Sunday, February 12, 2012

Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting for the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight & Cook Off

No, you don't need new glasses. That is a sweet treat you see on your computer screen, and not only that - it just so happens to be brownies.

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
  JTB Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off Banner


  1. Beautiful! I love that this "event" is getting you step outside of the norm for a couple of weeks ;). And being a lover of sweets as well as savory's...I can testify that these may be my favorite brownies. Ever. So happy you're part of the spotlight fun! =)

  2. Ha! Brownies! I don't think you can call yourself a food blogger until you have posted a 'go to brownie' recipe on your blog anyway. So with that now out of the way... Personally, I don't think that brownies should have frosting but if Joy says so then that is ok with me. She's tough enough to take me in a fight so I won't argue.

    I can't wait to see the savory stuff she included in the book. (My copy is on order already!)

  3. I never frost my brownies either, but these look wonderful! Remember, if you've ever got a surplus of sweet treats, we'd be happy to take some of your hands :). Love to take a peek at the cookbook too--LOVE Joy the Baker--her peanut-butter-bacon cookies are awesome!

  4. Glad you are participating in this event-anything helping you step outside the box is a step in the right direction.
    These do look tasty and the texture is just the way I like them. I will take an edge piece please-yum!

  5. Trix, brownies are so good. Glad that you are trying out baking. You are incredibly good at that I can tell :) By the way..I also made these katherine hepburn brownies from Jof of baking!. There was a bit of twist that I put in with raspberries. But god, you are right, she just bakes from her heart :)

    good job and yummmm

  6. I nearly fell out of my share seeing a sweet on Tasty Trix. Just kidding :) I think it is great that you are stepping out of your comfort zone and participating in the cook off. I love Joy's blog for the down to earth feeling. Can't wait to see how this goes for you.

  7. I always frost my brownies, I don't eat them but everyone here loves them! Yours are nice and dense looking like we all know they are the best that way!

  8. So now the trick to EAT these? They are too tempting!

  9. I'm so glad you're coming over to the dark side! Your brownies look amazing...and what non-baker can frost like that???? They look perfect!

  10. Just count me in. I love brownies. They are just great for anytime. I love yours with the beautiful thick frosting. Thanks very much for sharing. Hope you have a great day!

  11. The brownie texture and the frosting look so delicious. I love the use of Ovaltine!

  12. Good golly, haven't thought of Ovaltine in a zillion years... can't believe they still make it (what is Oval???)
    Nummy brownies, trix... perfect for VD.

  13. I went with crackers for the first post but am definitely going to have to make these cupcakes eventually!

  14. Weren't these great? I love looking at everybody's photos, they all have a special slant to them. Your frosting technique is beautiful!

  15. Even I am tempted by these!

  16. Are you sure they don't have hot sauce or peppers or something unexpected in them?
    These look delightful - and yes, I have had my copy on pre-order for a while now.

  17. Very impressive from you, and you liked it! The Ovaltine is an interesting touch.

  18. Holy smokes, these look so good! This sounds like a really fun way to dust off those baking skills. I'm baking way more than usual myself.

  19. Yes- this brownie post is a shocker but it's okay to show your sweet side once in awhile!

  20. Love the execution on the brownies. They look divine. Great job, Trix.

  21. I'm glad you came over to the dark (aka SWEET) side! This looks like a fantastic treat!

  22. Fantastic looking brownies and I know how awesome they taste!
    Great post and glad to be a new follower :)

  23. Loving this event! These brownies are rich and delicious!!Glad to be part of this event with you :)

  24. I have to admit I did a double take when I saw this on your blog! But what a fun event and of course you couldn't say no to baking for such a fun event! I think you did an amazing job :) Could this be the start of something?

  25. Love the way you frosted these. very nice!

  26. dying to know what Trixifying something is....perhaps i have to dig through your blog to know :) i posted about the crackers...i made the brownies too...hoping i can get a post about them up too before the deadline! isn't that frosting just unbelievable?!!! glad to be cooking with you

  27. Your brownie looks incredible. Definitely my kind of goodie. Slurpppp....

  28. These brownies look seriously delicious!! Wish I could reach through the screen and grab one! Or 12...

  29. Your brownies look great. I found them to be delicious and highly addicting--especially that frosting.

  30. I love the way you spread the frosting on your brownies...very pretty! Kudos to you for only having one small piece.

  31. oh wow! these look perfectly decadent and sweet!

  32. I will serve this on our breakfast for another chocolatey goodness. 

  33. How do you frost your brownies? I love the look. Help me!