Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Ulimate Brownie Showdown: Sweet Melissa

The last one!!
Since I've been so busy lately, some of the little things on my 30 by 30 have kinda fallen by the wayside.  One of those was finding the perfect brownie recipe!  I took a month off and decided that this month I'd try a recipe from one of my cookbooks.  So this crosses off another thing on my list (Use it or Lose it Cookbook #6)!

Overall I was incredibly pleased with the way these turned out!  And I confirmed my hypothesis that brownies really need to set for at least a day.  I waited about 3 hours after I baked them to try them and they were good.  But they were even better the next day I think.  I did add some semi-sweet chocolate chips to them.  I wish I had frozen them more before I added them so there was something to add a slight "crunch" to the brownies.  I really like the texture differences when you have the chocolate chips mixed with the fudgey brownies.   

So what was my final vote? 

1. Flavor- 4/5
They could have been slightly sweeter, but overall I was really excited about them.  They were very chocolatey.  Maybe trying bittersweet chocolate instead of unsweetened?  But I was really ok with them :)

2. Exterior Texture - 5/5
Perfect!  It had just the right "hardness" to the top and sides that it stayed together.  I will tell you that I potentially overcooked them.  I used my Le Creuset stoneware dish, because the others were dirty or being used for dinner.   It did not cook evenly and the sides were definitely crispier than I normally like, but i think otherwise it was perfect

3. Interior Texture - 4/5 
I could have used them a little more "fudgey" but I think its hard to judge that based on the fact they baked unevenly.   But overall I liked them!

4. Degree of Difficulty -5/5 (with 5 being easy!)
They were not that messy and super easy!  I did use my mixer to whisk together the eggs and sugar, but I think I probably could have done it without it as well.    The double boiler melting chocolate is always a tricky endeavor, but it worked out just fine!

5. Flexibility - 5/5
 They could easily be adapted.  In fact the original recipe called for walnuts, but I took them out and were great.  So add in walnuts, chocolate chips, mint chips or whatever else your heart desires!  I'm sure it will be a great brownie :)

Total Score- 23/25

My highest ranked brownie yet!   I think these have definitely made the finals.  The boyfriend liked the Barefoot Contessa the best, so I think I'll have to make those again and test.  Plus I still have some more recipes to try!

Recipe-- Sweet Melissa Brownies

  • 2 sticks butter
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, frozen (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. Butter and flour (or just spray Baker's Joy) a 9x9 brownie pan
  2. In the top of a double boiler set over simering water, melt the butter and chocolate.  Remove from heat, but keep warm
  3.  In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla on medium speed until pale yellow.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl
  4. Add in the melted chocolate and mix to combine
  5. In a separate bowl, whisk together the salt and flower to combine.    Add the flour in three batches and do not overmix!  
  6. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and  stir in chocolate chips by hand.
  7. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until sides pull away and center is moist but not runny.   
  8. Let cool in pant for 2-3 hours.  Once done cooling, cut end either enjoy, or cover and wait to enjoy until the next day (I think they are better!)

Recipe adapted from The Sweet Melissa Baking book (Thanks Karen!)

Previous Brownie Contendors

The Use it or Lose it Cookbook Challenge
#5- Beef Cheese and Noodle Casserole

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