Drizzled with White Chocolate
A Brownie is a flat baked square or bar invented in the US and originally designed as a dessert. It’s a cross between a cake and a cookie. Brownies come in many forms, but the three main forms are: cakey, fudgy and chewy. Cake-like brownies have less butter, more flour, a bit of baking powder and the butter is often creamed with sugar (creaming incorporates air). This results in softer and lighter brownies that are flaky and tend to crumble. Fudge-like brownies: have less flour and are made from melted butter, resulting in a thick and dense texture. Chewy-brownies: have more egg and semi-sweet chocolate, which gives a chewy and rich texture.
The basic ingredients in brownies are: butter, sugar, eggs, chocolate and flour. To these basic ingredients can be added: nuts like pecans, walnuts, almonds, macadamia; dried fruits like dates, prunes, sultanas, raisins, cherries, desiccated coconut, blueberries, cranberries; chocolate: dark chocolate, milk chocolate, mint chocolate, German sweet chocolate, white chocolate; dairy products: milk, sour cream, cream cheese, buttermilk, sweetened condensed milk, candy: caramel, M&M’s, candy canes; liqueur/Alcohol : Bailey’s Irish cream or Kahlua, Amarula, brandy, beer; and other ingredients like cocoa, coffee, butterscotch chips, marshmallows, peanut butter, golden syrup, Oreo. The omission of chocolate in the basic ingredients and substitution with brown sugar results in what we call Blondie, because it looks blonde and not brown.
Brownies can be made plain or topped with sugar, sprinkles or various frostings. The frosting is basically made from: confectioners (icing sugar) mixed with butter and other ingredients like chocolate, cocoa, peanut butter, egg, sour cream, cream cheese. There are also healthy versions of brownies to which ingredients like oatmeal, raisins, figs, black beans, flax seeds or unsweetened cocoa powder are added.
According to Wikipedia, there are three main myths about the creation of the brownie. The first, that a chef accidentally added melted chocolate to biscuit dough. The second, a cook forgot to add flour to the batter. And thirdly, the most popular belief, that a housewife did not have baking powder and improvised with this new treat. It was said that she was baking for guests and decided to serve these flattened cakes to them. This became our beloved treat of today. Whatever may be the case; all three myths have gained popularity throughout the years due to its mysterious beginnings. Whatever the myth or reason for their creation, I want to share with a recipe I got from Womans Own Cakes and Bakes. I hope you will like it. My children loved it!!!
Preparation time: 30 minutes + 40 minutes waiting time; Baking time: 40-45 minutes; Makes: 20 slices
Original Recipe from Womans Own Cakes and Bakes
- 225g (1¾ cup, 8oz, 2 sticks ) butter or margarine
- 100g (3½oz) plain chocolate, chopped
- 400g (14oz, 1⅔ cup ) sugar
- 4 large eggs
- 185g (1½ cups, 6½oz) all-purpose (plain) flour
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (extract)
- ½ teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter)
- 85g (3oz) milk chocolate, chopped
- 85g (3oz) pecans, chopped
- 75g dates, chopped and soaked in 2 tablespoons boiling water
Ingredients for the topping
- 50 (2oz) plain chocolate
- 25g (1oz) butter or margarine
- 90g (3½oz) icing (confectioners) sugar, sieved
- 30-45ml (2-3 tablespoons) light cream or milk
- 50g (2oz) white chocolate, melted just before using, for drizzling on the brownies
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) 10 minutes before baking. Grease and line a 13x 9 inch (33 x 23cm) baking pan (tin) with parchment or lightly oiled greaseproof paper.
- Place butter or margarine and plain chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Heat gently, stirring occasionally, until melted. Remove bowl, from heat, stir in granulated sugar. Allow to cool, 10 minutes.
- Beat in eggs one at a time, beating well until incorporated, before adding the next one.
- Add sifted flour and vanilla essence (and salt if using) all at once and fold in using a metal spoon.
- Add chocolate, pecans and dates and stir, until just combined. Pour mixture into prepared tin (pan) and bake 40-45 minutes until a skewer or toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
- Place cake tin (pan) on cooling rack. Allow to cool, completely before making the topping.
- To make topping: melt the plain chocolate and butter in a bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, stirring occasionally. Remove bowl from heat, add sieved icing sugar and whisk until smooth. Add sufficient cream to give a spreading consistency, then spread over the top of cake. Leave to set, 30 minutes. Cut into 20 portions, and then transfer individually onto a rack.
- Melt white chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water until smooth. Remove from heat then drizzle over the brownies using a spoon or a fork. Leave to set completely, before serving.
- **I weigh the flour and butter. I do not use cup measures. The weight of a cup of flour tends to vary based on individual interpretation, publication and size of cup used (from 125g to 130g to 155g per cup)
- Cup measures based on 1 cup = 125g flour so that would be the US cup of 237ml, not the Australian Cup.
Points to note:
- Please note that oven temperatures are given as a guideline only. You may need to add or reduce the suggested temperature depending on your oven. I baked the brownies at 350°F (175°C) for 45 minutes.
- I always weigh ingredients, especially the flour and butter. You can use cup measures, but please note if you scoop flour directly from the bag you will end up with 150-185 g of flour instead of the recommended 125g. I suggest you spoon the flour into the cup, heaping it up over the top, then slide a knife across the top to level off the extra. Be careful not to shake or tap the cup to settle down the flour or you will have more than you need. You can also sift the flour first then scoop. Best advice: use a weighing scale, you’ll get the best results.