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Oppss 06-01-2004 @ 9:53 AM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Dear Diana,

I made your Best-Ever Brownies for my co-workers last night.  The brownies came out pretty good.  However, I think they get "messed up" during the cutting process.  Since this brownies is kinda gooey, I am having problem to cut them cleanly and nicely.  As a result, the yummy brownies don't have a good outlook.   Can you teach my some tricks to cut the brownies?

What is the best substitution for bittersweet chocolate?  I substituted double chocolate for bittersweet chocolate as I failed to find bittersweet chocolate last night.  

Thank you very much!

Oppss

diana 06-01-2004 @ 11:42 AM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Hi Oppss,

Here is the way to cut "gooey" brownies or other types of gooey bars:

To cut brownies or squares that are soft or "gooey" in their pan, move the knife across the pan in an up and down sawing motion from one end to the other until they are cut. I often throw mine in the freezer until they are somewhat hardened if my brownies are particularly gooey; it helps make the cutting job easier. A hot knife will make the bars cut more easily. Before starting, dip the sharp knife in hot water and wipe with a dry kitchen towel. When cutting "gooey" brownies or a similar type of bar, try not to press down with the knife or the cut edges will squish together. They will also easily crack on top, too. After each cut, clean and warm the knife by dipping it in hot water and wiping with a dry kitchen towel before resuming.

Oppss, I hope this will help you out the next time you make these type of brownies.

As far as a substitution for bittersweet chocolate goes, I would suggest using semisweet chocolate, and if you can, add some unsweetened chocolate to it, or add a little unsweetened cocoa powder. This will give the semisweet chocolate a more bittersweet flavor.

Take care and good luck and please let me know if this works for you, ok.

Sincerely, Diana
Diana's Desserts

Oppss 06-01-2004 @ 12:43 PM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Thanks Diana!

I will try to put mine in the freezer, then use the warm knife to cut them next time.  Hopefully they will look nicer next time.   Smile

btw, all my colleagues love the brownies.  Thanks for sharing the recipe.

Talking about unsweetened cocoa powder....  I have a big container of the Ghirardelli sweet ground chocolate and cocoa.  Unfortunately recipes often call for the unsweetened ones.  Do you think I can still used the sweet ground chocolate and maybe reduce the amount of sugar in the recipe?  

Thanks again!

Oppss

diana 06-01-2004 @ 2:49 PM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Hi Oppss,

I suppose you could use the Ghirardelli sweet ground cocoa and reduce the sugar in the recipe, but if you can buy just regular unsweetened cocoa, I would use that.

By the way, where do you live? Are you in the United States?

I am so glad your colleagues love the brownies. It is a special recipe from famed chef and cookbook writer, Julia Child.

Let me know how your next batch of brownies turned out and what ingredients you decided to use, and if you used the Ghirardelli "sweet" cocoa.

Take care.

Sincerely, Diana
Diana's Desserts

Oppss 06-01-2004 @ 4:25 PM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Hi Diana,

I am in Southern California.   I go to the Bay Area pretty often, but just never been to Sonoma County.  Wink

What else can I do with the Ghirardelli sweet ground cocoa since recipes usually call for the unsweetend ones?  What a waste if I can't use the sweet on in baking....

Cheers,
Oppss

diana 06-01-2004 @ 8:13 PM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Hi Oppss,

You can always make real good hot chocolate with the Ghirardelli Sweet Cocoa, or I have a few recipes for you that use the Ghirardelli Sweet Cocoa.

Turtle Brownies

Makes 16 to 20 brownies

Ingredients:
2 eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted
3/4 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
2/3 cup unsifted flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Using a spoon, stir eggs with sugar and vanilla; add butter. Sift ground chocolate with flour, baking powder and salt. Stir into egg mixture; add nuts. Stir in chips. Spread into greased 8 or 9-inch square pan. Bake 20-30 minutes. For extra chewy brownies, use 8-inch pan and less baking time. For cake-like brownies, use 9-inch pan and longer baking time. Cut into squares.

Caramel Pecan Topping
3/4 cup granulated sugar
pinch of salt
1/3 cup light corn syrup
3 tablespoons water
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecans, chopped (6 oz.)

Once brownie is baked and cooled, in a 3-quart saucepan bring sugar, corn syrup, water and salt to a boil until it turns a golden caramel. Remove pan from heat and slowly add cream and vanilla. Quickly stir in pecans, pour over brownie layer. Cool on rack. Chill brownies, covered, until caramel is firm. (2 hours)

Devil's Food Cake with Mocha Buttercream Frosting

Makes 12 Servings

BATTER
2 cups flour
1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 cup butter, softened
4 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

FROSTING
4 ounces Unsweetened Chocolate, broken into 1-inch pieces
2 teaspoons granulated instant coffee
2 tablespoons boiling water
2/3 cup butter
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Grease the bottoms of two 8- or 9-inch round cake pans and line with waxed paper. In a large mixing bowl, combine the flour, ground chocolate, granulated sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar, and salt. Add 1 cup of the buttermilk and the butter. Beat on medium for 2 minutes. Add the remaining 1/2 cup of buttermilk, the eggs, and the vanilla extract. Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake 30 to 45 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean when inserted into the cake’s center. Cool on a wire rack for 10 to 15 minutes. Remove cakes from the pans, discard the waxed paper, and transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.

