Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Chewy Brownies from Cooks Illustrated

I am not a snob when it comes to brownies and I will happily eat them as long as they fulfil two criteria - they must be super chocolatey (not a real word, I checked) and they must not be too sweet. These chewy brownies qualify on both counts and they are super easy to make. I first made them to go in the Frozen Brownie Sundae and then once more because I wanted to eat more brownies. One small change on my part was on the type of chocolate used, not because of any personal preference but more because of what is available here in Dubai. It is very difficult to find good affordable baking chocolate so I usually stick to Lindt as it is good quality and reasonably priced.

Recipe Source - Cook's Illustrated via Brown Eyed Baker (My changes in red)

Ingredients - Makes one 9x13 pan

1/3 Cup Dutch-processed cocoa (used regular cocoa)
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional) (used instant coffee)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (used Lindt 80% dark chocolate)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil (used sunflower oil)
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces (used semi sweet chocolate
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.
Happy Eating!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Frozen Brownie Sundae Cake

Summer is here in full force and we need lots of ice cream to cool down. I made this brownie sundae for dessert at our monthly potluck. The recipe for the brownie and sauce is amazing and I loved both the elements. Instead of making the recipe as given I made it as a cake in a spring form pan. I also made mini sundaes which are perfect to serve at a dinner party.

Recipe Source - Brown Eyed Baker

One 9 inch round layer of Brownies (I used half of this recipe)
1/2 Litre Vanilla Ice Cream (Keep outside for 5 minutes before using)
1/2 Litre Strawberry Ice Cream (Keep outside for 5 minutes before using)
1/2 Cup Salted Peanuts (Chopped)
Chocolate Sauce for topping (Recipe below)
Maraschino Cherries for Decorating
One 9 inch spring form pan

For The Chocolate Sauce
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Evaporated Milk or Heavy Cream
1/3 Cup Semi sweet Chocolate Chips
1/4 Cup Unsalted Butter
1/2 Tsp Vanilla Essence

1. Line the spring form pan with plastic wrap and place the brownie layer inside.
2. Put the vanilla ice cream in an even layer and place in freezer till ice cream is firm.
3. Remove from fridge and put the strawberry ice cream. Keep in freezer till ice cream is firm (covered, at least 2 hours)
4. Prepare the Sauce - Add all ingredients except vanilla to a small saucepan and bring to boil over medium high heat. Cook for 8 minutes, stirring constantly till mixture becomes thick. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
5. Cool the sauce for 30 minutes.
6. Remove the cake from the freezer and pour the sauce over the ice cream.
7. Top with chopped peanuts and decorate with the cherries. Cover with plastic wrap and return to freezer until ready to serve.
8. Let it sit at room temperature for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Happy Eating!!

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Carrot Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

If you are the type of person who loves a good chunky carrot cake with lots of icing, then you have come to the right place. This carrot cake is full of flavour with the most dreamy icing ever. After assembling the cake you need to chill it in the fridge for sometime and then you get this amazing cake.

The recipe on Brown Eyed Baker calls for 3 round pans but next time I would prefer going with two pans as the layers are quite thin and difficult to handle. I have made this previously in a 9X13 inch pan and it was equally good with a think layer of frosting on top.

Recipe Source - Brown Eyed Baker


For The Cake
2 cups All-purpose flour
2 Tsp Baking Powder
2 Tsp Baking Soda
2 Tsp Ground Cinnamon
1 Tsp Ground Cloves
1 Tsp Ground Nutmeg
3/4 Tsp Salt
3 Cups Grated Carrots (Approx. 4 Carrots)
1 Cup Coarsely Chopped Walnuts (Toasted)
1 Cup Sweetened Shredded Coconut
2 Cups Granulated Sugar
1 Cup Sunflower Oil (Or any neutral tasting oil)
4 Eggs

For the Frosting
226 Gms (8 ounces) Cream Cheese (At room temperature)
113 Gms (4 Ounces) Unsalted Butter (At room temperature)
300 Gms  Powdered Sugar
1 Tsp Vanilla Essence

Bake The Cake
1. Preheat oven to 325 degree F (162 degree Celsius). Grease two 9 inch baking pans and line with baking paper.
2. In a medium bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda, ground cinnamon, ground cloves, ground nutmeg and salt. Whisk to combine well.
3. In another bowl mix together the grated carrots, coconut and walnuts.
4. Beat the sugar and oil till smooth. Add the eggs one at a time and mix well.
5. Slowly add the flour mixture and mix until just combined.
6. Fold in the carrot mixture.
7. Divide the batter equally among the two pans and bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
8. Cool cakes in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and remove the baking paper. Cool on a wire rack with right side up till cake comes to room temperature. (Cooled cake can be wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen or kept in fridge if not using immediately).

Make the Frosting
1. Beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth. Add the powdered sugar and beat till frosting is fluffy and smooth. Add in the vanilla and beat till combined.

Assemble The Cake
1. Place one cake layer on a cake board and spread half the frosting on top.
2. Place the second layer and frost completely with remaining icing.
3. Cover and refrigerate for an hour before serving.

Happy Eating!!