Tag Archive | "chocolate"

Nutella Bomb Brownies


I’m going to try this or this blog will never be updated ever again: tapping away on the iPad (mini, which is perfect for typing with my small hands) at 2am in the morning with what might turn out to be… a post! I already finished drafting the recipe on Evernote earlier, as a gift to myself instead of brownies, after clearing the dining table and cleaning the kitchen. This is the kind of busy I’m in now. I’ve never stopped cooking or baking, but producing content for the site is a different story altogether. And what about photos taken with the DLSR, you ask? I could take one tomorrow IF there’s any left by the time I get around to it. For now, iPhone 4S photos would do. Please bear with me as I return from my writing slumber.

Now these brownies.

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Do we need another one of these recipes, really? For Nutella Day, why not? It is, after all, the sweet and equally evil equivalent of bacon. I picked a drier and fluffier brownie from Alice Medrich’s book as the carrier of the gooey fudge “bombs” of Nutella, making sure to decrease the amount of sugar to accommodate the spread’s sweetness.

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The resulting brownie has pockets of Nutella in every bite.

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While the “Nutella bombs” were just enough for me, my partner still needed an extra kick and he smeared more of it on top before devouring. I could only imagine how sweet that was. But then again, he’s our resident Nutella monster, known to empty a jar if left unsupervised. [Hi, love, I outed you.]

We did agree on one thing the other evening: to top the brownies with amarena cherry and salted caramel gelato from Bella Gelateria (our favorite).

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I’ve included instructions for adjusting the Nutella content, as well as baking instructions when using a turbo broiler. The latter is a recent consideration after discovering that some friends in Manila use it.

Nutella Bomb Brownies

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
8 tablespoons / 4 ounces / 1 stick unsalted butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons / 2.75 ounces unbleached all purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3 large eggs
1 cup / 7.5 ounces white granulated sugar **
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/4 cup / 4 tablespoons Nutella **

** Guide to adjusting the Nutella and sugar content: you can add more Nutella but make sure to decrease the sugar. I suggest subtracting a tablespoon of sugar for every tablespoon of Nutella added. I wouldn’t add more than 7 tablespoons of Nutella to this recipe, though.

Preparation

Line an 8-inch square metal baking pan with aluminum foil on the bottom and sides (a single sheet cut from a regular sized roll would do).

Preheat oven to 350F, position rack in the lower middle section of the oven. [For convection oven or turbo broiler: preheat to 335F]

Melt butter and chocolate in a heatproof glass bowl set over a pan with simmering water. Stir until smooth and free of clumps. Remove bowl from the water and set on the counter to cool at room temperature.

Whisk flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl using a fork or a whisk.

Beat eggs, sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer or a regular mixing bowl (if using a handheld mixer) on high for 2 minutes (longer with a handheld mixer), or until the mixture is thick, pale yellow, and double in volume. Fold in the melted chocolate using a rubber spatula until partially incorporated with the egg mixture. Sift the flour mixture over it and fold until the chocolate and flour are blended together.

Save a scant 1/4 cup of the batter and pour the rest over the lined pan, levelling the top with the spatula.

Combine the remaining 1/4 cup batter with Nutella. Notice that the batter will seize up and will look like coarse textured dough (not mushy), firm enough to hold. Using your clean hand, distribute marble-sized Nutella “dough bombs” on top of the batter in the pan. Press lightly into the batter to even out the top.

Bake for 25 to 28 minutes [For convection oven or turbo broiler: baking time would be 20 to 25 minutes and you should start checking the brownie for doneness starting at 20 minutes.], until a toothpick or cake tester come out clean when poked in a non-Nutella area; a few crumbs might cling to it, but it shouldn’t be wet. [The Nutella areas will be gooey.]

Set pan on a rack to cool completely. Carefully lift out the foil with the brownie from the pan and place on a cutting board. Use a long metal spatula to separate the brownie from the foil. A straight plastic dough scraper is the best non-sticky tool to use for cutting into them, but any knife would do. For super clean cuts, cool the unsliced brownie in the fridge for 2 hours and slice with a lightly oiled metal dough scraper.

Storage: Brownies will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days. If sliced, use parchment paper between layers when stacking.

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Better Than Ultimate Brownies


** You may also want to check out the Easy Fudge Brownie recipe **

Every now and then, an idea will spark for me from even the smallest triggers in life. This in particular was the result of a discussion about surprises. Mine was to be about dessert. The person that this surprise was for is someone special, so one cannot simply buy something from the store. I wanted to know what would make the best of the best. A kind of channeling of Tyler Florence, if you will.

I gave it a thought and I knew exactly what to do. Since my brother does not like cake, and my nieces and nephews tend to be picky, and my sister will eat generally anything with a sweet tooth, the only thing that made sense for me to prepare were brownies.

A quick google search led me here, The Ultimate Brownie Recipe. And I thought I had all the ingredients listed.

The result is this:

Ultimate Brownie

What was I missing? 3 unsweetened cocoa squares. Over 25% of the ingredient I needed was already used from what I thought was a full box of unsweetened cocoa.  What did I do? I dug up some semi-sweet chocolate chips and measured out on the scale 3 oz of the sweetened stuff.  I also reduced the amount of sugar by 1/4th cup to compensate for the sweetness coming from the chocolate chips.

Another thing I did differently was the choice of flour. I didn’t know the immediate impact on brownies but I used bread flour instead of all-purpose flour. I am also not a fan of nuts in my brownies, so I omitted the walnuts.

The result is this adapted recipe:

Better Than Ultimate Brownies Download the recipe

Ingredients:

  • 5 1-oz squares of unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butter
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups bread flour
  • 1 tsp salt

Preparation:

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease 9 x 13 pan.

