Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Chipster Topped Brownies

When I first saw this recipe on many other blogs I was amazed that I had never seen any recipe like this before. It's the best of both worlds: chocolate chip cookies and chocolatey brownies all in one! I had to try it! So I decided to bake it to bring to my friend's bbq this past Saturday. I knew there would be at least two chocoholics there; me and my friend.

Chocolates and butter... I had forgotten to coarsely chop the chocolate because I was too busy trying to take this picture...

But the chocolate melted after some patient stirring. I didn't want to overheat the chocolate.

Then I mixed the eggs and sugar until they were creamy and thick.
I had read a few of the other blogs and found that some people baked the brownies for 15 minutes before adding the cookie dough topping. So after combining the melted chocolate and butter, in the pan it went and into the oven for its first 15 minutes while I made the cookie batter.

My mise-en-place for da chocolate chip cookie batter... I used two different types of chocolate chips: semi-sweet and bittersweet for a total of 1.5 cup.

Da cookie dough. Looks a bit sticky and thick. I wasn't able to spread the batter at all onto my brownie mixture. So I dropped the batter by the spoonfuls over the top of the brownie hoping that the cookie dough will spread as it bakes.

Here's my pic honoring Alton Brown's oven shots from his Good Eats show. We're spreading, and puffing up too!
And here we are cooling and falling back down to the brownie level.

The finished goods!
My brownies took a good 20 minutes more in the oven than the 60 minutes called for in the recipe. The result was a slightly crispy edge but an almost cakey brownie but still dense with a nice chocolate flavor (I used Penzey's Dutch process cocoa powder, which seems more mild in flavor than say Valhrona's dutch process cocoa.) I liked eating the brownies and finding the different chocolate chips in the cookie part. I will definitely try this again with other types of chips.

Chipster-Topped Brownies

Ingredients For the Brownie Layer:
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I forgot to chop my chocolate. It just took longer to melt.)
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1 2/3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (I left the nuts out. I'm a chocolate purist. Maybe next time.)

For the Cookie Layer:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar (I changed my mind and used dark brown sugar instead. I like the intensity.)
2/3 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store bought chocolate chips (I used 1 cup bittersweet and 1/2 cup semi-sweet.)

Getting Ready
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan, line it with wax paper or parchment paper and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

To Make the Brownie Batter:
Put both chocolates and the butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, heat just until the ingredients are melted, shiny and smooth. If the mixture gets too hot, the butter will separate from the chocolate. Remove the bowl from the heat.Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale, thick and creamy.

Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add flour, mixing only until it disappears into the batter. Using the spatula, fold in the walnuts, and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.

To Make the Cookie Dough:
Whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt.Working with the stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minutes after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Still on low, mix in the chopped chocolate.

Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and, using a spatula and a light touch, spread it evenly over the batter.Bake for 50-55 minutes, (I don't know if it's my oven, but I had to bake my brownies another 20 minutes) or until the cookie top is deep gold brown (I had to cover my baking pan during the last 20 minutes to prevent the top from burning) and firm and a thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.When the brownies are completely cook, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn the right side up onto a cutting board. Cut into bars about 2 inches x 1 inch. (You can cut larger bars if you're serving cookie lovers with Texas-size appetites.)

Makes 24 servings.

Serving: Ice cream, whipped cream and creme fraiche are all great accompaniments, as is a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Storing: Wrapped well or packed in an airtight container, the bars can be kept at room temperature for 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Playing Around: The cookie top can be varied easily be swapping peanut butter, butterscotch or white chocolate chips for the chopped chocolate. You could even use all of them.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My son saw the picture and wanted Choco-ate cake....

I was surfing the net one Sunday morning a couple weeks ago when my son came into the office and immediately saw Jen Yu's (use real butter) picture of this recipe for Chocolate Stout cake. I believe she had gotten the recipe from Smitten Kitchen. Both of their blogs have beautiful pictures and very clear instructions as they put their cakes together. Please do jump to their sites for more Chocolate Stout cake inspiration, and of course, for the recipe.

"Momma! I want choco-ate cake pu-ease!"

And his little finger points at the beautiful picture that Jen Yu posted. I had seen her post days before and thought, in passing, that I might try the recipe one day but my son made the decision for me that I would be baking that cake that day. Luckily I had all the ingredients including a can of my husband's Guiness Stout that I used in my version.

This was what was left a short time later. So much for watching my kids' diet. They both loved the cake. Smitten Kitchen's recipe called for a ganache glaze and use real butter paired this chocolatey cake with some freshly whipped cream. To keep the kids' mess at a minimum I left both options off. The kids didn't miss anything.

The cake came out moist, not too sweet, and very, very tasty. It's now my Go-to chocolate cake recipe!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Belated Post from Mother's Day Baking Activities

On the morning of this recently past Mother's Day, it started better than expected. My husband brought me a cup of hot steaming Starbuck's coffee and the Sunday paper while I was still in bed and told me I'm appreciated.

After a few hours of false starts I decided to bake a batch of cookies. So Nick Malgieri's Peanut Chocolate Chip cookies from his Chocolate book was the first.

This was how they looked after each ball is flattened with the bottom of a glass.

The baking itch was still there so I thought, why not bake another batch. My husband could bring it to his friend's house later. So I started the Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies from Quaker Oats... and then moved onto the Cinnamon and Sugar butter cookie recipe from the Mrs. Fields Cookies cookbook because I realized that my son didn't like either of the first two cookies.

3 tablespoons Sugar
1 tablespoon Ground cinnamon
2 1/2 cups Flour
1/2 teaspoon Baking soda
1/4 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Dark brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup Sugar
1 cup Salted butter -- softened, room temperature
2 Large eggs
2 teaspoons Pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 300~F.
In a small bowl combine sugar and cinnamon for topping. Set aside.
In a medium bowl combine flour, soda and salt. Mix well with a wire whisk and set aside.
In a large bowl blend sugars with an electric mixer set at medium speed. Add the butter and mix to form a grainy paste. Scrape sides of bowl, then add eggs and vanilla extract. Mix at medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the flour mixture and blend at low speed just until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. Shape dough into 1-inch balls and roll each ball in cinnamon-sugar topping. Place on ungreased cookie sheets, 2 inches apart. Bake for 18-20minutes.
Immediately transfer cookies with a spatula to a cool, flat surface.

But there's one more! Why not round it out with a batch of brownies??? So I cheated and baked up a batch from one of those that come out of a box. It was still good since I kicked it up a notch with some coffee powder.

As it turned out, my coworkers enjoyed the fruits of my labor the next day. And my husband built his Great Wall in our backyard.