Sunday, 29 July 2007

Fun with Chocolates

Last night, just before bedtime, my elder boy requested that I bake him some brownies the next day. He has been craving for brownies for quite some time already. We checked through a few recipes and decided to try this walnuts and chocolate chip brownies from a book which I bought recently. The description and the texture of the brownies look really attractive to me: "These chunky chocolate brownies are moist, dark and deeply satisfying. They are delicious with a morning cup of coffee and will definitely boost morale on a dreary day."

As promised, the first thing I did this morning was to bake a batch of brownies. It is a rather simple and straight forward recipe. It took me less than half-an-hour to get the brownies into the oven. I omitted the walnuts from the recipe as both my boys reminded me that they didn't want any nuts in their brownies.


I am so glad that the brownies turn out beautifully! They are rather thick (in terms of height) unlike my previous attempts, the brownies were too dense and were usually very flat and thin. I like the slightly flaky and crisp crust, with a moist, cake-like layer on top and it gets fudgy nearer the bottom. This is by far my best brownies which I have made from scratch, and it uses sunflower oil instead of butter...so much 'healthier' than another recipe from the same book that requires almost an entire block of butter! My boys couldn't really wait for me to finish my photo-taking session, they kept asking when they could try a piece of the brownies...and guess what my younger one was "doing" while I was trying to get the best lighting for my photos?


What can I say, but to give them each a piece right away!

Each time if I use any melted chocolates for baking, I will let my younger boy to help "clean-up" the bowl...he will lick up every single trace of melted chocolate. This time, I used the left over chocolates and made this:

I learnt this from the Martha Stewart's show...simply use a brush (I used a chopstick), dip it with melted chocolate and paint funny faces on the inside of a clean glass. Chill the glass in the fridge to let the chocolate set before filling it with cold milk. The 3 of us had fun painting our own glasses. They certainly look ugly but adorable, aren't they?!



Nut and Chocolate Chip Brownies

Ingredients
(makes 16)

150g semisweet chocolate, chopped
120ml sunflower oil
215g light brown sugar (I cut down to 200g)**
2 eggs
5ml vanilla essence
65g self-raising flour
4 tablespoon cocoa powder (unsweetened)
4 tablespoon milk chocolate chips
75g chopped walnuts (I omitted this)

**latest update: I further reduced the sugar amount to 180g and the texture or taste was not affected.

Method:
  1. Preheat oven to 180 degC. Lightly grease a shallow 19cm/7.5 inch square pan.
  2. Melt chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water.
  3. With an electric mixer (a manual whisk works well too), beat together oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla essence in a mixing bowl.
  4. Stir in the melted chocolate then beat well until evenly mixed.
  5. Sift the flour and cocoa powder into the batter. With a spatula, fold thoroughly until all the flour mixture incorporates into the batter.
  6. Stir in walnuts and chocolate chips. Mix well.
  7. Pour the mixture into the prepared square tin. Spread the mixture evenly to the edges. (The mixture is rather sticky and gooey.)
  8. Bake for about 30 ~ 35 mins until the top is firm and crusty. Cool in the pan before cutting into squares.

Recipe Source: The Cookie and Biscuit Bible

59 comments:

  1. This is truly to die for... Yum, I am craving for some brownies now.

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  2. This set of pictures is so beautifully taken! I especially like the 3rd pix and the one yr son is look at it. I love the clean background ... oops .. back to the brownies. I'm not a fan of fudgy brownies but will want to give this a try :) I prefer mine cakelike. Which type of semisweet chocolate did you get?

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  3. Looks good!!!! And I like yr funny faces glasses!!!! So cute! Told u that u are an energetic & cretive mother lor!

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  4. Hi Elyn, thanks for your compliments! I was very lucky to catch the sunlight at that time.

    The brownies were not overly sweet, guess the chocolates I used were unsweetened. I used Carrefour's house brand, Dark Dessert Chocolate, 52% cocoa. I find this brand not too bad, and is cheap...only S$5 for 2 bars(200g each).

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  5. I absolutely love the photo with your kid - it looks so beautiful and even magical!

    These brownies look delicious and what a nice thing to know the kids liked it!

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  6. Aiyoh.. so cute!!

