close your eyes the next time you eat a piece of chocolate cake; did it really taste like chocolate or did the fudgey-looking icing just trick you into thinking it would taste like chocolate? The best chocolate desserts have a depth of flavor that hits you in a few ways—both sweet and bitter, with a winey complexity—and it’s my goal to bring out that complexity to reveal the true essence of chocolate…”

–Ina Garten

Not quite a brownie, not quite a pudding, not quite a soufflé—just a beautifully rich and decadent chocolate filled dessert!

The top of this treat is thin and crisp, but once you stick your fork in, oozing molten chocolate amazingness seeps out!


Check out the lovely mound of sifted cocoa powder/flour!



Everything that I have made from Ina Garten’s Back To Basics cookbook has turned out exquisite. She really focuses on cooking with ingredients that bring out the essence of the natural flavor in food. It is all about taking ordinary, on-hand ingredients and cooking or pairing them in a way that really brings out the taste! She is very aware of weaving her menus together and adding that extra “umph” to her dishes by finishing them off with a sprinkle of course sea salt, a splash of lemon juice, or a gorgeous herb…!

I made this brownie pudding dessert as a gift for my friend Natasha’s going away party. She is leaving to study in Scotland for the YEAR! Natasha is the QUEEN of chocolate/dessert/sweets, so I saw this as a prime opportunity to make a rich dessert to send her off! I just hope the Scots will be able to accommodate her sweet tooth!

Ina bakes her brownie pudding in an oval shaped dish, however the co-op where I live only had a rectangular shape pan. Despite the change from circular to square, this baby came out just perfect!


This dessert is baked in a water bath. A water bath is typically used when baking delicate foods—especially dairy and egg-based custards, soufflés and cheesecakes—as they can curdle and overcook very easily. A water bath acts as a way to insulate whatever you are cooking to maintain a smooth and even texture. This way, the oven will cook the center of the cake/custard/etc. without overcooking the sides. Genius!

Warning: Do not leave me alone with a big pan of chocolate dessert, or I might just eat it all and you will have to retrieve me from the doctor for having an overdose of goodness! But seriously, I have very little self-control these days…


Brownie Pudding
Amazingness
Adapted from Ina Garten’s Back to Basics

Ingredients

½ lb. (2 sticks) unsalted butter

4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

¾ cup good cocoa powder

½ cup all-purpose flour

seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean

Optional: 1 Tablespoon of framboise liqueur (or any liqueur of your choice; espresso would be great, too!)

1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9x12x2 inch) oval baking dish (I used a 9x13x2 inch rectangular and it came out great!)
2. Melt the butter and set aside to cool.
3. Beat the eggs and sugar until very thick and light yellow (Ina uses an electric mixer with paddle attachment and beats for 5-10 minutes, but I utilized my super arm strength and used a hand whisk instead!).
4. Sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.
5. When the egg/sugar mixture is ready, add in the vanilla bean seeds, the liqueur (if using), and the cocoa powder/flour mixture. Mix until just combined.
6. Slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.
7. Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the sides of the dish.
8. Bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out ¾ clean. The center will appear very under-baked.
9. Allow to cool and serve with sifted powdered sugar, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream, raspberries, or on its own. Mmmmmmmmmmmm!