Wednesday, December 28, 2011

What's Baking?: Brownies!

So, I didn't participate in last month's What's Baking? challenge. Lame, I know, but the theme was a savory baked good, and this blog is all about sweets, so I decided to pass. When this month's theme, brownies, rolled around, I knew that I had to participate! We were to make a brownie recipe from scratch. Surprisingly enough, this is something that I only really started doing relatively recently. I used to be a big fan of boxed brownie mixes (especially if you substitute rum or your favorite wine or liqueur for the water that it calls for--try it some time!!!). But then, I discovered a brownie recipe that puts all others to shame. And, it's easy! Boxed brownies are a thing of the past, for me. And the best part about this recipe is that it's highly adaptable! This time, I added spiced rum, butterscotch chips, and hazelnuts because that's what I had on hand and what I wanted to use up. But I've added chopped Oreos, peanut butter chips, a cheesecake swirl, and marshmallows and graham crackers with success. That's the beauty of a good brownie recipe. So, while I'm sharing a recipe with you, I encourage you to experiment! Play around with what appeals to you!

Fudgy Brownies (brownie base from David Lebovitz)

  • 1 stick of butter
  • 2/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips
  • Scant 1 c. sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 c. spiced rum*
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 c. flour
  • 3/4 c. chopped hazelnuts**
  • 3/4 c. butterscotch chips**

Combine the butter and chocolate chips in a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on high in 30-second increments, stirring in between, until chocolate is softened. Stir until the chocolate and butter are combined. Stir in the sugar, then the eggs, one at a time, and then the vanilla and rum (*note: feel free to substitute any liqueur or liquor that suits your fancy, here). Add the flour and salt and mix until mostly combined. Stir in your mix-ins (**again, feel free to substitute whatever you like!) until everything is mixed.

Pour into a greased 9x9 or 8x8" pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes at 350*F, or until a toothpick inserted 1" from the edge comes out clean.

These brownies will be extremely gooey and soft out of the oven, so if you want to eat them warm, plan on doing so with a spoon. They'll set up a bit as they cool, but they are still an extremely rich, fudgy brownie (just the way I like them!). The taste of the liqueur/liquor is subtle, but it definitely adds a little something-something to the brownie! The combinations of flavors and mix-ins are endless, so play around until you find what works for you!