Posts Tagged ‘Chocolate Brownies’

Chocolate Brownies

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique
Author of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, Running Press, 2011

Brownie a la ModeIs there actually anyone out there that doesn’t love a great brownie? The key word there is “great.” There are so many brownie mixes on the market that many people have gone away from even trying to make them from scratch. A really great brownie—usually nothing more than melted chocolate, butter, sugar, eggs and some cocoa, all lightly mixed together with a bit of flour—is a decadent, luscious, yet simple treat. And… the brownie is one of America’s favorite desserts.

BrowniesThe brownie was born right here in the U.S. of A. We just aren’t quite sure when or where, although evidence points to somewhere in New England in the first few years of the 20th century. Although it is baked in a cake pan, the brownie is classified as a bar rather than a cake. There are literally thousands of recipes, both “cake” and “fudge” types. Both are perfectly correct—and delicious.

The brownie got its name from its dark brown color. But as with most foods, the origin of the brownie is shrouded in myth, even though it is a relatively recent entry to the food pantheon, first appearing in print in the early 20th century. The legends are told variously: a chef mistakenly added melted chocolate to a batch of biscuits…a cook was making a cake but didn’t have enough flour. One tells of a housewife in Maine who was making a chocolate cake but forgot to add the leavening. When her cake didn’t rise properly, instead of tossing it out, she cut and served the flat bars. That theory, however, relies on a cookbook published in 1912, six years after the first chocolate brownie recipe was published by America’s most famous cookbook author of the time, Fannie Farmer, in 1906.

Boston Cooking School CookbookThe actual “inventor” will most likely never be known, but here’s what we do know: The first-known recipe for brownies I found was in the 1897 Sears, Roebuck Catalogue, but this was a recipe for a molasses confection merely called brownies. Larousse Gastronomique, regarded by many as the ultimate cooking reference, writes that a recipe for brownies first appeared in the 1896 The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book, written by Fannie Farmer—American Century Cookbookbut that recipe was for a cookie-type confection that was also colored and flavored with molasses and made in fluted marguerite molds. However, as verified by Jean Anderson in The American Century Cookbook: The Most Popular Recipes Of The 20th Century, the two earliest published recipes for chocolate brownies appeared in Boston-based cookbooks—the first in a second edition of The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.

Brownie BatterMost boxed brownies mixes will never be able to compare or even come close to a homemade brownie, made from quality ingredients and most importantly real melted chocolate. I don’t know about you, but when I read the list of ingredients for my brownies (or any other foods), I would much rather read a list like bittersweet chocolate, cocoa, butter, vanilla, salt, and flour than something that includes any words that I can’t even pronounce, let alone have a clue to what they are. I don’t believe in better living through chemistry.

Choclatique Double Dark Chocolate Brownie MixA great brownie doesn’t even have to involve having a mixer. If you have a couple of bowls, a whisk, a rubber spatula and a little bit of time, homemade brownies can be yours in minutes. You don’t have to be a professional baker or have a mix to prepare basic, delicious, baked goods.

BrowniesThe real keys to successful baking from scratch are simple and finite—use the best quality ingredients you can get your hands on and follow the directions.

You can find one of my basic brownie recipes here or purchase a bag of Ebony Dark Chocolate Pastilles or Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix, made with real chocolate-of course.

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Top 5 Reasons to Celebrate… with Chocolate!

Friday, July 2nd, 2010

— Joan Vieweger, Co-Founder of Choclatique

These days, with so much doom and gloom in the news and our nation’s leaders and representatives bickering like spoiled children, we need to find more reasons to celebrate each and every day. Here at Choclatique, we celebrate with chocolate, of course!

Bald Eagle#5… It’s our birthday! Our country turns 234 on July 4th… seems like a great big chocolate birthday cake is in order, right? A Coca-Cola® Chocolate Cake1 sounds perfect. What could be more all-American than that? Happy Birthday, America!

Frozen Custard Stand#4… Those lazy, hazy, crazy days of summer! Nat King Cole got it right with the soda, pretzels and beer, but where was the custard? I’m a Milwaukee girl; growing up our summers always included plenty of trips to Gillesor Kopp’s Frozen Custard stands and I’ve spread the word like an evangelist. So much so that Ed was inspired to create Deep Dark Chocolate Frozen Custard1.

Vuvuzelas#3… No more mandatory vuvuzela! While it might be a bit sad that America is no longer in the running for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, I think we can all celebrate not having to endure the maddening reverberations of the vuvuzela with Intoxicating Chocolate Peanut Butter & Jelly Shots1.

3-D Glasses#2… 3-D technology has gone mainstream! Not that long ago, 3-D movies were travelogue-type documentaries released every couple of years to be viewed at a handful of theaters across the country. Today any number of movies are playing in 3-D at our neighborhood theaters and soon we’ll be watching all of our favorite TV shows in 3-D, too. Celebrate with 3-D Chocolate Filled Pancakes1!

Ed's Best "Got Milk?" BrowniesAnd the #1 reason to celebrate… the book is finished and off to the editor!! Here at Choclatique, we’re definitely celebrating the completion of Ed Engoron’s Choclatique… Ed’s new chocolate adventure book coming out next year! Filled with the most wonderful chocolate recipes you’ll ever dream of and an array of exciting and exhilarating exploits and escapades, this is definitely not your mother’s cookbook. So join us… we’re celebrating with a pan of Ed’s Best “Got Milk?” Chocolate Brownies1!

1Recipe from Ed Engoron’s Choclatique, coming soon (2011) from Running Press.

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Gourmet Chocolate Gifts For The Holidays

Monday, October 19th, 2009

— Ed Engoron, Co-Founder of Choclatique

Christmas, Chanukah and Kwanza… I know it’s really early, but I was in a department store over the weekend and I saw Christmas decorations going up in the middle of October. I am old enough to remember when people gave of themselves before they gave of Mr. Macy and Mr. Bloomingdale.

