Barcelona Brownies

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Barcelona Brownies with Chocolate GanacheWhen I was offered a copy of Rose’s Heavenly Cakes, I jumped at the chance to take it. It’s written by Rose Levy Beranbaum (think The Cake Bible) so I knew would be filled with amazing recipes, and each recipe has a photo which is something I love. I hate not knowing what the finished product is supposed to look like. Another perk–she lists both volume and weight measurements in her cookbook!

I’ve already decided the next recipe I’m going to try is the Apple Caramel Charlotte because it is just so stunning. You can see a short video of Rose discussing her book and basic baking tips here. OK, on to the brownies.

If you’re a chocolate fan then these brownies are for you. They’re rich, yet light and moist and the ganache “plugs” are a delicious treat, but totally optional. If you don’t want to fill the inside with ganache you can always use it on top instead. The original recipe calls for a financier mold, but I used a mini muffin tin and it worked out just fine. I ended up with 24 brownies.

Photos of the process here.

Ganache Ingredients
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/3 cup heavy cream at room temperature

Brownie Ingredients
2/3 cup pecans, broken or chopped medium-coarse (I omitted these)
9 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, preferably no higher than 62% cocoa mass
6 scant tablespoons unsweetened cocoa, preferably fine quality Dutch-processed (I used Hershey)
3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 ounces cream cheese, cut in pieces
1/2 cup all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Ganache Preparation
Melt the chocolate in a microwave, using 15 seconds bursts on high power and stirring several times, or in a double boiler over hot but not simmering water, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and stir gently until the mixture is smooth and dark. If necessary (if the cream was too cold and the mixture not entirely smooth), return it to the heat until totally fluid and uniform in color.

Brownie Preparation

  1. Prepare financier molds, preferably silicone (I used mini muffin pans), with baking spray with flour or shortening and flour.
  2. 20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.
  3. Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool completely.
  4. In a double boiler over hot water or microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring 2 or 3 times.
  5. Beat in the cocoa, then the sugar, beating until it is incorporated. (If you are doing this by hand, use a whisk.) Beat in the eggs and vanilla. When incorporated, beat in the cream cheese until only small bits remain. Add the flour and salt and mix only until the flour is fully moistened. Stir in the nuts and scrape the batter into a piping bag or freezer-weight zipseal bag. (You can use a spoon but it’s a lot faster and easier to use a pastry bag or zipseal bag with one corner cut.) (I’m lazy and didn’t feel like cleaning the pastry bag so I used a small cookie scoop.)
  6. If using a silicone mold, set it on a baking sheet and pipe the batter into the cavities, filling them about three-quarters full (1.5 ounces/45 grams in each). With a small off-set spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth the tops.
  7. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the batter has set. The batter will puff and rise a little above the top of the cavities but sinks slightly on cooling. An instant read thermometer should register about 194 F. and if pressed lightly with a finger tip they will spring back.
  8. As soon as the brownies are removed from the oven, grease the end of a wooden chopstick or dowel (1/4 inch diameter) and insert it into the brownie, at 3 evenly-spaced intervals, all the way to the bottom, twisting slightly as you insert and withdraw it. Fill the holes with the ganache until slightly rounded above the surface of the brownie.
  9. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. The ganache will sink in as it cools and more ganache can be added, to fill in any depressions, as long as the brownie is still warm enough to melt it. (If necessary, you can set the brownies under a lamp to heat the ganache puddles and make them smooth.) If making the optional ganache plugs, allow it to sit at room temperature until the puddles are firm to the touch. Then invert the mold of if using silicone, push each out with your finger pressed against the bottom of the mold. (If not making the ganache the brownies can be removed after 10 minutes of cooling.)
  10. Store wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container: 1 week at room temperature, 1 month refrigerated, or several months frozen. Try eating them frozen or chilled if you like a chewy brownie, room temperature for a softer creamier texture.

Recipe adapted from Rose’s Heavenly Cakes.

Chocolate Brownies with Caramel Fleur de Sel Swirl

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Chocolate Brownies with Caramel Fleur de Sel SwirlWhomever first thought it was a good idea to marry chocolate, caramel, and sea salt deserves a hug. A HUGE HUG. Even a kiss. And some kind of foodie award. These brownies are amazing! They’re chewy and cakey (think box mix texture), sweet, gooey, and salty. In one word: PERFECT.

Make these now. You won’t regret it!

Note: If you prefer your brownies dense and fudgy, use this recipe and make sure to double the amount of caramel and sea salt.

Photos of the process here.

4 squares unsweetened chocolate (4 ounces)
1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
5.5 ounces thick caramel sauce (I used Smuckers hot caramel topping)
3/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-by-13-inch pan.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter over low heat in a large saucepan. Beat in sugar and eggs.
  3. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Stir dry ingredients into the chocolate mixture. Stir in nuts, if using.
  4. Pour half the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Drop half of the caramel sauce over the batter in dollops.
  5. Swirl into the batter. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon flaked sea salt. Pour the remaining batter over the caramel and spoon the remaining caramel sauce in dollops over the top. Swirl into the batter and sprinkle the remaining 1/2 teaspoon flaked sea salt over the top.
  6. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until the top has a dull crust and a slight imprint remains when touched lightly. Cool slightly and cut into squares.

