The Great Brownie "bake-off" - Part I: fudgy brownies

hello again, dear internet.
I have really missed you in the past couple of weeks. Not to say that I haven't checked my facebook and instagram feed or obsessively watch YouTube videos to calm me down after long hours of writing what felt like the worst thesis in the world (I'm still very conflicted about it). Actually the only thing I didn't do was blog because 1. blogging meant writing and I was really sick of the thought of writing anything, and 2. there really was nothing to blog about. My days consisted of researching, writing, re-writing, self-doubting, discussing and cursing. Oh and additionally, and I was vigorously talking to myself throughout the day as writing a thesis can be a pretty lonely job. At the end it all went down fine - although I'm still expecting my results, so I can not really tell if it did go well or not. But what I can honestly say is that I have never ever consumed so much coffee and sweets and fast food as in these 8 weeks. So once I had finally forwarded the work to my professor I fell into a sleep coma and woke up feeling exhausted but thrilled. "I am done!" is the most occurring exciting thought in my brain. The next rather self-doubting thought bubble usually states "what now?". While I'm still figuring that one out I can at least dive back into backing and cooking. Doing something with an immediate outcome. Something that can be enjoyed by friends & family. Something that'll make me happy and content with myself. After a 10 day regimen of no coffee & no sweets & daily work-outs I took the train home to spend some quality time with the family. The second I arrive my mum and I are making plans about what to bake for tomorrows coffee date with friends. Images of brownies were still flying around my head from the night before as my friend and I reminisce about London's borough market and hummingbird bakery. And to my surprise I discovered that I haven't had a single post about brownies on this blog. So here it comes. I am very late to the game - I apologies for that (mostly to myself). Because it has been ages since my last brownie baking session and my bullet proof brownie in a skillet recipe was left in Hamburg I had to search for an alternative. I browsed through my favorite blogs and websites, and discovered major differences in the ingredient lists. There are cacao brownies and chocolate brownies. "Cakey" brownies and fudge brownies. And something called gooey. All my attempts turned out gooey but a tad too dry I must admit. So I will keep trying. I will figure out what a good, no, what the best brownie is made of. I will die trying - just as 50 cent has thought us all. Enough of this. Let's have a look at the recipes.

Cocoa Brownies with Walnuts
adapted recipe by smitten kitten

135 g butter
240 g sugar
60 g cocoa powder (as dark as you can get it)
1/4 teaspoon salt
vanilla or almond extract (1/2 of the Dr.Oetker mini bottle)
3 medium eggs
1/2 cup flour
walnuts (as much as you like)

1. Set oven to 175°C. In bowl mix butter, sugar, cacao powder and salt. Place on a pan of simmering water, making sure that no water enters the mixture and the lightly simmering water does not touch the mixing bowl.
2. Using a spatula mix ingredients until combine (at this point it looks a bit off, but thats ok!) and remove bowl from pan.
3. Add extract and eggs, one at a time. Make sure that the eggs are at room temperature and stir them into the mixture using a spatula or whisk.
4. Lastly add the sifted flour and stir until combined. Here you might add further ingredients such as walnuts.
5. Using a cake tin of your like (a rather small one I suppose, there is not much rising with brownies) lined with baking paper put the brownie mixture into tin and move to oven. Bake for about 25-30 minutes.

Chocolate Fudge Brownie
recipe by Martha Stewart's crew

1 stick of butter
6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate (I suggest 60-70%)
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs
1/4 cup dutch processed cocoa powder
1/2 cup and 3 tablespoons flour

1. Set oven to 175°C (350°F). Over a pan of simmering water place a heat-proof bowl filled with chocolate (broken down in mouth size pieces) and butter. Stir until well combined.
2. Remove bowl from heat and incorporate the sugar slowly using a whisk.
3. Add eggs one at a time.
4. Sift the cocoa powder into the mixture and finally add the flour. Try not to whisk the mixture too much after the flour is added.
5. Move to oven and bake for 30-35 minutes (Martha suggests up to 40 minutes). Brownies are done when the tester comes out not too clean with some crumbles on it. So basically take it out a couple of minutes before you would with a regular cake. Cut brownies into squares.

Both brownies are most enjoyable when paired with some vanilla ice cream and earl grey tea.


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