Chocolate Fudge Brownies

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Today’s recipe is slightly adapted from Flourless: Recipes for Naturally Gluten-Free Desserts. I stumbled upon this book while shopping at Anthropologie and I completely loved the idea of baking desserts that rely on simple ingredients, natural sweeteners, and bold flavors – minus the flour. Oh, and the food photography is absolutely gorgeous.

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Slightly underbaked, these chocolate brownies really melt in your mouth as soon as you take a bite. I threw in a teaspoon of orange zest to the batter, because who doesn’t love that flavor combination? It’s my absolute favorite.

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It’s too tempting to have them around the house, so I whipped up a few batches for two dinner parties last week to avoid eating the whole thing by myself. I also look for any excuse to bake.


Ingredients:
(Recipe adapted from Flouless) – Makes about 16 brownie squares

5.3 oz (150g) high quality dark chocolate (I used Green & Black’s organic Dark 70%)
½ cup (155g) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) packed dark brown sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
½ cup (50g) Dutch process cocoa (such as Droste) + more for sifting
¼ tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 tsp orange zest (optional)

Directions:
1. Heat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8″ x 8″ (20 cm x 20 cm) square pan with parchment paper.
2. In a heatproof bowl set over simmering water, melt the dark chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth and shiny.
3. Remove from the heat and transfer to a large bowl.
4. Add the brown sugar, eggs, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla, and orange zest. Stir well to combine.
5. Spread the batter in the pan, smoothing the top with a spatula.
6. Bake for 30 minutes, until the brownies are dry on top. Remove from the oven and cool in the pan for 1 hour.
7. Gently lift the parchment paper out of the pan after cooling to remove the brownies then refrigerate for another hour.
8. Remove from the fridge and cut into 16 squares using a serrated knife.
9. Dust with cocoa powder and serve at room temperature.

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Vanilla Bean Ice Cream

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I never really thought about making homemade ice-cream until I came across a superb book called The Chocolate Bible. After going through the whole book over and over again (it never gets boring) I decided to try the custard based vanilla bean ice cream recipe – as well as other chocolate recipes.

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Custard based ice cream is also known as French-style ice cream; it’s thick, silky, and very scoop-able because of the addition of egg yolks which thickens the mixture. American style ice cream is not as dense, and it’s far quicker to prepare since it doesn’t require cooking a custard base; it is simply a combination of milk, cream, sugar, and flavoring.

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For the custard, you first start cooking the milk, vanilla, and egg yolks over low heat for a few minutes and add the whipping cream at the end. After chilling the mixture for two hours, you pour it in an ice cream maker which will simultaneously freeze the mixture while churning (to aerate it and avoid ice crystals to form). The result was so wonderful: the ice cream was rich and creamy, it tasted exactly like Häagen-Dazs! Can you imagine how impressed everyone would be when they find out that you whipped out a delicious traditional vanilla bean ice cream from scratch?! You will feel special, I’m telling you ;).

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Serve this ice cream with Fudgy Brownies, Chocolate Ganache, Apple Tart, or chunks of chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies… My mouth is watering while writing this post, so I’m going to jump right ahead with the ingredients and instructions.

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Ingredients: (from The Chocolate Bible)
• 5 egg yolks
• 125 grams (½ cup+2 tablespoons) granulated sugar
• 500 ml (2 cups) milk
• 1 vanilla pod, split
• 50 ml (¼ cup) whipping cream

Instructions:
1. Beat the egg yolks and 60 grams (5 tablespoons) of the sugar until pale, yellow, and creamy.
2. Pour the milk into a saucepan; add the remaining sugar.
3. Scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod – using the point of a knife – into the milk. Add the pod in the saucepan and slowly bring it to the boil.
4. Whisk 1/3 of the hot mixture into the eggs and sugar mixture, stirring well to combine. Then pour this mixture into the remaining hot milk.
5. Stirring constantly with a wooden spoon, cook over low heat until the mixture is thickened and coats the back of the spoon. (~10 to 15 minutes. Do not allow to boil).
6. Stir in the whipping cream and remove from the heat immediately; strain into a bowl.
7. Stand a bowl in crushed ice and place in fridge for two hours until the mixture is cold.
8. Pour the mixture into an ice-cream maker and churn for 30 minutes.
9. Remove the ice cream from the machine and transfer it to the freezer before serving.

Chocolate Chip Brownies

Chocolate Chip Brownies
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I’m very excited to write my first post on my blog that I named after my favorite chocolate treat! I baked and tested several brownie recipes and this is my BEST go-to brownies recipe. They’re very dense and moist in texture and the chocolate chips really melt in your mouth, especially when they are warm and freshly baked.

I baked these brownies on several occasions and they are ALWAYS a big hit. They don’t require a lot of time to prepare and it’s a very easy one-bowl recipe. So go ahead, try it! And make sure to follow the recipe exactly.

Ingredients: adapted from The Golden Book of Chocolate
85g (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
150g (5 oz.) bittersweet dark chocolate
113g (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
150g (3/4 cup) firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
100g (1 cup) chopped pecans or walnuts
180g (1 cup) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:
1.Preheat the oven 180°C/ 350°F/ gas 4.
2. Butter and flour a 20 cm/ 8″ square baking pan. Line with baking sheet.
3. Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.
4. Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler (bain-marie) over barely simmering water. Remove from heat and let cool for 15 minutes.
5. In a separate bowl beat the eggs, sugar, and vanilla with an electric mixer (or with a fork) until creamy.
6. Stir the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture.
7. Fold in the dry ingredients, followed by the pecans and chocolate chips.
8. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan.
9. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the top is dry and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs.
10. Cool the brownies in the pan on a wire rack or stove for 40 minutes before turning them over on another wire rack. (don’t miss this step because the cake will crumble if it’s still hot!)