Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Alice Medrich's Cocoa Brownies

The cocoa makes them quite dark and my poor photography skills didn't help either!

This was a fabulous recipe find. The last time I tried it, it was with castor sugar. This time round I chose to use light and dark brown sugar instead. It turned out less sweet and gooey than before with a defined bittersweet chocolate flavour but still as good. The Toad liked it and I was happy that this tweaked recipe wouldn't increase his blood sugar too much.

Alice Medrich's Cocoa Brownies

140g butter
170g light brown sugar
80g dark brown sugar
80g good quality dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
65g plain flour
  1. Preheat the oven at about 130 Celsius. Line an 8' x 8' square baking tin with foil overhanging on the sides for easy lift after the brownies have baked and cooled.
  2. In a heavy-based saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Remove pan from the stove.
  3. Stir in both sugars, cocoa, salt and vanilla. Mixture will look grainy.
  4. Check the sides of the pan. If it's warm to the touch and you can place your palm on the side, the eggs are ready to go in.
  5. Add eggs one by one, beating vigorously after each addition. The mixture will come together to look smooth and glossy.
  6. Fold flour in gently until it disappears into the mixture.
  7. Pour the mixture into the lined baking tin. Smoothen it out in the tin.
  8. Bake at 155 Celsius until the top has a 'crackle' effect and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. About 25 - 30 minutes. 
Be careful not to overbake this or the brownies will taste and smell a little burnt. I've changed the method of mixing the brownies to suit my laziness and do it all in the one saucepan. I don't even bother sieving the flour. Sigh. Easy recipes with not too many ingredients and fantastic results are what I like. No slaving over the hot stove for me.

If you'd like to try out the original recipe, you can find it at The Wednesday Chef. Luisa Weiss has posted measurements both in cups and metric.

Oooops... I almost forgot to say that I got the flower and circular shapes, by simply cutting the brownies with pastry cutters. The texture of this brownie makes it easy to cut with the cutters. You'll have scraps to eat up though, which won't be pretty but will still be as delicious!

Friday, 16 September 2011

Majulah Singapura!

Yes, I was there during the Presidential Elections. Yes, I was happy to see a wave of change sweep through our neighbouring nation. Yes, it was a wonderful holiday filled with food and family. Yes, I had some lovely food i.e. homemade stringhoppers with curried chicken; homemade roti jala with kheema; perfectly marinated lamb cutlets; gorgeous roast chicken with bacon; melt-in-the-mouth curry puffs; a luscious lemon meringue tart; the largest profiterole I've ever seen; a sublime mixed berry and apple crumble; and last but not least the most outstanding ice-cream I've ever had - Waitrose's Carribean Rum & Raisin - which was boozy, moreish and simply magical.

Here are some photos of food from my holiday (only the ones I bothered to take photos of... hehehehehehe) and a recipe to try.

Profiterole from Food for Thought

Mixed Berry and Apple Crumble from Food for Thought

Coffee Cake and Rock Buns, which I baked

Curry Puff from a shop in the basement of Takashimaya

Coffee Cake

4 ounces self-raising flour
4 ounces castor sugar
4 ounces salted butter, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of your favourite instant coffee dissolved in 2 tablespoons of hot full cream milk
2 tablespoons full cream milk
  1. Preheat oven at 120 degrees Celsius.Grease and line a smallish baking tin of your preference.
  2. Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
  3. Add in eggs one by one mixing well after each addition.
  4. Add in vanilla and coffee/milk mixture and beat until just combined.
  5. Gently fold in the flour by hand.
  6. Gently fold in the additional milk by hand until well combined into the cake batter.
  7. Pour into baking tin.
  8. Bake for about 25 - 30 minutes at 160 degrees Celsius or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  9. Remove cake from the oven and let it stand in the tin for about 10 minutes.
  10. Turn cake out onto a wire rack and let it cool completely.