To make the frosting, melt the chocolate pieces in a double boiler over hot, but not boiling, water. Stir occasionally until the chocolate is smooth. Dissolve the instant coffee granules in the boiling water. Stir the coffee mixture into the chocolate, remove from the heat, and set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter until fluffy. Gradually add the confectioners’ sugar, milk, and vanilla extract, mixing until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and mix until well combined. Frost the cake.

Tiramisu

Makes 15 Servings

Ingredients:
12 ounces mascarpone cheese* (see note below)
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa
1/3 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 cup coffee-flavored liqueur
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt (optional)
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tablespoons water
2 teaspoons powered instant espresso coffee
6 ounces ladyfingers (about 2 dozen), halved

In a large mixing bowl, beat the mascarpone,
6 tablespoons of the ground chocolate, 1/4 cup of the confectioners’ sugar, 1/4 cup of the liqueur, 1 teaspoon of the vanilla extract, and the salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

In a small bowl beat 1 cup of the whipping cream until stiff peaks form. Fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture.

In another small bowl, combine the remaining 1/4 cup liqueur, the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, the water, and the espresso powder. Line a 2 1/2-quart glass or crystal bowl with one fourth of the ladyfingers; brush with 2 tablespoons of the espresso mixture. Spoon 1/3 of the mascarpone mixture over the ladyfingers. Repeat, making 2 more layers of ladyfingers brushed with the espresso mixture and topped with the mascarpone mixture. Top with the remaining ladyfingers, gently pressing them into the cheese mixture. Brush the ladyfingers with the remaining espresso mixture. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon of ground chocolate over the top.

In a small mixing bowl, beat the remaining 1/2 cup whipping cream and the remaining confectioners’ sugar until stiff peaks form. Spoon the whipped cream into a decorating bag with a large star-shaped tip. Pipe large rosettes on top of the dessert. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of ground chocolate on the rosettes. Chill at least 2 hours.

*Note:
If you cannot find mascarpone cheese, substitute 16 ounces of softened cream cheese and 3 tablespoons of milk. Beat on medium until smooth and fluffy. Add 6 tablespoons of the ground chocolate, 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar, 3 tablespoons coffee-flavored liqueur, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, and omit the salt; set aside. Continue as the recipe directs.


Empress Chocolate Cake With Frosting

Makes one 8-inch layer cake

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 cup Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 cup buttermilk
2 each eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Instructions:
Cake:
In a mixer bowl, sift flour with Ground Chocolate, sugar, baking soda, cream of tartar and salt. Add shortening and 3/4 cup buttermilk. Beat on low speed to combine ingredients. Beat on low-medium speed for 2 minutes. Add 1/4 cup buttermilk, eggs, vanilla. Beat additional 2 minutes. Line 2 (8 x 1 1/2 inch) round cake pans with waxed paper. Spread batter into pans. Bake at 350º F for 30-35 minutes. Cool on racks 10-15 minutes; remove from pans.

Empress Frosting:
1/3 cup half and half
1/2 cup butter, cut up
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 cups Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate & Cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In 2 qt. heavy saucepan, heat half and half with butter and sugar, stirring until blended. Add Ground Chocolate, mixing with wire whisk until smooth. Heat on medium low until mixture is thick and shiny and runs off the spoon like syrup and the first bubble appears on the surface (160º F). Do not boil or overcook frosting. Cool 5 minutes, then add vanilla. Place pan of frosting in bowl holding a tray of ice cubes and some water. Beat slowly with a spoon until frosting holds a shape. Makes frosting for an 8 inch layer cake.

Oppss, these are really nice desserts and you'll also be able to use your Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate and Cocoa making them.

Good Luck, and please let me know how it all goes.

Take care.

Sincerely, Diana
Diana's Desserts

Marriz 06-02-2004 @ 4:24 AM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Hi Oppss... What I  do, I cover a wide knife (something like a butchers knife!) with plastic wrap. Sometimes I use a "dough scraper", the one I use when kneading dough, putting clear plastic on it. You can secure the edges with wide transparent tape. It works well.

For the love of baking,

Oppss 06-02-2004 @ 8:34 AM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Diana~
Thanks for the recipes.  I will definitely try them out.     Smile

Marriz~

Thanks for sharing the trick with me.  Is the idea of covering the knife with plastic wrap to avoid stratching the cake pan too?

Thank you very much!!

Marriz 06-02-2004 @ 7:48 PM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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You got it!!  Playful Wink

For the love of baking,

starr1 08-28-2004 @ 5:10 PM                           Reply to this Discussion   Edit This Message   Delete This Message.
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Thank you, D, for those Ghirardelli recipes -they sound so good! I justlove Ghirardelli  chocolate!

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