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Deconstructing brownies

CookiM0nster's picture

I've been slowly going through the brownie recipes everyone was nice enough to point me towards a few weeks ago, and thought I'd share what I've learned so far.
I invite everyone who's tried any of these recipes to add their feedback as well (yes, Adele, this means you! LOL)

The first thing I did was work out the proportions if the recipes, so I could better compare them to each other. I did this by calculating the amount of all the basic ingredients each recipe calls for per 1 cup of flour.

Wow, do brownie recipes vary a lot. Of the 8 recipes I checked out, every single one was remarkably different from all the others. Here are the proportions, so you can see for yourself.

These are the amounts of the other ingredients per 1 cup of flour:

WiseKaren's MIL brownies
6 oz. butter
1 c + 2 T. sugar
3 eggs
9 oz. semisweet chocolate

Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous (minus the chocolate that goes in as chips)
12.8 oz. butter
1 3/4 c + 1 T. sugar
4.8 eggs
12.8 oz semisweet chocolate
4.8 oz. unsweetened chocolate

CookiMonster's Truffle Brownies (recipe I developed years ago)
6.67 oz. butter
1 1/3 cp sugar
4 eggs
2.67 oz semisweet chocolate
2.67 oz. unsweetened chocolate

Bittersweet from Alice Medrich
12 oz. butter
4 c. sugar
8 eggs
12 oz. semisweet chocolate
12 oz. unsweetened chocolate

Katherine Hepburn's
16 oz. butter
4 c. sugar
8 eggs
8 oz. unsweetened chocolate

Recchiuti (including the chopped chocolate)
6 oz. butter
1 3/4 c. + 2 T. sugar
4 1/2 eggs
7.5 oz. unsweetened chocolate

Chocolatier's Dark Chocolate Brownies, sort of - see post #82 in this thread for an explanation.
(minus the chocolate chips,DH's favorite)
6.4 oz. butter
1 1/4 c. + 2 T. sugar
3.2 eggs
3.2 oz. semisweet chocolate
0.8 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1/4 c. + 2 T. cocoa powder

Prescription Strength
8 oz. butter
2. c. sugar
2.67 eggs
1 cup cocoa powder
3.2 oz, semisweet chocolate

I'll put the tasting notes in another post.


Edited 5/9/2006 4:21 pm by CookiM0nster

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63916, reply #1 of 97)

Tasting note, so far. (I haven't tried them all yet)

WiseKaren's MIL brownies
I hate to say it, but these were my least favorite. The texture was very soft and fudgy, but not pleasantly so. The falvor was OK, but not outstanding. Even my 3-year-old, who eats everything, didn't like them. I wonder if I used too high a % chocolate. Perhaps they'd be better with something closer to 60%?

CookiMonster's Truffle brownies
Of course I'm biased, since I developed this recipe to fit my own tastes. Obviously I like it a lot. It makes a very fudgy, allost truffle-like brownie. It has a rich chocoalte taste, but is not as in-your-face chocolatey as Lee Bailey's or Alice Medrich's.

Alice Medrich's Bittersweet
These are great brownies, especially if you're a fan of dark, strong chocolate. They are a little bit chewy, a lot fudgy, and have a very, very deep, rich chocolate taste.

Chocolatier Dark Chocolate (sort of)
baked in a 9x13 pan, as the recipe specifies, these are pretty average brownies. Baked in an 8x8 pan they become extremely thick, rich, toothsome and fudgy. With the two kinds of chocolates plus the cocoa powder, these brownies have a wonderful depth of flavor.

Prescription Strength
Ultra-chewy brownies. If you prefer chewy brownies to fudgy ones, these can't be beat. The texture is perfect. They have a nice, dark chocolate flavor, though with only cocoa powder and no chocolate, it isn't as complex as some of the other recipes.

Contessa's Outrageous
Lovely meltingly fudgy texture, and great, deep, rich chocolate flavor. These brownies aren't as sturdy as the others, but they are delicious.

Recchiuti
Wow. These are fabulous. Wonderful chewy texture (from the reduced amount of chocolate melted and stirred into the batter, but fabulous deep, complex chocolate taste from the stirred in chopped unsweetened chocolate. Between DH and I we managed to eat an entire row before they were fully cool. They did take an extra 5 minutes to bake.

