Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Ultimate Brownie Recipe Showdown: The Barefoot Contessa

This was my second attempt at the great search for "The Perfect Brownie Recipe".   I wanted to try this recipe because a) it was from the Barefoot Contessa and I love Ina Garten and b) It was referred to as the 'Outrageous Brownies'.  If that isn't an endorsement, I don't know what is!   

I think i had really high expectations for these brownies.  I kinda thought "these are going to be the one".  Are they?  Well I'm not really sure.  The recipe was designed to make way more than I really wanted, so I decided to half it.   I'm not sure if that may have had some affect on the turnout.

They always say to let the brownies sit before cutting, but who in their right mind wants to do that?  Well with these I think it made a world of difference.   If I was going on my opinion the night I baked them, this would have been my rating.

1. Flavor 3/5
2. Exterior texture- 4/5
3. Interior Texture 3/5
4. Degree of Difficiulty 3/5
5. Flexibility 4/5

However, the next day I felt like i had entirely different set of brownies.  And they were MUCH better.   I guess patience is rewarded. :)   Anyway, here is my final assessment

1. Flavor- 4/5
It was slightly more bittersweet then I would have liked, but the chocolate flavor was great.   It felt much more bitter the day before, but the sweetness definitely came through the next day.  I wonder if some of the flavor has to do with the fact that the chocolate chips I added in at the end completely melted in.  I think had I followed directions and covered them in flour before adding them in, they would have melted a lot less. I also think freezing them would definitely had helped

2. Exterior Texture- 5/5
They definitely came together by the next day.  The exterior was a lot "stiffer" so they came out into good sized pieces.  I was slightly nervous the night before as there didn't seem to be anything "holding them together".  Glad to see that it did all come together.

3. Interior Texture- 3/5
I think they were just too fudgey.  I like my brownies to not be like a piece of fudge... if I wanted fudge, I'd make fudge!  I really just wanted them to be more cake like and less fudge like

4. Degree of Difficulty -3/5
  These weren't tough to make... just tedious.  I felt like it took forever to make these.   But maybe it was just me :)  And they were messy.  Lots of bowls and spatulas and whisks to make a simple batch of brownies?
 5. Flexibility 4/5
The only reason i am going with a 4/5 here is because a) I had to wait for them to taste better and b) They didn't seem to respond 'well' to being halved and some of the ingredients (ie walnuts) being removed.

Total 19/25 
I am not opposed to trying this recipe again and making a few minor tweaks to get the recipe to be better but I'm really not sure that this is the "Ultimate Brownie Recipe" as there was nothing really "Outrageous" about them.

Outrageous Brownies 

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 8oz plus 6 oz semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
  • 3 extra-large eggs
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
  • 1 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups all flour
  • 1/2 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Butter and flour a 8X8 brownie pan
  3. Melt together the butter, 8 oz of the chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. 
  4. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar.
  5. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
  6. In a medium bowl, sift together 1/2 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture.
  7. Toss the remaining chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. 
  8. Pour into the pan and bake for 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the mixture comes out clean.
  9. Let sit until they cool completely and then cut and serve.
 Previous Ultimate Brownie Recipes
Recipe adapted from Ina Garten 

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