Recipe: rocky road brownies
No – not the way Cartman refers to… I’m talking about literally making brownies.
Never really satisfied with that earlier experiment of fudgy versus chewy brownies, I was flipping through some old issues of Chocolatier the other day and found brownie recipes worthy of a kitchen test. In my youth (back in 1994) I subscribed to Chocolatier because I liked baking with chocolate. I found I was mostly in over my head with that magazine. I tried again in 2000 and the same thing happened. Mind you, their other publication is Pastry Art and Design, if that’s any hint. I’m glad I hung on to those issues though, because now that I have perused the recipes, the three truffle (most difficult) ratings look to be on par with the more advanced stuff I did in pastry class. I mean to say – they are now within my ability level, and that feels pretty good!
marshmallows dusted in flour and cocoa
I’ve always had a hate-hate relationship with brownies because the majority of recipes call for cocoa powder and little to no solid chocolate. I personally don’t consider those to be brownies. I don’t really like brownies, but I have this notion in my head of what a real brownie is: dense, dark, moist, heavy, very chocolaty… decadent. So I tried three recipes today: rocky road, dark chocolate, and cream cheese. Cream cheese brownies are actually a recipe from Baker’s chocolate, but I made an adjustment for our elevation which improved the brownies tremendously over the last several attempts.
rocky road brownie batter ready for the oven
Chocolatier is written for pastry people – for people who pay attention to detail and are a little (or a lot) obsessive about it. DON’T whisk the eggs and sugar too much or the incorporated air will destroy the texture. DO sift your dry ingredients TWICE and DON’T overmix. DON’T mix the chocolate and butter while hot. DO exercise patience and let the brownies cool completely and DO refrigerate them in the pan for two hours before cutting. Most folks would dig in the minute they’re out of the oven, but most folks aren’t worried about presentation and delivery. I’m not most folks.
dark chocolate brownie batter – thick and glossy the way it should be
cream cheese brownie batter
I like brownie batter to be thick and loaded so that you have to cram it into the corners of the pan because it won’t go of its own accord. My elevation adjustments leave out leavening, reduce the sugar, and add a little flour. I made four batches of brownies (a double of the cream cheese) and they all came out great. I think they could use a little more cooking, but that’s a tough call because the edges get a little dried out and I think a good edge is more important that a slightly gooey center.
cream cheese brownie, dark chocolate brownie, rocky road brownie
rocky road is made with macadamia nuts
So preliminary taste testers Jeremy, Tom and Kellie, and Marcus and the kids (as I refuse to eat a single one right now) seem to like them all. However when forced to rank them, Jeremy’s favorite is the rocky road. Tom sort of mmm mmm mmmm and mmm’d through all three types so that was a little inconclusive.
Since I modified the Rocky Road recipe from Chocolatier’s Chunky Coconut and Macadamia Nut Brownies (November 2000), I’ll give you my version for sea level:
Rocky Road Kick Ass Brownies
1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/4 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
10 large marshmallows, cut into 8ths
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid (use gentle heat)
4 large eggs
2 cups superfine sugar
2 tsps pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped macadamia nuts (plus extra for topping)
Preheat oven to 325°F. Grease a 9x9x2-inch pan with butter or nonstick spray. Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt on a sheet of wax paper. Toss the marshmallow pieces with 2 teaspoons the sifted mixture (you will need to pull the sticky guys apart to coat each one individually). Whisk melted butter and melted chocolate in mixing bowl until well-combined. In a large mixing bowl, whisk eggs for 1 minute. Add sugar and whisk for 45 seconds until just incorporated (do not whisk in air). Blend in the butter-chocolate mixture. Blend in the vanilla. Sift the flour mixture over the wet ingredients and slowly stir it in until flour is absorbed. Stir in the marshmallows and mac nuts. Pour batter into baking pan and smooth. Sprinkle extra mac nuts on top. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until set. Cool brownies completely in pan. Refrigerate brownies for 2 hours. Cut brownies into serving sizes.