Freshly Baked Goods

This was the time when gifts were very personal—things we made or freshly-baked with our own hands. It seems like America was quite a different place back then where it would have been unseemly to give a gift certificate instead of a tin of homemade chocolate fudge brownies or shop for a gift on Black Friday instead spending the day after Thanksgiving with family and friends.

Not only are home-baked chocolate gifts more personal than store bought ones, but they’re easier on your wallet, too. And, this year that’s very important for many people who are finding financial circumstances difficult. Why not share the joy of home-baked chocolate gifts with your friends around the holidays this year or any time of year? So, head for the kitchen, adorn one another with aprons, fire-up the mixer and light the oven, and begin to rediscover the fun of home baking.

Money

I was baking well before I was making gourmet chocolate. My family has always given home-baked goodies not just as gifts to show good will, but to show our love during the holidays to those around us. So every year, I bake and bake and then deliver fresh-baked presents to family, neighbors, friends and co-workers. We make sure to bake a little extra for the postman, the doctor’s office, work, etc. This way everyone feels special and not forgotten and we haven’t burned a hole in our wallets.

Let’s face it… there is really nothing better than the buttery goodness and rich chocolaty flavor of fresh hot-out-of-the-oven holiday brownies, muffins, cupcakes and cookies.

Baking

Baking is really not difficult at all. If you can read and follow a recipe, you can bake. If using a mix makes you feel more comfortable, then by all means use a mix. You can always make small adjustments in what you are baking as long as you don’t disrupt the balance of the base ingredients.

Needless to say my four favorites all start with chocolate—Chocolate, Chocolate Brownies; Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins, Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chocolate Cupcakes. With or without a mix they’re easy to make, always delicious to eat, and you can’t go wrong with fine chocolate.

Chocolate Cake

Here are a couple of my holiday chocolate baking secrets. It makes no difference if you’re baking from scratch or from a store-bought mix, you can make your holiday baking more chocolaty by adding a couple of tablespoons of chocolate syrup, chocolate ganache or 3 tablespoons of ground chocolate. With the latter, I like to use a ground chocolate that’s at least 60% cacao (Choclatique Private Reserve Dark (64%) is perfect)—not ground chocolate chips. Any of these three ingredients give your chocolate cake a richer, more chocolaty flavor.

If you’re looking for more of a dark “blackout-style” chocolate cake, add ¼ cup of dark alkalized cocoa in place of ¼ of flour. In the case of a mix add 2 to 3 tablespoons of water with the cocoa.

If a pre-measured, fool-proof mix is what you prefer for baking, then let me recommend one of Choclatique’s new baking mixes. You can bake them up yourself (we’ll never tell anyone they’re from a mix and they’ll never know) and bring them over as a fresh-baked gift or you can give a bag of our mix as a great gift and have the recipient bake them at their leisure.

Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix

Brownie

If you like chocolate you will really love our rich, old-fashioned Double Dark Chocolate Brownie Mix. They are made with whole wheat flour and a blend of Choclatique’s Private Reserve 64% finely ground chocolate, Red (Rouge) Cocoa Powder, and dark, Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips. You will have fresh-baked Brownies with a crisp-baked crown with a chewy, fudgy center in just about 30 minutes that will leave your friends and family begging for more. Makes 8 to 12 brownies.

Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins

Chocolate Muffin

Fresh, hot-out-of-the-oven muffins are always a special treat, especially when they’re chocolate! Double Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Muffins are light and fluffy yet intensely rich with chocolate flavor, and they easily prepared and ready to eat in only 20 minutes. They’re great for Sunday brunch, school or church bake sales, or to add some “special love” to a take-along lunch. Makes 6 jumbo, 12 regular, or 24 mini-muffins.

Ed’s Best Chocolate Chunk Cookie Mix

Chocolate Chip Cookies

This very special cookie recipe comes from my stash of favorite chocolate recipes. Ed’s Best Chocolate, Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix is a blend of whole wheat flour, ground chocolate, premium cocoa powders, brown sugar, and the secret ingredient—ground oatmeal. The finished cookies have a crispy outer crust and a cakey with a buttery texture center. Of course, they are loaded with Choclatique chocolate chips. Makes 24 cookies.

Almost Famous Chocolate Cupcake Mix

Cupcake

If you’re looking for a fun, informal and easy way to serve a special dessert for any occasion, then you’ll absolutely love our Almost Famous Chocolate Cupcakes. They’re superior to any store-bought cupcakes, and are super-easy to bake, frost and decorate at home. Almost Famous Chocolate Cupcakes are light in texture with a strong chocolate intensity. They are perfect any time, for any occasion. Almost Famous Chocolate Cupcake Mix is made with a blend of premium cocoa powders and ground chocolate. Makes 12 regular cupcakes.

Chocolate Ganache Frosting Mix

Chocolate Ganache Frosting

Top them all off with our Chocolate Ganache Frosting. Our Chocolate Ganache frosting is rich and luscious and perfect for topping brownies, muffins and cupcakes. It is even perfect for making a chocolate chip cookie sandwich filling. It just takes minutes to make.

All 5 Choclatique Baking Mixes are packaged in gold bags (great for chocolate gift giving). Buy one or all five and keep them handy for those “just-gotta-have-a-fresh-baked-chocolate-something” moments. Choclatique baking mixes also make great housewarming, shower and birthday gifts, or a not-so-subtle hint that you’d love some fresh-baked chocolate goodies tonight.

Holiday Gifts

So make the time in your schedule and open up your heart to home-baked chocolate gifts this year. Everyone will be talking about your great freshly-baked goods for months to come and asking for more.

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