Friday, September 26, 2008
Many mistakes but not a disaster
--Chocolate Mint Brownies
Chocolate Mint Brownies
The King Arthur Flour Cookie Companion Copyright 2004
Use 9x13-inch brownie recipe of your choice. I used the KA Fudgy Brownie recipe. You can use peppermint patties or the mint filling recipe. I used the mint filling recipe.
3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks, 6 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups (14 ounces) sugar
1 cup (4 ounces) Dutch-process cocoa I used black cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
1 cup (4-1/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup (4 ounces) chopped walnuts or pecans (optional) I didn't use these
1 cup (6 ounces) chocolate chips (optional) I didn't use these
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot (about 110 degrees to 120 degrees), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder and vanilla. Whisk in the eggs, stirring until smooth; then add the flour and optional nuts and chips, again stirring until smooth.
4 cups (16 ounces) confectioners' sugar
3/4 cup (4 3/4 ounces) vegetable shortening
1/4 teaspoon peppermint oil, or 1 to 2 teaspoons peppermint extract (to taste) I used extract
1/4 cup (1 ounce) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour or Signature Secrets Culinary Thickener (3/4 ounce) I used flour
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) heavy cream I used milk
To make the mint filling: Beat the filling ingredients together till they're cohesive; the mixture will be the consistency of stiff cookie dough. Spread the filling, on a piece of lightly greased plastic wrap, into a rectangle just slightly smaller than a 9" x 13" pan; this is most easily done on a work surface that you've dusted with confectioners' sugar or on a piece of plastic wrap.
Spread half the batter into the prepared pan. Top with filling, patting it down gently. Top with remaining batter. Bake as directed for chosen brownies, adding 5 to 8 minutes to bake time. (Fudgy Brownies bake 29 to 32 minutes on their own, at 325 degrees.)
This was a case where many mistakes were made but thankfully they were forgiven, at least forgiven enough not to have wasted any ingredients.
First of all, it was Friday evening and we had plans to attend a cookout at one of my husband's coworker's home the next day. Hubby asked me if I was making anything to bring. I thought, well no. I was tired and it really just didn't occur to me.
However, Saturday morning it occurred to me that my son might not be able to eat any desserts if I didn't bring something (due to his peanut allergy). So I started baking. Before I had my coffee. Bad idea.
First problem, I read 'Dutch' cocoa and for some reason thought that meant black cocoa (since I'm used to seeing 'natural' instead of Dutch). Rookie mistake. Black cocoa needs tweaking as far as leavening goes but since these were 'fudgy' brownies, it wasn't a big deal. The black cocoa gave them an Oreo-like quality (someone even asked if I used Oreos to make them).
Second problem (maybe) - I had no heavy cream. I decided to use a bit of milk. My filling was much flatter after baking than in the picture in the cookbook (and on KA's site). Of course, the cookbook didn't mention refrigerating the filling but the KA site does. I was happy to even have a filling in the middle since I was sure that it must have melted away completely.
Actually on KA's site, the filling is half butter/half shortening but in the book it's all shortening. Not sure what difference that makes, besides flavor of course.
I wasn't going to do a topping, but I decided it needed one. I used the topping from the Glazed Chocolate Chip Brownies. The chocolate didn't 'match' but think of a chocolate-covered Oreo.
Like I said, I was sure that the filling would be nonexistant after these were baked. When I finally cut into these, I did find a filling, in the middle of the pan. Much was lost around the edges of the pan where there was not only no filling but some bubbled up and left crunchy craters. What a waste.
But, they were delicious and people at the cookout seemed to like them. I figured lots of people like thin mints. The first person I saw try them said they weren't much of a mint person. Then another person said 'oooh mint!' (they liked mint). My son liked them (he likes mint). I'm in the middle. Mint is okay but I was always more of a Trefoil gal than a Thin Mint gal.
I would like to make these the correct way someday and see if I get better results with the filling.
Question of the Day: Which Girl Scout cookies are your favorite? Trefoils were my favorite when I was young (and I swear they used to be sprinkled with sugar). These days none of them really do all that much for me.