It's been too long since I've made Katherine Hepburn's for me to remember them well enough. I'll report back with tasting notes when I try them.

Katherine Hepburn's
These are good, basic brownies, kind of chewy, kind of fudgy. They're like the little black dress of brownies - you can accessorize them with just about anything and they'll always be good. In fact, I tyhink they're best when jazzed up with a layer of marzipan, or some toasted hazelnuts, chocolate chips, or the like.


Edited 6/16/2006 4:15 pm by CookiM0nster

meowow's picture

(post #63916, reply #2 of 97)

Interesting. Thanks for posting.

deejeh's picture

(post #63916, reply #3 of 97)

I read somewhere that one could increase the chewiness of brownies by subbing some bread flour for the AP.  Any experience or opinion about this?


deej

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63916, reply #8 of 97)

"I read somewhere that one could increase the chewiness of brownies by subbing some bread flour for the AP"

I've never heard of that. I assume the rationale is that the bread flour will create more gluten, and hence make them chewier. I'll have to give it a try.

So far I'm finding that cocoa powder (or lots of cocoa solids from unsweetened chocolate) seems to help make them chewier.

AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #63916, reply #10 of 97)

I have an Alton Brown chocolate chip cookie recipe that uses bread flour, and they are wonderfully chewy.

I think it would be worth experimenting with.

And the crowd was stilled.  One elderly man, wondering at the sudden silence, turned to the Child and asked him to repeat what he had said.  Wide-eyed, the Child raised his voice and said once again, "Why, the Emperor has no clothes!  He is naked!"
                -- "The Emperor's New Clothes"

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

soccermom's picture

(post #63916, reply #11 of 97)

Any chance of that recipe if it isn't too much work? If it's standard method, just the ingredients even. TIA

 


 

 

 

AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #63916, reply #13 of 97)

Sure, I'll include the original, and one I just madmommed into a lower sugar version.

The Chewy

recipe by Alton Brown

2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter
2 1/4 bread flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups chocolate chips

Heat oven to 375F
Melt the butter in a heavy-bototm medium saucepan over low heat. Sift together the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.
Pour the melted butter into a stand mixer's work bowl. ADd the sugar and brown sugar. Cream the butter and sugars together on medium speed. Add the egg, yolk, milk and vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
Slowly incorporate the flour mixture until thoroughly combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Chill the dough (Amy notes that this recipe does not say how long, but chills the dough for one hour), then scoop onto a parchment-lined baking sheet, using a #20 (1 5/8 ounce) scoop, 6 cookies per sheet. Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 mintues. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning. Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

And the crowd was stilled. One elderly man, wondering at the sudden silence, turned to the Child and asked him to repeat what he had said. Wide-eyed, the Child raised his voice and said once again, "Why, the Emperor has no clothes! He is naked!"
-- "The Emperor's New Clothes"


Edited 3/31/2006 7:36 pm ET by AmyElliesMom

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #63916, reply #14 of 97)

 Low-Sugar Chewy Choclate Chip Cookies

 

 

Based on Alton Brown's The Chewy recipe

 

8 tbs 
 
butter
 

8 tbs 

 
butter-flavored shortening
 

2 1/4 cups 
 
bread flour

 

1 tsp 
 
kosher salt
 

1 tsp 
 
baking soda
 

1/4 cup 

 
Splenda
 

1/2 cup 
 
Splenda Brown Sugar

 

 

1/4 cup 
 

brown sugar
 

1 large 
 
egg
 

1 large 
 
egg yolk
 

2 tbs 

 
evaporated milk
 

2 tsp 
 
vanilla extract

 

1 tsp 
 
artificial butter flavor
 

2 cups 
 
chocolate chips
 

 

1
Melt butter and shortening in the microwave. Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer.

2
Sift together flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3
To the butter/shortening in the stand mixer, add the sweeteners and sugar. Cream together on medium speed until well combined and sticky.

