Brownies on Tasty Trix. Heavens! But before you start gathering your canned goods and running to your backyard fallout shelter, let me explain. I have decided to play against type, for a very good reason.
A couple of months ago, Heather of Girlichef invited me to participate in the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook Off she's hosting. I thought this was the perfect opportunity to challenge myself to do more baking and practice some rusty pastry techniques. Though not a sweets baker (I do love baking bread, however) I have always thought that Joy's recipes are well-tested, creative, and from-the-heart. Oh, and pretty. As you know, I'm very much a savory gal, but I think it's important to be a well-rounded cook and know your way around both sides of the culinary fence.
The month-long event is sponsored by Hyperion, who sent the 20-odd participating bloggers an advance (aka free) copy of the book, which comes out February 28. For the first two weeks, we'll be comparing notes on recipes that Heather, as host, has selected for us - one sweet and one savory per week - then for the third week it's blogger's choice, and finally, we'll all be reviewing the book.
This week I made both the sweet and the savory recipe (flax seed and cracked black pepper crackers, which I'll post later this week) but I thought I'd start with these brownies, just to surprise you.
And you know what? I really liked this. Granted, I only had a small piece for breakfast (oh so good with coffee) before I sent the rest off to work with Poppa Trix - where they were, I hear, promptly devoured - but if I were to become a sweets devotee, I am pretty sure these would become my go-to brownie. They weren't overly dense and chewy, which is a good thing, and the chocolate buttercream frosting was surprisingly not too sweet. The addition of Ovaltine is a clever touch that helps give the frosting a nice gloss.
I didn't Trixify this, as I thought it was important to test the recipe as-is. The only problem I encountered was that after I refrigerated the frosting it got a tad grainy and hard to spread, which was easily fixable by whipping in a bit of cream, after which it became super-spreadable.
Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
from the Joy the Baker Cookbook, by Joy Wilson
makes one 8-inch pan
¾ cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon. salt
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ cup packed brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips
Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. In a medium, heatproof bowl, add butter and unsweetened chocolate. Place the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water and allow to melt. Stir to incorporate. Once melted, remove the bowl from the simmering pot. Whisk in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once to the chocolate mixture. Fold together with a spatula until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the brownie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting. Frost with a half recipe of The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (see below) when cooled. Brownies last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to five days.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (halve this recipe for brownies)
¾ cup (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
2½-3 cup powdered sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
scant ½ cup heavy cream
⅓ cup Ovaltine (I used chocolate; original malted works also)
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, cocoa powder, and salt. Mixture will be very thick, but cream for about 3 minutes at medium speed. Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low to incorporate 2½ cups powdered sugar while adding the milk and vanilla. As the sugar incorporates, gradually increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat until smooth. In a 1-cup measure, stir together cream and Ovaltine. Turn the mixer to medium, and pour the cream in a slow and steady stream until the frosting reaches your desires consistency: smooth, creamy, and spreadable. Add more powdered sugar to adjust consistency. Spread or pip frosting onto cooled cakes or cupcakes (or brownies!). note: Putting the frosting in the fridge for about 30 minutes makes it harden just a little and makes it easier to spread as a frosting. Frosting will last well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Later this week, I will restore the balance of the universe and post the week's savory recipe. Make sure to check out everyone else's experiences with the recipes by following the links at the bottom of this post!
This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef