Friday, September 20, 2013

Death By Fudgey Brownie

Ahhhh, Mark Bittman, where do I begin.  There's something I love about him.  He's like your really funny uncle who knows his way around the kitchen.  According to his Wikipedia page he is an "American food journalist, author, and columnist for The New York Times."  I actually became familiar with his name when I first learned of his now famous No-Knead Bread recipe, which is this super simple way to make delicious, crusty, homemade bread without all of the elbow grease typically required for bread making.  This is a must try recipe for anyone with the slightest obsession for warm, freshly baked bread...mmmmm breaaad!!!

Sorry, I was daydreaming a bit there, as I was saying, Mark Bittman has a way of teaching the art of cooking and baking in a very non-threatening way that really encourages you to do what we all should be doing...cooking and eating at home!!  Nowadays it seems so easy to just jump in your car and drive to your nearest drive-thru, which I am totally guilty of, but if you think about it...the time it took you to drive there, wait in line, drive back home trying to avoid all of the terrible drivers out there and finally sit down to eat some crappy, not so warm, greasy food, you could have made something delicious and nutritious in your own home.  I know, it's not the first time you've heard this, but it really just takes a tiny bit of planning to reap the rewards of really good food and you will actually know what all of the ingredients are because you put them there!

At the beginning of the year I purchased Mark Bittman's book, How to Cook Everything the basics, because even though pastry and baked goods are my first loves, I wanted to add some classics to my cooking repertoire and I must say, I love this book.  Not only are the recipes straight forward and easy to follow, the step-by-step pictures are so helpful.  You really do feel like he's in your kitchen with you reminding you that you are doing great while giving you little tips and tricks along the way.
How to Cook Everything the basics
by Mark Bittman

(Isn't my little Frankie girl cute ~ a pain, but cute nonetheless)
The first recipe I made from this book was his classic banana bread.  It really was so good...the crumb was tender and the perfect way to use up those browning bananas on the counter.   I don't know about you, but banana bread always gives me that nostalgic feeling of being a kid.  I guess it's just a reminder of those cold winter days when my mom would pull out a warm loaf from the oven.  Makes my mouth water just thinking about it!

Fudgey Brownie mise en place
So, my husband is a real desserts kind of a guy.  He's one of those people who would gladly have dessert before dinner just because he doesn't want to be too full from dinner to enjoy dessert!  More often than not he's an ice cream man, but last night I thought I'd make him some homemade brownies.  After all, who doesn't love a good brownie!?! Anyone, anyone? Didn't think so.  If you click the brownie link it'll take you to Mark Bittman's actual recipe on Amazon!!
Melting Chocolate au Bain-Marie
First things first, you must melt the chocolate.  I chose to melt mine on the stove via double-broiler (au bain-marie en français!), but he did say that you can just pop the butter and chocolate in the microwave for 10 second intervals if you prefer.
Ooey Gooey Melted Chocolate
Once the butter and chocolate were fully melted I was left with this yummy ooey gooey chocolate, but I restrained myself from licking the bowl because I knew warm, chewy brownies were on the horizon.
A Chocolate Addict's Dream
VERDICT:  They were definitely chocolatey and fudgey, which I think was due to the fact that he advises you to under bake the brownies leaving the center slightly jiggly.  He also says that you should not rely on the toothpick test that we have all been taught from the moment we started baking because doing so would yield a cakey consistency rather than a chewy texture.  Personally, I think that next time I will bake them longer.  I like my brownies to have a crusty edge with a chewy center and I think that under baking them left them a little too underdone for my tastes.  Side note, have you seen that brownie baking pan that looks like a snake?!? Once the batter bakes up, all of the sides get that yummy crust eliminating the center crustless pieces all together...brilliant!!  I do think it'll be a winning recipe after just a few tweaks, not to mention these brownies were super easy to make.

So, how do you like your brownies?  Are you a chocoholic?  If so, you will love this recipe.  Oh and don't forget to check out the other books by Mark Bittman...they really are great go-tos for any cookbook library.  Until next time, have a great weekend and as always...

Happy Baking,
Dani xoxo