    U're a fantastic mom.. would love to learn from you! :P

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  7. These brownies are appetizing! How pretty, when you he cited, that its son did not see the hour to finish the session of photos, to devorar brownies! E the son who is in the photo seems pretty very! It forgives the question, more its descent is of Chinese Japanese or? Until more.

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  8. hi dinha, we are Chinese :)

    Patricia, my boy loves that photo too ;) Lately, I have been taking mainly food photos instead of taking pictures of them! This weekend, I'll bring my camera out to capture all the wonderful moments of them :P

    Sherie, you are too kind, I have much more to learn from you! I love those cheerful looking cupcakes you made :)

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  9. i love the cups of milk wif the painted faces! so cute! nice idea.

    the brownies are lovely too! :) possible to cut down the sugar to 180gm?

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  10. Can I have a piece with the chocolate milk. Your kids are really lucky to have a cool mum like you. :)

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  11. Hi Ida, believe it or not, the chocolate faces still remained on the glasses after we have drank the milk...and my boys refused to let me washed them!
    as for the brownies, I think shouldn't be a problem to cut the brown sugar further down to 180gm...but I don't find it really too sweet at 200gm as I used dark chocolates not semisweeten ones.

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  12. Wow..these brownies sure be great for morning/afternoon tea. And i am sure it will be a great snack for picnic. :) Thank for sharing this recipe i am a really brownie fan but then until now i still havn't bake a decent brownies and i see yours look great! The recipe is easy to follow too... thanks for sharing... :)

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  13. You never cease to amaze me with your bakes. These brownies look really good! It's definitely going under my bookmark :)

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  14. The brownies look rich and very chocolatey. Love the picture of your kid staring at the brownies. My kids are like that too most of the time ;) Your kids are really lucky to have a wonderful mother like you :)

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  15. You have a nice blog. I like the recipes and the photos. You seem to have the "photographic" eye which makes your blogs all the more interesting. I have a question about the bread machine. Which model/make are you using? Where can I get a bread machine in Singapore? Thanks!

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  16. Anne, I am the lucky one!...to have not just one but two wonderful kids :D

    Hi Samir, thanks for dropping by :)
    I got my bread machine from Carrefour...the brand is Bluesky, at S$69.90. It's a very cheap machine as compared to the higher end ones that can cost more than $300. So far it has served my basic purpose like kneading dough, and making simple loaves. hope this help :)

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  17. Would just like to say that I love the shot of your son looking at the brownies!

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  18. Wah... the chocolate faces in the glasses are too cute! I must try this...

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  19. Hi, I need your advice about chocolates, a bit confused here. Whenever a recipe uses chocolate, it is those bar chocolates that we eat or have to get baking chocolates? What about melted chocolate used for decorations, which type of chocolate to use?

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  20. hi, the bar chocolates that we eat are usually not suitable for baking, as they have less cocoa content. However, some brands of eating chocolates such as Lindt may come in very high cocoa content (as high as 70%). The higher the cocoa content, the less sweet it is, but it has a more intense chocolate flavour. So for baking purpose (chocolate cakes, brownies) it's advisable to use baking chocolates, even for decorations, such as making ganache.

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  21. Thanks Happy Homebaker! Now I can try all your chocolate recipes. :)

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  22. hi happy baker :)
    the brownies look yummilicious.
    I was wondering if i can actually use butter or other oils like canola instead of sunflower oil?
    Thanks :)

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  23. Hi Aub & Syl, I think it shouldn't be a problem replacing sunflower oil with butter or canola.

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  24. Hi,

    Was wondering if I could substitute the brown sugar with granulated sugar.

    The brownies look amazing btw! :D

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  25. Hi Linfoong, I am sure you can use granulated sugar instead of brown sugar. For me, I can't really taste the difference ;D
    Happy Chinese New Year, Xin Nien Kuai Le!

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  26. Hi, I was reading thru ur interesting blog when i came across this brownie recipe. So I tried it out, n it was wonderful! But it was quite crumbly and cutting it was a real challenge. Any tips on this?

