23 June 2007

Tweaking Cook's Illustrated's Classic Brownies

Well, isn't that just the picture of brownie loveliness?

Have I mentioned how much I adore brownies? In my case, they're carob brownies, but they still taste great regardless. In today's blog entry, I'm reworking Cook's Illustrated's classic brownie recipe, curtosy of the wonderfully talented Smitten Kitchen blogger, Deb.

I made a few substitutions:

  1. Whole wheat pastry flour for cake flour
  2. 8 oz of unsweetened carob chips for 6 oz of chopped unsweetened chocolate
  3. 1 stick of butter for 1.5 sticks
  4. 2 cups of agave instead of 2.25 cups of sugar
  5. 4 egg whites instead of 4 whole eggs
  6. Vanilla paste for extract

First, the recipe calls for toasting the chopped walnuts. While they were toasting, I melted the butter and the carob chips together in a glass bowl over previously boiling water.

Then, I combined the dry ingredients. After the carob mixture cooled, I added the egg whites one at a time, whisking after each addition. Then, I added the vanilla and mixed again before mixing in the dry ingredients and the nuts.

Next, I poured the mixture into my favorite Polish pottery baker, just to try something different. I'd lined the baker with aluminum foil as per the recipe. That was a really good idea because the brownies later were extracted with the greatest of ease.

After 30 minutes, the brownies were still very wet and the walnuts had floated to the top. I put them back in and baked them for another 30 minutes. To do this recipe again, I would have increased the heat to 325 degrees F, as in the original.

The brownies cracked right in the spot where I tested them earlier. They smelled so great, I could hardly wait until they were done to try them.

They came out great! Very carob-y, rich and nutty. I didn't mind that the nuts floated to the top, but if I were to tweak this even more, I'd probably just use two whole eggs, and cut the agave by another 1/2 cup because the brownies were pretty sweet. Otherwise, I'm pleased with how they came out.

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