2. In a small saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate squares and chips, and butter; set aside.

3. Beat eggs, sugar and vanilla at high speed for 10 minutes. [I definitely recommend a stand mixer for this.] Add melted chocolate mixture, salt and bread flour and mix until just blended. Let the batter sit on the counter for 20 minutes before pouring into the greased pan. Let air bubbles escape by tapping the pan.

4.Bake for 30 minutes and test with a toothpick. If it comes out clean, take the brownies out to cool before serving.

I believe my substitutions made these brownies above and beyond that of the original Ultimate Brownies! Each square is dense and chocolate-y, and has a nice chewiness to it. It’s better than store-bought or just-put-in-the-oven brownies. If you happen to be lucky enough to have some left over after a few days, you’ll be fighting over the the last few bites of super-moist and ultimately soft and chewy brownies. A little sacrifice of instant gratification truly pays off for these. ;-)

Give them a try in your kitchen and let us know how they turn out!

Posted in baking, cakes, chocolate, dailies, dessert, featured, food g33kery, healthier choices, reviews, snacks, sweetsComments (42)

Filipino Champorado and a Happy New Year!


All the dishes and accouterments from Christmas have been cleaned and the kitchen is ready to face another round of cooking for the New Year (not by much as I would like to greet the new year in peace, literally)…we’re slowly getting back to posting.

Ah, New Year! It’s all about beginnings. Good beginnings, I hope.

And to end the year 2008 and start anew for 2009, I’ll introduce you to a beloved Filipino breakfast, called Champorado. I figured that a day that begins with champorado is good, and a year that starts with champorado would be even better. Haha! This comfort food tugs at heartstrings of Filipinos everywhere. Back in the Philippines, being a tropical country, we especially like eating this on rainy mornings. Here in Canada, winter is a darn good time to have it. Warm, filling and very comforting.

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

Champorado (Chocolate Rice Porridge/Pudding)

I’ve seen it being called Chocolate Rice Pudding and Chocolate Rice Porridge in English, but it’s always going to be Champorado for me. It’s basically glutinous/sticky/sweet rice cooked with a lot of water to make it soupy-gooey (think oatmeal and congee), with chocolate and sugar added, and enjoyed with evaporated milk, powdered milk, milk or cream. As a child I’ve always wanted it with evaporated milk or powdered milk. The chocolate used was a traditional locally-produced chocolate (and us being very regional, the way this is made is different depending on where you go and who makes it). We’re a mishmash of cultures like that.

The day after Christmas I had the yearning to make this for whatever reason. Perhaps because we woke up to 3 feet of snow and that the possibility of our next Christmas celebration with friends for that day was getting slim. I have to admit that we were snowed in for good that day. After a few phone calls between friends, we all decided that it’s better to stay home. And then, I made this for dinner. I needed some comfort food.  This is also Dan’s introduction to this very Filipino (“Pinoy“, as we refer to it) breakfast.

Champorado -- yummy!

Champorado -- yummy!

So how do you make this super simple concoction?

Ingredients:

1 cup of white glutinous/sticky/sweet rice [What is this?]

3 to 4 cups water, depending on your thickness preference

1/2  cup cocoa powder [this will be very chocolate-y, you can decrease it up to 1/4 cup if you prefer]

1/2 cup sugar (I like to use brown)

Procedure:

Combine rice and water in a pot and wait for it to boil under medium-high heat. Stir regularly. Boil in medium for about 10 to 15 minutes minutes. When the mixture thickens and the rice starts to become translucent (meaning, it’s cooked), mix in the cocoa powder and sugar. Cook to your desired consistency. Serve hot with milk or cream mixed in the porridge.

Yeah, that’s it!

It’s super easy, relatively effortless and definitely delicious!!! And with that we wish you all an easy, relaxing and HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! We wish you the very best for 2009!

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Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies


Low-Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

Let me tell you now that these are by far THE BEST CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES I’ve ever made and tasted, even better than the full-fat ones. And I really wish I have myself to credit for the recipe, but alas, no. It’s from Cook’s Illustrated Light Recipes. This is the 2nd recipe of the two that I’ve tried from that issue and I’m continued to be impressed with it.

Seriously. Make this. It’s worth the hassle of cooking and straining the dried pitted dates. You read that right. I know it doesn’t sound so palatable now, but trust me on this: You won’t even know it’s there but boy oh boy this tastes magnificent. It’s like the magical switcheroo, which will have you clamoring for more.

The recipe makes 18 big cookies and it only contains 3 tablespoons of butter and 1 and 1/4 cup of light brown sugar. The chewiness is phenomenal, the full chocolate-y and there’s-something-else-so-good taste is something you’ll remember for days and weeks to come.

I just made this again while I’m here in Vancouver. I would have to emphasize the importance of using a really good cookie sheet to get the best results. When I first made it, these chocolate-y mounds came to life on an insulated cookie sheet [we got ours from Crate & Barrel and I highly recommend it!] and they came out PERFECT — as perfect as gourmet cookie store-bought cookies can be. I used regular cookies sheets the second time around and the results weren’t as stellar. It was disappointing. So, please, invest in a good insulated cookie sheet or use your trusty silpats and bake away. You won’t regret it and the cookie lovers in your household will love you more for it.

I’ve taken the liberty to take step-by-step photos for your viewing (and learning/cooking) pleasure.

Go bake ‘em! This is sure to be a hit at your next picnic. Or just enjoy it at home or pack it in your brown bag and make your co-workers jealous.

Here’s the recipe: Read the full story

Posted in bakeware, baking, chocolate, coffee buddy, cookies, dailies, dessert, healthier choices, snacks, sweetsComments (16)