Do you ever wonder how you got so into something? I was only thinking this the other day and wondered how I got into baking.
Baking is a kitchen magic performing art. There is no denying about that. Seriously, think about it, all breads and cakes came from flour, eggs, oily agent, and other stuff. Singularly every element in a baking recipe do not do anything and are pretty much useless, but together they became magical and delicious!
I was fortunate to discover the magic early in my life through Mama’s “Roti Keju” (cheese bread) and Grandma’s famous (in her church and family circle) “Brownies”. I have such fond memories when it comes to these two baked goods, but my focus in this particular post would be the chocolate brownie.
What is a “Brownie” exactly?
Quoting a Wikipedia post on this:
“A chocolate brownie is a flat, baked square or bar introduced in the United States at the end of the nineteenth century and popularized in both the U.S. and Canada during the first half of the twentieth century. The brownie is sliced from a type of dense, rich chocolate cake, which is, in texture, like a cross between a cake and a cookie. Brownies come in a variety of forms. They are either fudgy or cakey, depending on their density, and they may include nuts, frosting, whipped cream, chocolate chips, or other ingredients. A variation that is made with brown sugar and no chocolate is called a blondie.”
Grandma Doris’s brownies recipe was the ‘mother’ of all variation that I came up with after that. For the sake of authenticity, I had wanted to give you the exact recipe as it was told to me. Unfortunately, like many recipes you inherit from someone (who can make it in their sleep), the measurement is always a little bit on the hazy side.
After much trial and error, I believe the following recipe is the closest adaptation I could offer to make it as moist, dark and chocolatey, to a point of being sticky, rich and addictive as Grandma’s… follow it closely, use a little bit of science logic and play with some elements to make it your own! (Replace pecan with walnut? Yes! Replace chocolate chip with marshmallow? No! Unless you want to end up with a fudge)
Basic Brownies a la Tari
1.5 sticks/340 grams butter
1 cup cocoa (my preferred brand is van houten)
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp rum* (optional)
1 cup flour
1 cup chocolate chips/walnuts/pecans/raisin/dates/macadamia** (anything that strikes your fancy)
1. Preheat oven at 180C, grease 1 25x25cm baking pan (or you can use non-stick baking pan with cooking sheet at the bottom)
2. Melt butter in a saucepan when it’s all liquified, mix in the cocoa powder, stir well and wait until it boils, switch off the fire immediately and take away from heat.
3. In a big mixing bowl enter sugar. Mix the cocoa-butter liquid together with the sugar using an electric mixer at speed-1
4. Enter the eggs one by one, mix well using the electric mixer at speed-3
5. Mix in vanilla and rum*
6. Bring the speed down to speed-1, mix in the flour
7. Finally using a wooden spoon, mix in the filling of your choice**.
8. Set the dough in the greased baking pan
9. Bake at 180C for 35-40 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean
10. Ready to serve (see note!)
Note: Any kind of glaze/ganache/frosting would work with this recipe, but I found out-of-this-world enjoyment eating this with vanilla ice cream.