Thursday, May 29, 2008

First attempt

Inspired by the recipe I found at The Black Oven I have decided to methodically find the perfect brownie recipe. I metricised the recipe and modified it slightly.

The Recipe
125g butter
200g dark chocolate
4 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 180C and line 20cm (8") square pan. Melt butter and chocolate together in a double boiler; set aside to cool. Beat eggs with salt until foamy, then add sugar and vanilla and continue beating until thick. Fold in chocolate, then flour. Pour into pan and bake for 45 minutes.

The Verdict
Firstly, the baking time was insufficient. I already baked for 10 minutes more than the original recipe, but this still wasn't enough. While this could be partly due to oven inconsistencies, I think a larger reason is the size of the pan - the brownie turned out much taller than a brownie should be, so next time I'll try a 30cm (12") pan for the same quantity. The other tricky part here is that most recipes will instruct you to remove the brownie from the oven before it is fully cooked, but finding the exact 'sweet spot' between cake (over-cooked) and goo (under-cooked) will take some time. This attempt was definitely under-cooked, particularly in the middle. A solid crust had formed on the top, almost meringue-like, but this de-laminated from the uncooked goo underneath. It collapsed as I removed if from the pan :( Still, chocolatey goo never tastes bad. The edges, however, yielded quite a decent brownie. The beating of the eggs and sugar created a lot of air in the mixture, which would make for quite a light brownie if properly cooked - having no baking powder, this air is what would stop the brownie from being too dense - it works more like a sponge cake. And the crust was maybe a little too thick and crunchy. But only a little. As for taste, this recipe was too sweet, and not chocolatey enough. I used 45% cocoa Cadbury dark chocolate - the original recipe called for unsweetened chocolate, but I don't think the amount of sugar is significant compared to the 2 cups added. Plus I used 200g compared to the 150g stated in the recipe, so this should have compensated for chocolatiness, but still didn't quite hit the mark. Next time I use this as a base recipe I'll be trying 200g of 70% cocoa chocolate, and maybe 1 or 1.5 cups of sugar.