Saturday, November 23, 2013

Baker's Corner: Chocolate Brownies

This is my first tryst at baking brownies. That surprises me because baking these American squidgy cake squares had always been hovering at the back of my mind. When it comes to brownies, I prefer the fudgy or chewy kind to the the cake-like brownies. I mean, if I wanted cake-like brownies, I might as well eat cake right?! ☺ Anyway, in the past few weeks, I spotted several brownie recipes on Foodgawker (most of them fit the description of the kind of brownies that I like) and I was struck with a sudden burst of inspiration. After scrutinizing dozens of recipes, I realized that I already had all the ingredients that were required to make a good brownie. The fact that I don't need to go to the grocery store to buy anything for a recipe post puts me in a jubilant mood! I chalked out my own measurements of ingredients based on the texture of brownies that I desired and the quantity required and came up with this recipe. I can't cite a single recipe as a source because this version is a mishmash of various recipes. 

Baking brownies is really easy let me tell you. You only need a handful of ingredients, you don't need a stand mixer (I managed fine with my wooden spoon) and the brownies get done within the hour from start to finish. The best part is that you can bake a batch of brownies and stash them away in an air-tight container till required. For long-term storage, you can individually wrap and stick them in the freezer. This makes brownies an ideal dessert for dinner parties, potlucks, picnics or lunch boxes. Me and hubs polished off a few brownies at home and I took the rest for my colleagues the next day. And even though I had kept them in the fridge overnight, they didn't dry out as I had feared. They were still moist and fudgy the next day (hallelujah!). Warm the brownies slightly if desired and serve with a glass of cold milk or a hot cup of coffee. If you need to jazz them up, just drizzle with chocolate syrup and/or raspberry sauce and serve with vanilla bean ice-cream or even better, transform into an ice-cream sandwich. Brownie makeover possibilities are endless!

The photos in this post have been updated because I was very disappointed with how the first set of pics turned out. These pics still  don't do justice to the finished product but at least you can somewhat appreciate the fudgy-gooey interior of the brownies. This fudgy interior combined with the crusty, crinkly top form a perfect contrast of textures.

Chocolate Brownies

Preparation time: 15-20 min
Baking time: 35 to 40 min
Makes: 12 medium-sized brownies
Recipe category: Dessert/American
Recipe level: Easy


1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
60 gm butter + 1 tsp extra for greasing the pan & parchment paper
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup fine-grain white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour, sifted
1 tbsp good quality cocoa powder, sifted
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt


1. Butter and line an 8x8 inch square pan with parchment paper leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. Grease the parchment paper with butter as well.

2. Preheat the oven to 325 deg F (~162 deg C). Measure out all the ingredients and keep aside. 

3. Combine the chocolate chips and butter in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is velvety smooth.  Or you can place the chocolate chips and butter is a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 min, giving the mixture a good stir every 30 sec to ensure the mixture doesn't burn and melts uniformly. 

4. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside. Add in the granulated sugar and brown sugar and mix with a wooden spoon. The mixture will look quite gritty at this stage but don't worry about it. 

3. Transfer the contents into a bigger bowl. Stir in the eggs one at a time, stirring continuously after the addition of each one. Add in the vanilla essence too. 

4. When the batter looks thick, shiny and well blended, add in the sifted flour, sifted cocoa powder and salt. Mix well to combine. Spread the mixture evenly in the lined pan. Tap the pan on the counter before popping in the oven. 

4. Bake for 35 to 40 min until the brownie leaves the sides of the pan, the surface is springy and a toothpick plunged into the centre emerges slightly moist with batter. Don't overbake. Let cool completely on a rack. You can also freeze the pan for 20 to 30 min in order to cool the brownies so you will get clean lines while cutting. 

5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownie to a cutting board. Cut into 12 squares. Use a sharp knife and wipe the knife with a damp towel after each cut. 

6. Serve the brownies at room temperature or slightly warmed just as they are or topped with chocolate syrup and vanilla bean ice-cream.

  • Use good quality chocolate, cocoa and butter for good quality brownies
  • For a variation in texture, you can add toasted chopped nuts (such as walnuts) into the batter before baking
  • This recipe produces brownies are sweet (as brownies should be!) so if you want to cut down the sweetness, you can skimp on the brown sugar. The granulated sugar is what gives the brownies its lovely crust so I would advise not altering that
  • You can also add in a handful of chocolate chips into the flour and give it a stir before mixing it into the batter described above. But keep in mind that this will enhance the sweetness of the brownies so you may have to compensate with the sugar or the chocolate chips added at the beginning
  • Adding 1-2 tsp of strong brewed coffee into the batter enhances the taste of the chocolate
  • You can swirl in condiments such as raspberry jam, marshmallow fluff, peanut butter or cream cheese. These should be spooned onto the batter poured in the prepared pan and then swirled around with a toothpick or skewer for that wow effect


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