Sunday, March 11, 2012

Chocolate Revelations: Mounds of Brownies

Today I welcome Cece Brune, cookbook author and mystery reader. Always love when my worlds of mystery and chocolate collide. Cece shares Baking and Chocolate tips and a recipe for Mounds of Brownies.

Cece Brune: 
Chocolate Revelations 

I was delighted that Janet asked me to submit a guest post. I love CHOCOLATE and I am a mystery reader…a wonderful intersection of her blogging. I also maintain two blogs; www.texasjot.blogspot.com and www.yourfashionplate.blogspot.com. Texas Jot is about my life in Texas (and my reading list) and Fashion Plate has recipes and retro Barbie fashions that I have been designing for my grand-daughter. I am the author of Texas Manners: A Guide to Gracious Living, an avid quilter and have an Etsy store. I hope you enjoy my baking tips and recipe for Mounds of Brownies. My cookbooks are available on the blogs or at www.chocolatecrimes.com

Mystery of the 9x13-inch Pan

As the author of two cookbooks, Chocolate Crimes and Chocolate Rehab, I spend an inordinate amount of time in my kitchen. While researching for my first cookbook, I stumbled upon the mystery of the 9x13-inch pan. If you started baking in the 1960’s, you probably have a Pyrex pan that measures 7 ¼ x11 inches. Maybe you have one from the 1980’s measuring 7 ½ by 12 inches. If you are a modern baker, you probably own a real 9x13-inch pan.

Despite the dimension change of the “9x13-inch” pan, there has been no recipe adjustment over the years. If your mom’s recipe is over-cooking in your modern-day size pan, reduce the baking time by five minutes and check at one minute intervals to achieve your prime result.

Most of my recipes will work in any size “9x13” pan, but occasionally there is one that I indicate must be made in the full-size pan.

Who Lied About the Microwave?

I do own a double boiler, but I have found that melting chocolate in the microwave is faster and makes less mess. JUST GO SLOWLY. Even though the chocolate may look like it is still formed in a solid piece, give it a stir to see how soft it has become. Be sure to use a high heat spatula. (Yes, I’ve melted three of the other kind.) White chocolate is a little more temperamental, but it will work if you are patient. The safest method for melting chocolate is to put the chocolate (white or dark) in a glass bowl on a heating pad and let it melt while you are doing something else. It is also a good way to keep chocolate at the correct temperature for dipping or drizzling.

Passion in My Pantry

With chocolate, you get what you pay for and the difference will show up on your taste buds. In some recipes, a generic chocolate won’t make much difference. When chocolate is the featured performer, you will be happy that you used a premium chocolate bar.

For years I baked exclusively with Hershey’s cocoa powder, but if you want a real chocolate jolt, try European dark cocoa. It makes a jet black frosting, so don’t go overboard.

I have numerous recipes that call for mocha powder/espresso. You can use any brand you like. You’ll be surprised at what a boost this gives chocolate items without imparting any coffee flavor. Finally, I must divulge the truth about white chocolate. Unless you purchase a product containing cocoa butter, your “white chocolate” is just sweet white stuff, guilty of impersonation.

Mounds of Brownies
Cut these into tiny pieces. They are so rich—one bite is all you need. I make these for cookbook signings and they are a crowd favorite.

Cream:
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (one stick) butter
1½ cups granulated sugar

Until combined. Add:
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt

Beat until smooth. Add:
1 cup flour

Place in 9x13 inch pan and bake at 350° for 27 minutes.

Remove from oven and top with a mixture of:
14 ounces sweetened condensed milk
2¼ cups shredded coconut

Return to oven and bake 20 more minutes. Top with chocolate icing.

Icing
In microwave, melt:
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate

for 1 minute. Add:

½ cup whipping cream
1 cup confectioners’ sugar

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the information about the high heat spatula. I did not know they existed.

I will show this to my wife and I know she will make these for me. Brownies and a tall glass of cold milk is as good as it gets!

yummychunklet said...

Very helpful guest post!

Spencer said...

Looks absolutely delicious! I would love to try some.