4
Add the egg, egg yolk, evaporated milk, vanilla extract and butter flavor. Stir on medium-low until well combined.

5
Slowly stir in the flour until well combined.

6
Stir in the chocolate chips.

7
Chill dough for 1 hour.

8
Preheat oven to 375°F.

9
Remove dough from fridge, and scoop onto parchment lined baking sheets, 6 cookies per sheet,, using an ice cream or cookie scoop.

10
Bake for 14 minutes or until golden brown, checking the cookies after 5 minutes. Rotate the baking sheet for even browning.

11
Cool completely and store in an airtight container.

 

Servings: 30

Yield: 30 cookies

Preparation time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Cooking time: 14 minutes

Ready in: 2 hours

 

 Nutrition Facts

Serving size: 1 serving

Percent daily values based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Nutrition information calculated from recipe ingredients.

 

 
 
 
 

Amount Per Serving
 
 
 

Calories

 
185.51
 

Calories From Fat (49%)
 
91.51

 

 
 
% Daily Value

Total Fat 10.41g

 
16%
 

Saturated Fat 4.96g
 
25%

 

Cholesterol 22.32mg
 
7%
 

Sodium 110.93mg
 
5%
 

Potassium 23.96mg
 
1%
 

Carbohydrates 21.34g
 
7%
 

Dietary Fiber 0.91g

 
4%
 

Sugar 6.78g
 
 

 

Sugar Alcohols 0.00g
 
 
 

Net Carbohydrates 20.43g
 
 
 

Protein 2.10g

 
4%
 

 Recipe formatted and exported by Living Cookbook from Radium Technologies, Inc.

 

 

 
 

Notes:

I use half butter and half shortening b/c the Splendas don't have the moisture-retaining properties of sugar, and this keeps the cookies from turning into crispy hockey pucks.

I use evaporated milk b/c I only keep 1% milk in the house, so this brings some more fat to the cookie.

The butter flavor helps non-Splenda eaters not be able to ascertain the Splenda; you can leave it out, of course.

I use Watkins Double Strength vanilla extract (I got a huge bottle from Grandma, and I love the way it tastes, even though it's labelled "artificial"). You might want to use more if you are using regular extract, but that's up to you.

Also, I use Better for Bread brand flour; not sure if that will make any difference.

Also, your cooking time may be less depending on how much Splenda you use; mine have cooked in as little as 10 minutes some days. You will also need to pre-flatten them with a glass to whatever you want your finished diameter to be; I forgot to type that into the recipe.

I haven't tried to make these smaller yet, or to do them with all Splenda and no brown sugar, but that's on my list to do one of these days. Ideally, I like for my cookies to have 15 grams of carbohydrate per cookie, and be less than 100 calories. I may experiment in the future with replacing half the fats with applesauce, but I don't hold out high hopes for that.

And the crowd was stilled.  One elderly man, wondering at the sudden silence, turned to the Child and asked him to repeat what he had said.  Wide-eyed, the Child raised his voice and said once again, "Why, the Emperor has no clothes!  He is naked!"
                -- "The Emperor's New Clothes"

Edited 3/31/2006 5:19 pm ET by AmyElliesMom


Edited 3/31/2006 6:08 pm ET by AmyElliesMom

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

Glenys's picture

(post #63916, reply #15 of 97)

Where are the chips?
Not that I care, I loathe chocolate chips.

MEANCHEF's picture

(post #63916, reply #16 of 97)

I am still a fan of the Maida Heater Brownies.


 


On the same 1 cup flour basis:


1 cup flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp salt
32 oz bittersweet chocolate
2 cups walnuts
8 eggs
8 tsp vanilla
1 1/3 cup sour cream
2 cup butter
3 cup sugar


seems way different than the rest.



Edited 3/31/2006 7:29 pm by MEANCHEF

Edited 3/31/2006 7:31 pm by MEANCHEF


Edited 3/31/2006 7:38 pm by MEANCHEF

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63916, reply #45 of 97)

"seems way different than the rest."

That's the most interesting thing. All of the recipes are way different than the rest.
I've put these on the list for after I finish the ones already waiting to be made.

Ricks503's picture

(post #63916, reply #54 of 97)

There is another thread requiring your attention!  Someone is going to Seattle and is looking for sites to see and places to eat.


