Monday, July 25, 2011

I get excited over small things...

The littlest things sometimes tend to excite me the most. Case in point...the last time I made brownies, they turned out PERFECT! A few years ago, I wrote a post about the difficult time I had making brownies at this altitude. So, I have tweaked the recipe several times, even trying new cake pans, and never being quite happy with the results. I wanted to be able to bake my recipe in a 9x13 pan without the problem of the brownies sinking in the middle. The last brownie order I had was for regular and mint brownies...both turned out great. I don't know if my recipe was just right, or if the atmospheric pressure was just right that day, or what...but they turned out perfect. Here is my regular brownie recipe, along with my high altitude recipe that I use here in the Springs.

BROWNIES


½  cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
½  cup flour
⅓ cup cocoa (unsweetened baking)
¼ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. salt
½ cup chocolate chips
½ cup nuts (optional)

Blend melted butter, sugar, and vanilla in mixing bowl. Add eggs and beat well. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; add gradually to egg mixture until well blended. Stir in nuts and chocolate chips. Spread in a greased and floured and parchment lined 8 or 9 inch square pan. Bake at 350° for 20-25 minutes or until brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. When cool, sprinkle with powdered sugar or frost with chocolate icing. For 9x13 pan, triple the recipe, use 1 cup chocolate chips, and bake about 40-45 minutes.

Variations

Mint:  To original recipe, replace chocolate chips with Andes mint pieces. When cool, ice with mint icing: Combine 2 cups powdered sugar, ½ stick butter, ½ tsp. mint flavoring, green food coloring, and enough milk to make thin consistency. Ice and let set, then ice with chocolate buttercream frosting.

Cheesecake Swirl or Raspberry Cheesecake Swirl:  Combine the following until smooth and fluffy. Do not use entire recipe-this will be enough for several pans of brownies:
1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg

Spoon dollops of cream cheese mixture onto brownies and swirl with knife, or for raspberry cheesecake brownies, spoon dollops of cream mixture alternately with raspberry filling or jam and swirl with knife. Bake about 5-10 longer than original recipe. Check doneness with toothpick inserted into center. When cool, ice with cream cheese icing: Beat together until fluffy (1) softened 8 oz. package cream cheese, ½ stick of butter, 1 tsp. vanilla, and about 2 cups of powdered sugar.


HIGH ALTITUDE DIRECTIONS FOR
MOM’S BROWNIES


Yield: Makes 9x13 pan (You can half the recipe for an 8 or 9 inch square pan; bake for 30 minutes)

1 ½ cups butter, melted
2 ¾ cups sugar
1 T. vanilla
6 extra large eggs
1 ¾ cups flour, unsifted
1 cup cocoa
½ t. baking powder
¾ t. salt
1 T. water
1 cup chocolate chips

Prepare as directed for regular brownies, except change to above amounts for ingredients. Also, do not grease sides of pan. Bottom only!  Bake at 350° for approximately 45-50 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, and center is firm to the touch. Run knife around outside of brownies before removing from pan.

Regular brownies with chocolate chips...no sinking in middle
Mint brownies with Andes mint pieces...no sinking in middle
Brownies after being iced with chocolate buttercream
The mint brownies have a thin layer of green mint icing under the chocolate buttercream
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