Brownies return

Few days ago a friend of mine left for US for few months. We usually have breakfast/coffee/ chats together and he was always complaining about the brownies he was buying at the store.

And since he discovered my blog, every morning I heard the same question – when are you going to bake brownies and bring some for breakfast?????

Well, finally before he left, I managed to cook some of my favourite brownies. Now the new question is – when are you going to make a deal with the store, so we can buy the brownies everyday?

For this I used Thomas Keller’s recipe featured in Ad-hoc at Home which always works like a charm, the only downside to it is that you become addicted to them. Just side story about this book – I LOVE IT. Besides the fact that is a special book for me, as I got it as a gift from my friends at my PhD defense, the recipes presented in this book are simply amazing. The food is so good, somehow it has a home feel to it, there are so many wonderful flavours married in these dishes that you can’t stop cooking 🙂

brownies

makes 12 pieces

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
6 oz 61 to 64% chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces ( about 1 1/2 cups)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350F. We use a 9-inch square silicone mold, because it keeps the edges from overcooking; if you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and flour it. Set aside.

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside

Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.

In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.

Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving.

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Pancakes a la Jamie Oliver

What’s the best breakfast you can have on a lazy Sunday?

My vote goes for pancakes with red summer fruits and a wee bit of honey. My parents sent me some honey that they extracted from their beehives not long ago and on top of this, on Friday I bought some red summer berries , so the only things missing to pull together a great lazy sunday breakfast, were the pancakes.


While growing up, my mum was always making us some thin french-style pancakes, however lately I discovered those fluffy and thick american babies a la Jamie Oliver. On Sunday I decided to go for the latter, they seemed a bit more fulfilling and more proper for a lazy weekend.


pancakes

3 large eggs

115 g flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

140 ml milk

a pinch of salt

1 tablespoon sugar

vanilla

chocolate chips, strawberries or red currants

Start by separating the eggs. Beat the egg white until they form stiff peaks. Meanwhile mix well the egg yolks with the sugar, milk, flour, salt, vanilla and baking powder, until you obtain a smooth thick batter. Fold gently the egg whites into the batter.
Heat a non-stick pan on a medium heat. Add a drop of oil to the pan and then pour some of the batter into the pan. Fry for 2-3 minutes or until the pancakes look golden and firm. Sprinkle fruits or chocolate chips on the uncooked side, gently lower them into the batter with a spatula and flip the pancake over. Continue frying until both sides are golden.

Baking madness

 

I am in baking mode, if I have few hours in my hands I start cooking. I am kind of going bananas…..or nuts. Same idea, one great tasty result- BANANA BREAD.

I love the banana bread, especially for breakfast, with a wee bit of chocolate on top of it. Well, I like to add some chocolate inside of it too, but there is no such thing as too much chocolate.

banana bread (adapted from Jamie Oliver)

115 grams walnuts 

245 grams flour

150 grams sugar

1 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2  eggs

113 grams butter

3 ripe large bananas

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts.On a separate bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined . (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread – Jamie says) Pour the batter into a pan lined with baking paper. Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan.