Make, Jane, make!: Brownie Showdown


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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Brownie Showdown

I can't believe it's been a month since my last post. Many different factors to blame: overall malaise and sickness (blame baby#3-to-be), brother's wedding and the associated family outings, tons of outdoor work to be done and still being done and trouble logging into blogger. Anyway, I have a slew of posts that I have been meaning to write, so without further ado.... The Great Brownie Showdown!

I love a good brownie. One of my favourite brownies is made by my neighbour and is included in her baked goods assortment every year at Christmas. Her brownies are chewy and dense, cut into the tiniest or morsels which are both totally satisfying and devilishly hard to eat just one of, and remind me of the ubiquitous bake sale brownies of my youth. I know I could always ask her for the recipe, but there's something very special about waiting for, receiving and enjoying those brownies every holiday season... so long as she doesn't move away....

My hubby and I were discussing recently what kind of brownies we liked best. Neither of us liked cake-y, although we both agreed that those were good if frosted heavily :) But we were undecided as to whether or not we preferred our brownies chewy or fudgy. Of course, a brownie that is a bit of both is great... but to which side did we want the balance to lie?

We decided we needed a showdown of the ultimate in chewiness and the ultimate in fudginess. I took the question to the vast knowledge of the internet and came up with two recipes that seemed to have the approval of both chewy and fudgy camps, respectively: Best Cocoa Brownies and Supernatural Brownies.

Note: Although I usually don't follow recipes to the letter, for the sake fairness, I accurately measured all my ingredients for this occasion.


Our winner: Chewy Brownies
Recipe: Best Cocoa Brownies from Bittersweet by Alice Medrich via Epicurious

These brownies were a huge hit! I used Dutch process cocoa for the mellow and smooth taste that both my husband and I were craving. They were satisfyingly chewy which was a perfect complement to the bite of the walnuts. I think we ate a third of the pan in one sitting.

Our Runner-Up: Fudgy Brownies
Recipe: Supernatural Brownies from Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers by Nick Malgieri via The Splendid Table

This brownie recipe was excellent and did produce the fudgy, dense brownie that it promised. However, my hubby and I found that a wholly fudgy brownie (i.e. hardly any chewiness) resulted in a more cake-like end product. And since we had both agreed already that we were not fans of the cake-y brownie, this recipe was a bit of a letdown after our chewy delight. Chalk it up to our Asian roots and the need for texture in all our foods :)

We also found the recipe waaay too sweet, which I think defeats the purpose of making a chocolate dessert - whose appeal lies in the slight bitterness of chocolate versus the complete sweetness of vanilla.


So we now have a new favourite brownie recipe that I will recreate using different add-ins and experimenting with different types of cocoa. It will likely be the bottom layer of a strawberry mousse cake this summer as well as being part of a simple hot fudge sundae. But I most anticipate the results of this brownie concoction: Better than Crack Brownies from How Sweet It Is. Will bake and write as soon as my stomach and ever-expanding waistline allow :)


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