    Thks,
    Huikie

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  27. Hi Huikie, you can try cutting the brownies using a serrated knife or a sharp knife, slice it with a gentle, sawing motion to avoid squashing the cake. Hope this helps :)

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  28. Hi HHB..I am a regular to your blog and I completely enjoy reading it and trying out recipes:) I had tried these brownies of yours, but somehow they came out very 'fudge-like':( I would like to know that if I use all-purpose flour instead of self-rasing flour, what else should I add?

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  29. Hi Whoisneha, I am glad to hear that you enjoy reading my blog :D
    Self-raising flour has got baking powder added, you can refer to this site: (http://www.joyofbaking.com/IngredientSubstitution.html) on how to substitute the self-raising with plain flour. Hope u find the site useful :)

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  30. Hey thanks a lot!! the page you directed me to, is really very useful:) thnx a lot. Inspired by you, I have recently started my own foodblog http://thethingsthatido.blogspot.com/
    I hope you like it!

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  31. Hi! If i replaced it with butter, how much butter should i use? Thanks!

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  32. Hi, I am sorry, I do not know the weight of the butter to replace, maybe you can try this site for the conversion: http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cookingconversions.asp

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  33. Yeah! Now this is what I'm talking about! That glossy flakey looking top lets me know this is a brownie. :D

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  34. hey i made this over the weekend!! it's so delicious. thanks so much!!
    i wonder if it's the way i cut it; some parts of the brownie crumble a bit.. any advice?

    anyway this brownie has LOADS of walnuts. haha my hubby and I are nuts about nuts =)

    http://oleagopoly.blogspot.com/2009/03/chocolate-brownie-random-updates.html

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  35. Hi Oleagopoly, it's nice to hear how well your brownies have turned out :) As for the crumble, maybe it is due to the nuts? or did you cut the brownies before cooling off completely? It also helps if you can use a serrated knife to cut the brownies.

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  36. Hi HHB,
    yeah i'm not too sure too. I did use a serrated knife and waited for it to completely cool off. ~4hrs coz i left the house. LOL

    i almost tot it was because of the serrated knife. hmmm otherwise, maybe i try to melt the butter to liquid form instead before baking? *scratches head*

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  37. Baking gal2/6/09 5:30 pm

    Hi HHB,
    I love brownies and this recipe looks really good! Before I start, may check some stuff with you?

    1. Are the semi sweet chocolates the normal type we eat or do we use baking chocolate? Do we use the same type of chocolates to make ganache?

    2. Can I use normal cooking oil in place of sunflower oil? What's the difference?

    Thanks in advance!

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  38. Hi Baking gal, the semi sweet chocolates are baking chocolates, and I use the same type ot make chocolate ganache. Choose one that has got a high cocoa content. You can read more about it here (http://www.joyofbaking.com/chocolate.html)
    For baking, it is best to use oil that has got a mild flavour, such as sunflower, canola or olive oil. Some type of cooking oil may not be suitable due to the stronger flavour.

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  39. Baking gal2/6/09 11:27 pm

    Hi HHB
    Thank you very much!

    May I also ask you for some advice? Are baking chocolates = semi sweet chocolate chips = couverture chocolates?

    Do you have any brands that are decent but not too expensive to recommend?

    So sorry for the many questions. Thanks again!

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  40. Hi Baking gal, I am no expert in baking, as such I am not able to give the factual differences among the different type of chocolates. You can read more about chocolates at the following sites:

    http://www.joyofbaking.com/Couverture.html

    http://www.joyofbaking.com/SemisweetChocolate.html

    http://www.baking911.com/pantry/chocolate_cocoa.htm

    If you can afford go for good quality chocolates such as Valrhona. Since I can't afford I usually get baking chocolates from Carrefour, under it's housebrand.

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  41. Baking gal3/6/09 2:29 pm

    Hi HHB
    Thanks so much!! ^^

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  42. Hi Hi, Me and my fren decided to tried baking this brownie after reading your blog. We actually just finished baking.. However, the result turns out not so well. The top layer is not crispy at all. We tried to poke the brownie but it was very moist at the inside so we actually leave it to bake for a longer time... is this the reason? By the way , we replace chocolate bar with hersheys choco chips.. hope it doesnt matter... hope to receive some advice from you..

