My chocolate brownies are so good as they are so why did I decide to play with the flavor?
Our local Cookbook Club, challenged us to take inspiration from a film, book, or TV food series to make something for our next luncheon. What a great idea!
We were even given a list of suggestions to draw from. (Thank you, Cindy and Andrea!) Big Night Julie & Julia The Hundred-Foot Journey Mostly Martha Burnt Toast Haute Cuisine The Lunchbox The Chef Chocolat Haute Cuisine Today’s Special Always Be My Maybe
I knew what my muse was; Chocolat, the movie has always intrigued me by its notion that mystical chocolate could “Unlock hidden yearnings and reveal destinies.” –Chocolat
My brownies were getting put to the test.
The task ahead: to complement the ingredients, and intensify the taste of each bite. Chocolate is the perfect vessel for play.
I made three batches of the basic brownie recipe and added cayenne pepper to one, finely diced crystalized ginger to the other, and salted caramel to the remaining one.
From page 314 of my book Le Kitchen Cookbook: a Workbook
Makes: 32, 1”x 1”-sized brownies
Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 50 minutes
Preheat oven to 325°
1 stick butter
2 - 1 ounce squares semi-sweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
2 eggs well blended
½ teaspoon vanilla
¼ cup flour, I use gluten-free flour*
Prepare an 8-inch square baking pan by buttering it well and then placing a folded sheet of parchment paper inside the pan (see drawing) you’ll use that to pull out the brownies.
For ease, I make a double boiler by placing a metal bowl on top of a pot, with a few inches of boiling water.
In your work bowl, melt the butter and 2 ounces of chocolate.
Once melted, take the bowl off the heat.
Stir in 1 cup of sugar, add 2 eggs and ½ teaspoon vanilla, mix well.
Stir in ¼ cup flour and ¼ teaspoon salt.
If using, add either the cayenne pepper or the ginger and mix well.
Bake the brownies in your prepared baking pan for about 25 minutes.
After about 20 minutes, check the brownies. I like them to be undercooked and gooey.
Test by placing a toothpick in the center, it should come out somewhat clean.
When done, take them out of the oven and place the pan on a wire rack for 20 minutes.
Pull the ends of the parchment paper to remove the brownies from the pan. Place on wire rack to cool 15 minutes.
Slice the brownies into 1” rows and then in 1” squares. I place them in fluted paper candy cups. They are perfect for serving.
I made three batches of the recipe above and altered them as follows:
1 teaspoon candied ginger chopped fine.
Pour a layer of the batter on the bottom of the pan
Sprinkle the ginger
Pour the remainder of the batter on top.
1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper mixed into the batter.
Salted caramel brownie:
Pour a layer of the batter on the bottom of pan.
Drizzle the warmed caramel on top.
Sprinkle large salt flakes on top (I use Gros sel de Guérande, available on the internet).
Pour another layer of batter and repeat as above.
Finish with the remaining batter.
The results were amazing! So good, I’m making them again.
* King Arthur gluten-free flour measure for measure or Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free 1 to 1 baking flour.
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Le Kitchen Cookbook
Everything you need to know to be a good cook.
by Adeline M. Olmer
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