Let’s see those brownies!
For Halloween, our bakers have a chance to show off their decorating skills with some milk chocolate malted brownies with chocolate ganache. Posting date is October 23.
- 1¼ cups (160 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (70 g) malted milk powder
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 6 ounces (170 g) milk chocolate (40 to 60% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 4 ounces (115 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 6 ounces (1½ sticks/170 g) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes, plus more for the pan
- 1 cup (200 g) granulated sugar
- ½ cup (110 g) firmly packed light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, at room temperature
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 6 ounces (170 g) dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- ½ cup (120 ml) heavy cream
- 3 to 4 cups (340 to 450 g) confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- 2 large egg whites
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- Blue, yellow, red, and black food dyes or gels (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and position a rack in the center. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 9-by-13-inch (23-by-33-cm) pan. Line the bottom with a sheet of parchment paper so that it overhangs about 1 inch (2.5 cm) on the long sides of the pan, and butter the parchment.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, malted milk powder, cocoa, and salt.
- Place both chocolates and the butter in a large heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (double-boiler method, see page 19), stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted, smooth, and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be at room temperature.
- Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and whisk until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it, about 30 minutes. Remove from the oven, place the pan on a cooling rack, and let the brownies cool completely.
- Place the chopped chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a saucepan over medium heat and heat just until bubbles form around the edge of the pan. Pour the hot cream over the chopped chocolate and let sit for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth. Pour the warm chocolate ganache over the cooled brownies in the pan and use an offset spatula to spread it into an even layer. Allow the ganache to sit for about 10 minutes, then refrigerate for another 15 minutes to set completely.
- Using a small paring knife, release the brownies from the sides of the pan and pull straight up on the parchment to remove them from the pan, then place the brownies onto a cutting board and remove the parchment. Place the brownies in the freezer for 30 minutes (this will make them easier to cut). Run a chef’s knife under hot water, wipe dry, and cut the brownies into 36 to 48 bite-size pieces (or smaller—these brownies are rich).
- In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups (340 g) confectioners’ sugar, the egg whites, and lemon juice until the mixture is completely smooth. The mixture should have the texture of a thick glaze. If it is too thin, add more powdered sugar, a few tablespoons at a time, until it is thick enough to hold its shape when piped. Divide the icing into four bowls. Royal icing will begin to harden when exposed to air. If you are not using a particular color, make sure to cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap or place the icing in a pastry bag and cover the tip.
- Leave one bowl white for skulls and ghosts. In another bowl, create a black icing (about 8 drops of black gel or 2 drops each of blue, yellow, and red dye) for outlines and eyes. In the other two bowls, we recommend mixing orange for pumpkins and green for embellishments (green eyes are spooky). Put each color in its own pastry bag fitted with the smallest tip. (Pastry bags provide more control, but, if needed, you can fill four zip-tight plastic bags and cut a small corner from the bottom of each.) In essence, you want to pipe and fill all of your base layers first, then go back and add your final embellishments. (It is more difficult to decorate each brownie from start to finish.)
- For skulls and ghosts: Pipe on the shapes of skulls or ghosts in white and allow them to harden for a few minutes (see photo 1). Then fill them in completely (see photo 2). Gently pipe final embellishments (eyes, mouths, etc.) directly on top of the white icing with any other color you like (see photos 3 and 4).
- For pumpkins: Pipe on the shape of the pumpkins (not the stem) in orange and allow to harden for a few minutes (see photo 1), then fill them in completely. Gently pipe on the stem in green.
- Allow the icing to harden completely before serving.
Mixed reviews on these cupcake/brownies, which were more cupcake-like than brownie-like. And we had a rogue baker going way back to the first Baked book this week as well!
Are brownies in cupcake form as good as they are in bar form? Post your links here!
Our bakers give this pie a thumbs up — just don’t try to cut it while it’s still frozen!
Who made frozen chocolate pie this week? Leave your links here!
Will you serve this with or without chocolate fudge sauce and whipped cream? Posting date is September 11!
- 2 cups (200 g) walnuts, toasted (see page 19)
- ½ cup (100 g) granulated sugar
- 3 ounces (¾ stick/85 g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 12 ounces (340 g) good quality dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 (8-ounce/226-g) package cream cheese, softened
- ½ cup (100 g) sugar
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups plus 3 tablespoons (525 ml) heavy cream
- 2 large egg whites
- ¼ cup (60 ml) whiskey
- ¼ cup (25 g) walnut pieces, toasted (see page 19) and coarsely chopped
- Lightly spray a 9-inch (23-cm; preferably deep dish) pie plate with nonstick cooking spray.
