Tuesday, August 12, 2008

TWD Rewind: French Brownies

This week on Tuesdays with Dorie, baking bloggers will make Blueberry Sour Cream Ice Cream, a delectable treat chosen by Dolores of Chronicles in Culinary Curiousity. Options were given to make ice cream with or without a machine, or to select a past recipe.

As much as I love ice cream, the prospect of running to the freezer to stir frozen custard every twenty or so minutes as I do not own an ice cream machine and will not be purchasing one anytime soon made me turn to Ms Greenspan's French Chocolate Brownies instead.

How could something so American be French? Well, the story goes that Ms Greenspan was making fondant for dessert. She had the flash of inspiration to throw in some flambeed raisins to the batter, and came up with something that her French guests happily mistook for brownies.

This is my second sojourn in fondant cakes. The first incarnation on this blog appeared last April's fools as the gooey chocolate lava cake also called a fondant au chocolat:

Looking at the fondant au chocolat above, you can just imagine how intensely creamy this would be when baked as a brownie.

The crisp exterior crackles when cut and reveals an exquisitely fudgy centre:

As for the flambeed raisins and nuts? I skipped them. I'm a bit of a brownie purist and think that large chunks of nuts, cream cheese, marshmallows and other frills are excessive to the point of being gaudy. Rather than extending my ingredients list, I would rather upgrade quality. Use Callebaut chocolate, please, and leave the ubiquitous Baker's brand to gather dust on grocery shelves..

  • Thanks, Dolores, for hosting this week's event. Please excuse that I am choosing a past recipe.
  • Hardcore brownie traditionalists will specify unsweetened chocolate only - a stipulation that I find results in a one-dimensional taste and far too limiting.
  • A thin, crackly crust can be achieved by not beating the eggs.
  • Stir the brownie batter as little as possible for a fudgy result.
  • Brownies are always better slightly underbaked. Take it out when there a tester inserted into the centre pulls out with lots of moist crumbs. If it pulls out with batter on it, then a little more baking is needed.
  • The higher the cocoa percentage, the quicker the brownie will bake.
  • Brownie failed to set? Don't worry - you are on your way to the fudgiest bars ever. Cool the pan to room temperature, cover with foil or Saran, then pop in the fridge for a few hours to overnight.


Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A wonderful cake! I love anything with chocolate!



Sarah said...

Yummy! I am with you, brownies don't need add-ins and the raisins in this recipe sort of freak me out...great job!

Anne said...

Great notes on the brownies, Julius. Your cake below is amazing too! Good luck with school!

Di said...

Great tips, as always. I'll have to check out some of those other recipes--brownies are my favorite dessert.

Dolores said...

I'm with you. Bring on the Callebaut and skip the add-ins. No offense taken at your choice of a roll-back recipe; I'm just glad you're back. :)

steph- whisk/spoon said...

ohhh....those baked up wonderfully!

The DeL Sisters said...

Great choice! I loved those!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I love these too, just looking at yours is making me want to get baking!

Julie said...

Ooh, yum--these look tasty! And I agree--I like using both unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate together when I bake brownies!

Pamela said...

The brownie was a good choice and one that I am hoping to try out in the near future.

Jules Someone said...

Those look really really yummy. Nice job!

Sharon said...

Wow! very nice.

Beth said...

Um, is it inappropriate to ask you to marry me and bake for me? I'm just sayin'...

Your blog is fantastic! Amazing pictures and very eloquent.

Jaime said...

mmm these look so good!

i actually found the ice cream making by hand to be not so different from the brioche making ;) just return to it every 30 min