Ipke-Kitchen Kvetch -  a few days in Seattle


 



1 - measure the board twice, 2 - cut it once, 3 - measure the space where it is supposed to go        4 - get a new board and go back to step 1


Edited 4/5/2006 10:32 am ET by Ricks503

 

 

" There'll be no living with her now" - Captain Jack Sparrow

AmyElliesMom's picture

(post #63916, reply #17 of 97)

That's what I get for trying type in a recipe, while keeping an eye on dinner, singing with Ellie and trying to taste test cookies.

I added it in; it's 2 cups.

And the crowd was stilled.  One elderly man, wondering at the sudden silence, turned to the Child and asked him to repeat what he had said.  Wide-eyed, the Child raised his voice and said once again, "Why, the Emperor has no clothes!  He is naked!"
                -- "The Emperor's New Clothes"

 

Save the Earth! It's the only planet with wine and chocolate.

deejeh's picture

(post #63916, reply #23 of 97)

Thanks for posting these, Amy.  SO is in the hospital, and I was considering making some cookies as a thanks to the nursing staff, who are awesome.  This recipe is just the thing - particularly as I have all the ingredients on hand.


deej

soccermom's picture

(post #63916, reply #24 of 97)

Thanks for taking the time, especially when you have your hands full. I think we'll try these tomorrow if I have the bread flour on hand.


 


 


 

 

 

deejeh's picture

(post #63916, reply #41 of 97)

I baked the Alton Brown chewy chocolate chip recipe, madmomming it slightly by using 1 cup of chopped white chocolate and 1 cup of dried cranberries instead of the choc chips.  They are chewy indeed, and quite delicious.


deej

dlish's picture

(post #63916, reply #12 of 97)

I use that AB recipe and they are EXCELLENT!!! You've given me a good idea of what to do tonight!

unbaked's picture

(post #63916, reply #72 of 97)

I tried that Alton Brown recipe once, they WERE nice indeed.

'The desire to make an effort to improve the lives of those around you does not yet live in everyone, but it does live in everyone who cooks.' -Bill Penzey, one magazine

knittermom's picture

(post #63916, reply #18 of 97)

Did you let the Bittersweet brownies sit overnight before cooking them? I found a big difference in the texture by doing this, but I'm going to have to try the Prescription brownies if they are chewier than the Bittersweet ones; like Biscuit, those are my fave recipe. I'm also going to have to try the Alton ones too!

Kris

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63916, reply #19 of 97)

No, I didn't. I did use cold eggs, though.

Biscuit's picture

(post #63916, reply #22 of 97)

Ooops!  I made a pan before you posted that.  So - no chocolate on top, but still incredibly tasty.  I would say - without the chocolate on top - they are my second all-time-favorite brownie.  They are slightly "cakier" than the Medrich Bittersweets, which are more fudgy.  And that right there is simply a matter of personal preference.  Everyone has a different texture they prefer.


But still - really rich, deep chocolate flavor, and smooth, velvety texture, and - dead easy to make.  I will make these again.  Max was practically vibrating with excitement over brownies for dessert and he devoured his.  If it had had chocolate on top I think he may have passed out! (G)  I think next time I will cut them smaller.  I cut 9 brownies from the pan, and since they are so chocolatey, I will cut them smaller next time.


P.S.  I always refrigerate the Bittersweet brownies overnight before baking.  I can't explain what, but it does something to the texture that is awesome.


 


"I wouldn't shop at Walmart.com if they were the last online retailer on earth and they shipped everything using chocolate chips as packing material. "  - Miss Alli of TWoP

"When a stupid man is doing something he is ashamed of, he always declares that it is his duty."  - George Bernard Shaw

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63916, reply #27 of 97)

Definitely try them again with the chocoalte toping. It traps some of the steam in that would otherwise escape and gives them that truffle-like texture.


P.S. I like to store them in the fridge and eat them cold.

Adele's picture

(post #63916, reply #4 of 97)

YeeeHaw!   You are my hero!  