Recipe adapted from

Outrageous Brownies

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Outrageous BrowniesI feel the need to first tell you that while halving the original recipe, I did more math than I have since my freshman year of college. If the US used weight rather than volume in cooking and baking like the rest of the world, halving recipes would be so much easier. And with that said…

The baking blog world as been proclaiming these the best brownies EVER EVER EVER for years now, so I figured it was time I try them for myself. They are super rich, incredibly moist, and have a great texture, but–and I know I’m in the minority here–they’re not my favorite. And they’re definitely not one bowl brownies like my go-to recipe. However, I bagged them up and gave them to friends and I don’t think anyone left even a crumb, so I know other people liked them.

Has anyone else tried these? What did you think?

Photos of the process here.

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
8 ounces plus 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tablespoons instant coffee powder (I omitted this)
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/8 cups sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour plus 1/8 cup, divided
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups diced walnut pieces (I omitted this)


  1. Preheat over 350 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9″ x 13″ baking dish.
  2. Melt together the butter, 8 ounces chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.
  3. Stir together 1/2 cup of the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 6 ounces of the chocolate chips with 1/8 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pan.
  4. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into squares.

Recipe adapted from Food Network.

The Baked Brownie

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The Baked BrownieA few weeks ago I had lunch with my friend Jenn who was kind enough to bring me some of the Baked brownies she had just made. Of course, as soon as I got home I ate one and stuck the rest in the freezer where they proceeded to stay for oh, two days. These brownies are so good, even straight out of the freezer!

This meant I needed to dust off my copy of the Baked cookbook that has been sitting on a shelf collecting dust. What better time to try a new recipe than when it’s 80 degrees outside? Yeah, that’s how good these brownies are. Mine were slightly underbaked so they were chewy and fudgy, but I’m not complaining!

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder (I used Hershey, shh don’t tell the Baked guys)
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely (I used semi-sweet chips, again, this is between you and me)
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp instant espresso powder (I omitted this)
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan. (I lined it with foil and sprayed with Pam.)
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.
  4. Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.
  5. Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
  6. Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.
  7. Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.
  8. Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.

Yields 24 brownies.

Recipe from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.

Fudgy Brownies

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Low Fat Fudgy BrowniesHi there! Remember me? I’m the one that used to bake all kinds of fat and calorie filled desserts and force my coworkers to taste them at 8:00 a.m., before they even got their first cup of coffee of the day.

Yeah, about that. I’m trying to lose weight. And I have no coworkers because I’m currently unemployed. And well, that combination makes it hard to make decadent desserts every week, because there’s no one to force feed two dozen brownies to on a regular basis. And I have no willpower, so keeping them in the house is out of the question. Duh.

Enter these brownies. They are chocolaty. And rich. And fudgy. But the best part? Around 100 calories and 3 grams of fat. And let me tell you, a little goes a long way. One of these brownies and I’m happy. OK fine, I ate the corner of a second one and immediately put the rest in the freezer. Remember that willpower thing I mentioned before? Still don’t have it.

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, American-style or Dutch-process
3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate (50-72% cacao), coarsely chopped, plus 2 1/2 ounces chopped into mini chip-size pieces (I chopped up some caramel-chocolate swirl chips), divided
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons light corn syrup blended with 3 tablespoons lukewarm water
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts (I omitted these)


  1. Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Line an 8-inch-square baking pan with foil, letting it overhang on two opposing sides (I used parchment). Coat with cooking spray.
  2. Sift flour, confectioners’ sugar and cocoa together into a small bowl. Combine the 3 ounces coarsely chopped chocolate and oil in a heavy medium saucepan; place over the lowest heat, stirring, until just melted and smooth, being very careful the chocolate does not overheat. Remove from the heat and stir in granulated sugar, corn syrup mixture, vanilla and salt until the sugar dissolves. Vigorously stir in egg until smoothly incorporated. Gently stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the walnuts (if using) and the remaining 2 1/2 ounces chopped chocolate just until well blended. Turn out the batter into the pan, spreading evenly.
  3. Bake the brownies until almost firm in the center and a toothpick inserted comes out with some moist batter clinging to it, 20 to 24 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack, about 2 1/2 hours (hahaha, that’s funny).
  4. Using the overhanging foil as handles, carefully lift the brownie slab from the pan. Peel the foil from the bottom; set the slab right-side up on a cutting board. Using a large, sharp knife, trim off any dry edges. Mark and then cut the slab crosswise into fifths and lengthwise into fourths. (In other words, cut the brownie slab into 20 pieces.) Wipe the blade with a damp cloth between cuts.

Recipe adapted from Eating Well.

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