Monday, October 12, 2009

Bake-Through Entry 1: Barcelona Brownies

Stardate Sunday morning. Sylvia's still asleep. The boys are plugged into Sponge Bob. The kitchen, with its new countertops and lovely new stainless steel sink is begging to be messed with, and I remember that I signed up for the Rose's Heavenly Cakes bake-through. So I roll up my sleeves and flip to the appropriate marked page.

Barcelona Brownies.

Normally, my favorite brownie recipe is the One-Pot Brownies from the out-of-print masterpiece Cook Something. Since I'm usually playing beat-the-clock in the kitchen these days, the idea of one pot and 10 minutes is perfect for me. But I signed up for the bake-through, I'm in the mood for chocolate, and Barcelona Brownies are on the docket.

Check and check.

A couple things to note about these brownies. They are baked, in the book, in a silicone financier mold that make individual brownies. Brilliant. Except that three calls the Friday before brought me to the conclusion Indianapolis is not long on your specialty baking items. I was excited to try the molds, however, so I bought a silicone mold featuring six hearts at Target, and figured I'd make the rest of the brownies in a muffin tin, as I was digging the idea of individual brownies.

Another thing to note is that they include optional ganache plugs of lovely gooey chocolate. I was on the fence about whether to go for the plugs. I ultimately decided against it because 1) I didn't know how much time I had before Sylvie would wake up and cling to my leg as I moved around the kitchen 2) I had forgotten to pick up heavy cream 3) I bought enough dark chocolate to make both the brownies and the plugs, but Tommy and I had snacked on it the day before, and now I only had enough for the brownies. So no plugs. So really 2 and 3 trumped 1, as I didn't have the ingredients to make the plugs. Next time.

The recipe has some great details: toasting the pecans so that they're more flavorful. Combining two kinds of chocolate -- sweetened bar and unsweetened powdered -- to get extra chocolate flavor. The addition of a couple ounces of cream cheese for extra creaminess. And Rose is right: The brownies pop right out the silicone molds. I don't know where these have been all my life.

So after toasting the pecans, melting the chocolate in a make-shift double-boiler (as mine is now part of the kitchen play equipment in the basement playroom), whirring everything in the Kitchenaid, spooning into individual molds, and waiting the allotted time, I was rewarded with some pretty fantastic brownies. I tried one to see how they were, hot hot hot from the silicone mold. Then I tried another just to be sure I could truly report on the taste. (Lovely.) Sylvia meanwhile woke up, had her breakfast, and then spied the brownies. She yelled and pointed until I let her try a piece, and then yelled "more" and pointed and kept getting bites until I distracted her with a walk to the drugstore. Our friend Holly was over Sunday night for our weekly date with she, her husband, and Don and Betty Draper, and tried one. She commented that they were extra chocalatey without being too sweet.

Phil, by the way, was thrown the next day by the muffin shape, thinking I'd made muffins. He ate two, apparently because one wasn't enough to realize they were rich brownies and not breakfast food, and then said he had to go lie down for a while.

Will I make them again? Heck, yeah. I'm even thinking of ordering the financier molds, which I found on Amazon. Next time I will make them at night so that I can make the ganache plugs without worrying that someone will be waking up and harshing my kitchen mellow. And I will go a little lighter on the chocolate; the bar I chose was 86% cocoa, and my powder was dark chocolate. Next time I'll do as Rose suggests and keep the chocolate in the 60s. And, eyeing the pots piled in my new stainless steel sink, I think I'd melt the chocolate and butter (very carefully) in the microwave. I won't skip toasting the pecans, though. They had a much more complex taste after toasting.

If you want to try this recipe, Rose includes the recipe here on her blog. It's delicious.

Next up: Apple Upside Down Cake. I can hardly wait!

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Blogger Nancy B said...

I think the financier mold you found is the one that's smaller and shallower than what Rose calls for. You want the 'mini cake molds' that are about 1-1/4" by 3" by 1":

Good to know the brownies do well even without the ganache plugs...

8:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Those sound wonderful and I know one of the grandsons would LOVE them. Of course the fact that I'm a chocoholic would have nothing to do with it. Have to check into the molds and give them a whirl. Mom

3:55 AM  
Blogger ButterYum said...

They sound great - congrats on the new kitchen space.

1:39 PM  
Blogger breadbasketcase said...

Nice brownie-muffins! I think that not having cream on hand and not knowing when your little one's going to wake up are both very good reasons for not making ganache, but you'll have to try the ganache sometime--it really does add another flavor and texture. I loved reading your post.

7:26 PM  
Blogger Julia @ Hooked on Houses said...

Oh, my. Pass one of those over here, wouldja?

And then give us a tour of your new kitchen, while you're at it! :)

6:14 PM  
Blogger She Crafty said...

I had such fun reading this entry. I'm with you on the chocolate chip snacking.

3:08 PM  
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