Sunday, January 23, 2011
brown butter brownies
cocoa brownies with brown butter and walnuts
The latest issue of Bon Appetit featured a series of chocolate recipes from the Alice Medrich. These brownies were on the cover so I knew I wanted to try them first. I'm not usually a nut fan in chocolate chip cookies or in brownies. I don't like anything to come between me and the ultimate gooey, fudgy chocolate experience. I happened to have walnuts in the house, though, so I figured I would throw them in anyway.
The instructions called for making a brown butter which would then be incorporated into the mix. Unfortunately, with all the walnuts inside, I didn't get a good taste of the brown butter. I don't think I would take the extra step of browning the butter next time. Also, walnuts are not one of my favorite nuts. They taste a little too bitter and oily for me. Next time I would toss some cashews with butter and a little salt, roast them in the oven and add them to the batter instead. Salted cashew brownies. Yeah.
This is the third time I've seen a brownie recipe that calls for beating the finished batter repeatedly until it is smooth and shiny before baking. I've also seen it in a David Lebovitz recipe from his book Ready for Dessert and a Maida Heatter recipe. None of these recipes says why this step is important. Is beating the batter creating air to help the brownies rise a tiny bit? Is it creating gluten so the brownies hold together instead of becoming a crumbly mess? I hate unanswered questions.
So I have to give a shout out to the current KING OF MACARONS at work, Luis. I still haven't had time to make macarons at home so I took some chocolate macarons home from work that he had made. I filled them with the often-referenced nutella buttercream.
I found a recipe in the latest issue of La Cucina Italiana for homemade nutella by the everpresent Karen DeMasco. I will have to make my own next and add that to a buttercream to see if I like it better...