Now, my question is:  You based this on 1 cup flour, so that means you changed the amounts to equal the 1 cup flour?  For instance, I think I remember that the Katherine Hepburn ones are the same as Aunt Tia's, which has 1/4 cup of flour.  So you increased the flour to 1 cup, and increased the rest of the ingredients by 3/4's too?   THis is just simply to show the ratio of flour/chocolate/butter? 


Do I have a copy of your truffle brownies?  Would you mind posting it again?


Questions, questions, questions.  LOL   I have printed this out.  Thank you for taking the time to do this.


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63916, reply #6 of 97)

Yes, that's what I did. It's the standard thing I do when I want to compare recipes. It makes it much easier to see where the differ from each other. Brownies are especially tough to compare, though, becasue you've got three different options for getting the chocolate in there.


Truffle brownies:
2 oz. semisweet chocolate
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate
5 oz. butter
3 cold eggs
1 cup sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
3/4 cup flour
pinch of salt


Preheat oven to 350. Grease an 8x8 pan.


Melt chocolates with butter. Stir in the sugar, vanilla, and salt. This should cool it down enough that the mixture feels just warm, not hot. If not, let it cool a bit. Stir in the eggs, one at a time. Stir in the flour.


Pour into prepared pan and bake until center springs back just a little when touched, 30 - 35 minutes.


As soon as the brownies are out of the oven sprinkle 6 oz of chopped chocolate on top. Spread it smoothly after it melts. This step is crucial to achieving the right texture of the brownies.


Edited 4/1/2006 12:08 am by CookiM0nster

Adele's picture

(post #63916, reply #9 of 97)

Thanks for the clarification, I'm not always sure I understand until I ask at least one question- LOL.


Yours is a nice one bowl recipe,  little clean up.  :)  It's on my very short list for tomorrow. 


But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

But, but, it's SUPPOSED to taste like that!

CookiM0nster's picture

(post #63916, reply #20 of 97)

Adele - while I was on the plane I remembered I forgot a step in the brownie recipe. I've edited it now. After they're out of the oven you need to sprinkle 6 oz of chopped chocolate over the top, and spread it smooth once it melts. It's crucial to getting the right texture.

KitchenWitch's picture

(post #63916, reply #21 of 97)

Made your truffle brownies tonite - although it was befor eyour added the sprinkle with chopped chocolate. I thought they were fabulous. DH must have agreed - over half the pan is gone. Poor Buddy has a cold and was nearly passed out in his high chair, but was determined to stay awake long enough to finish his brownie. fell asleep with a smile on his face.


I will admit to Madmomming the recipe, since I didn't have any unsweetened chocolate in the house - I subbed 6 T of cocoa and added an extra 2T of butter. And I used 78% bittersweet chocolate in place of the semisweet.


~RuthAnn


<insert witticism here>

~RuthAnn

APonKP's picture

(post #63916, reply #29 of 97)

...Poor Buddy has a cold and was nearly passed out in his high chair, but was determined to stay awake long enough to finish his brownie. fell asleep with a smile on his face....

Aww, poor little muffin! So cute.

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne
KitchenWitch's picture

(post #63916, reply #30 of 97)

he's managed to pass the cold onto the rest of the family, the little stinker.


of course, I seem to have it the worst, and am expecting company on Friday and the house is a disaster, adn I get winded even climbing a flight of stairs. Anyone feel like cleaning house?

Hopefully I can shake this off by Thursday, and then I can do my White Tornado impression.


~RuthAnn


<insert witticism here>

~RuthAnn

APonKP's picture

(post #63916, reply #65 of 97)

I hope you recovered in time!

I must have the same thing. It's a rapidly progressing type of bug. It was into the chest by the third day. Mucinex really helps, but it is still lurking and I have company coming for dinner on Tue.. I could use some energy to cope.

The guests are bringing two kids, so I just finished a batch of Recchiuti's brownies to freeze for their dessert. I added more chopped chocolate at the finish this time and a little less than a cup of sugar. Also baked at 300 degrees instead of 325. I think I like them better. Really decadent. Bill has already eaten all the outside borders.

One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne
One of the advantages of being disorderly is that one is constantly making exciting discoveries.  A.A. Milne