- In a food processor, process the walnuts until they are finely chopped (do not pulverize); you should have about 1½ cups (200 g). Place them in a bowl, add the sugar, and stir until combined. Pour the melted butter over the walnut mixture, mix well, transfer to the prepared pie plate, and press it into the bottom and up the sides; use the back of a large metal measuring cup to get an even crust. If you are having trouble getting it to adhere to the sides, first refrigerate the crust for 5 to 7 minutes. Refrigerate the crust while you make the filling.
- Place the chocolate in a large heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water (double- boiler method, see page 19). Heat the chocolate, stirring occasionally, until it is 80 percent melted. Sprinkle the espresso powder over the chocolate and stir until it is incorporated and the chocolate is just fully melted. Remove the top of the double boiler from the heat and continue to stir the chocolate mixture for another minute to release excess heat. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the cream cheese, ¼ cup (50 g) of the sugar, the vanilla, and 3 tablespoons of the cream on medium speed until the mixture is combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate mixture and beat again until just combined. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl and beat again for 10 seconds.
- Place the egg whites and the remaining ¼ cup (50 g) sugar in a clean, heatproof medium bowl and set it over the saucepan of simmering water you used for the chocolate. Gently whisk the whites and sugar until warm to the touch; remove the pan from the heat. Using a handheld whisk or the whisk attachment on the standing mixer, whisk the mixture just until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the egg whites into the chocolate mixture and set aside.
- In the bowl of the standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk the remaining 2 cups (480 ml) cream until soft peaks form. Turn the mixer to low and drizzle in the whiskey, then increase the mixer speed to medium and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Using a rubber spatula, fold the whipped cream into the filling until just combined, then pour the filling into the crust. Smooth the top with an offset spatula and sprinkle with the walnuts. Cover gently with foil and place the pie in the freezer until frozen, about 4 hours.
- Before serving, place the pie in the refrigerator for 2 hours or at room temperature for 20 minutes. Dip a large knife in hot water, dry it off, and use the hot knife to slice and serve.
Check out the results of our bakers who embraced vegan cake!
Who tried this vegan chocolate cake this week?
Unprecedented in the Baked world until now, we’ve venturing into vegan territory with a chocolate cake. Posting date is April 24!
- 2 ounces (55 g) vegan dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (150 ml) olive oil
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup (240 ml) almost boiling water
- 1¼ cups (250 g) vegan granulated sugar
- 1½ cups (170 g) all-purpose flour
- ½ cup (40 g) unsweetened dark cocoa powder, such as Valrhona
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1¼ to 1¾ cups (140 to 200 g) vegan confectioners’ sugar, sifted
- ½ cup (130 g) almond butter (ideally without any added sugar, with or without flaxseeds)
- 2 ounces (55 g) vegan butter, such as Earth Balance, softened
- 2 to 4 tablespoons (30 to 60 ml) almond milk, at room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).
- Lightly spray the bottom and sides of an 8-inch (20-cm) round cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and lightly spray the top of the parchment.
- Place the chocolate, olive oil, and vinegar in a large bowl. Add the hot water, let stand 1 minute, and whisk until the chocolate is completely melted; whisk for an additional minute to release extreme heat. Add the sugar and whisk to combine. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and baking soda until well combined.
- Gently fold half of the dry ingredients into the wet. Add the remaining half of the dry ingredients and continue to fold until just combined. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out with just a few moist crumbs, 28 to 32 minutes.
- Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for at least 30 minutes. Turn the cake out onto the rack, remove the parchment, and let cool completely. You can also pop the cake in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes to firm up, so the cake cuts cleanly and precisely.
- Place 1¼ cups (140 g) confectioners’ sugar, the almond butter, vegan butter, 2 tablespoons almond milk, the vanilla paste, and salt in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting comes together and is shiny and smooth. If you prefer a slightly looser frosting, add 1 to 2 additional tablespoons almond milk; if you prefer a thicker frosting, add up to ½ cup (55 g) more confectioners’ sugar.
- Use an offset spatula to spread the frosting into an even layer on only the top of the cake. Refrigerate the cake for about 10 minutes to set the frosting.