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  43. Hi Michelle, I am not sure what went wrong, maybe your oven was not preheated to the right temperature? As for using chocolate chips I guess as long as you can melt it, it shouldnt be a problem. I am sorry I am no expert in baking, as such I can't really give much advice, hope you understand.

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  44. Hi HHB,

    I made these brownies and topped with marshmallows... omg, they are gorgeous and SOOOOOOOOOO delicious!!!!

    This brownies recipe is definitely a keeper for me :)

    Thanks dear!

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  45. I made these last night and have so far received rave reviews from family and a classmate. The texture is absolutely perfect (not too cakey) and the sweetness is so lovely with a glass of milk. Thanks so much!

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  46. I want to try baking this brownie, its looks yummy!

    I only have measuring cups for "cups" and "ml"...wondering what do you use to measure the recipe that goes by "grams"? Do u weigh it with scale or do u have a measuring cup with grams? I dont see those with grams selling here in Auz... Thanks again for your kind advise!
    --- Lilacz

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  47. Lilacz,
    It IS yummy ! =)

    anyway i'm guessing HHB would advise to buy diet scales for measuring stuffs in grams....

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  48. Hi Lilacz, I use a weighing scale. There is no measuring cups for grams. You can check out this site to convert the ingredients from grams to cups (http://www.gourmetsleuth.com/cookingconversions.asp?Action=find).

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  49. Hi HHB!! i juz tried this receipe todae, i think i left it abit too long in the oven (35min for 9" tray), lucky nv overbake, it has all edges crispy and inside is still moist & fudgy feel, nt like urs crispy, shiny & flaky!! but i am happy wif the brownies! they are so rich!!! love it! =) i added loads of walnuts! delicious!! its so ez to bake! gona bake them agaiN!! =) thanks!!

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  50. Hi HHB, just tried the Brownies over the weekend. It's so yummy! My hubby and I both love it! =D Definitely baking it again soon. Thanks so much!

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  51. Hi HHB

    i'm a regular at our blog and this recipe is simply wonderful!

    I halved everything and tried your "lazy" method of just heating the chocolate directly with a saucepan, throwing and mixing everything else into it. However the silly me did not wait for the saucepan or melted chocolate before throwing in the egg! Guess what happened? :)

    Thankfully it still turned out really good but my brownie didn't have the smooth shiny pretty crust you had. It looked more like a dark marbled shiny top. Any idea why? Due to the egg? :P

    Thanks again foe sharing and do keep your baking blog alive! :)

    Cheers
    Ronni
    New mother of one :)

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  52. Hi Ronni, thanks for reading my blog :)

    I am not sure whether it is due to the egg? It could also due to the oven temperature/baking time, and even the amount of sugar used. I am sorry my knowledge is still very limited as such I can't really give any comments. I hope you will continue to bake and I am sure you will be able to get the perfect batch of brownies :D

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  53. thanks for sharing this recipe
    i just bake it and it turn out really yummy...
    somehow my brownies top does not crust nicely like yours :( Nonetheless the taste is great! A little sweet probably due to the choc (bitterswet) i used

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  54. hello happy homebaker, it's me again :) slowly but surely trying out the recipes from your blog.. hehe. just baked this brownie today and i was a bit apprehensive at first as i have not baked a brownie from scratch before and i know they can be easily overbaked.. but mine turned out just fine and it was delicious, everyone i shared with enjoyed it. it's definitely a keeper, thanks for sharing such a clear recipe. i plan to make it again next week to share with another group of friends :)

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  55. hi joyful, great to hear about your successful attempt at baking brownies from scratch :)

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  56. Hi HHB,
    How did you unmould the brownie so nicely? I greased the pan...but it's kinda difficult to remove the brownie from the pan. Thanks : )
    Nicole

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  57. Hi Nicole, maybe you can try lining the pan with parchment paper instead. It is easier to unmold. Hope this helps :)

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  58. Tks HHB! Yea, will do that next time!
    Btw, hv u tried substitute oil with melted butter? My husband could taste the oil ; ) so i am thinking to try using butter next time..
    Nicole
    Nicole

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  59. Hi Nicole, it is best to stick to the recipe. What type of vegetable oil did you use? I usually use canola oil.

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