July 26, 2010

Three-Chocolate Truffle Brownies

From Robin, in post Chocolate and Reality

25 July 2010

These are based on Chocolate Truffle Triangles from Big Soft Chewy Cookies by Jill Van Cleave, but I found a few of her instructions peculiar, I’m a lazy cow and I hate leftover egg whites, and besides, I wanted more chocolate in mine.

2 sticks/1 c slightly salted butter, soft room temperature

½ c granulated sugar

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 ¼ c all purpose flour

6T unsweetened cocoa powder

10 oz semisweet/dark cooking chocolate:  this is one of those things that varies a lot brand to brand and country to country.  I now prefer so-called British dark cooking chocolate to the American semisweet stuff I used to import, which seems to me too sweet for some purposes.  Whatever you use, break it up in pieces

¼ c espresso or strong coffee or very strong hot chocolate

8 ounces white chocolate, broken up

1/3 c whipping cream

Oven at 350°F

Cream 10 T butter with the sugar until smooth.  Add egg and vanilla, then flour and cocoa.  Mix till dough forms.  Press evenly into an ungreased 8 inch square pan.  Bake till edges just begin to pull in, about 15 minutes.  Let cool.

Melt dark chocolate and ¼ c butter together.  Stir till blended and set aside.

If you’re using coffee or espresso you need 2 T more sugar:  dissolve in your chosen liquid when it’s hot.  If you’re using hot chocolate, make it VERY STRONG and not too sweet.  Cool to warm and stir into melted chocolate.  Cool just till it gets claggy, then spread over the baked crust.  Chill in refrigerator until set, 2-3 hours.

Heat cream till just not-quite-boiling.  Take it off the heat and start dropping broken-up bits of white chocolate in while whisking like mad—white chocolate isn’t chocolate, and has a malign chemistry all of its own.  Also whisk in remaining 2 T butter, which will stabilise it if it shows signs of misbehaving.  Let cool till spreadable and then lather it over the dark chocolate in the pan.  Another 2-3 hours in the refrigerator till it sets thoroughly.

Cut in teeny-tiny squares and brace yourself, or possibly your pancreas.

Dairy-free notes:  I can’t help you with the butter, because I do use butter.  But you can make hot chocolate successfully with soy milk which works fine here (in Playing with Your Food there is a recipe for using coconut milk, which I’ve never tried in the truffle brownies, but seems to me it ought to work).  And I’ve had two successes using soy milk with the frelling white chocolate at the end and one disaster. I like white chocolate, but it has its little ways.  My best suggestion there is the whisking like mad part.

POSTSCRIPT, THE NEXT DAY:  it belatedly occurs to me that some white chocolate has milk solids in it, so anyone super-sensitive needs to read the label. I can get away with it here, but I don’t eat it often either.  And there will be milk-free white chocolate at your local health food shop, or there should be.

Chocolate Lightning Thins

Robin, 3 July 2010, from blog post Chocolate is the answer. What was the question?

Chocolate Lightning Thins

¼ c butter

½ rounded c sugar

2 eggs

¾ c flour

4 T cocoa powder

¼ c chopped or shaved (not too fine) dark chocolate

1 tsp ground cinnamon

2 T sugar

Set your oven 400° F.

Build your dough as usual:  cream butter and sugar, add eggs one at a time, beat fluffy, then beat in flour and cocoa powder, blah blah.  Stir in chocolate.  Spread and pat on a greased cookie sheet—not more than ¼” thick.  Blend cinnamon and sugar together and sprinkle (evenly, duh) over the top.

Bake about 20 minutes, till the edges are turning brown and pulling in, leave to cool for a few minutes only, then cut in small squares.  It’s easier if you leave them in the pan a few minutes after this till they’re safe to move, and then slide them off onto a wire rack.  They’ll turn crunchy as they cool, and Rubinstein also says ‘should preferably be eaten on the day of making’.  By the time you get to the end of these and that gooey novel you’ve been promising yourself, the bars should be ready to come out of the refrigerator. . . .

Crunchy Cookie Bars

Robin, 3 July 2010, from blog post Chocolate is the answer. What was the question?

Crunchy Cookie Bars

2T butter

8 oz dark chocolate

2T golden syrup or dark corn syrup

8 oz plain digestive biscuits, rich tea biscuits, vanilla wafers or graham crackers (If you Americans can get them, I vote for the digestives.  Twenty years ago you could get them in gourmet shops;  I don’t know if they’ve migrated or disappeared.  Failing digestives graham crackers are my second choice . . . which so far as I know you still can’t get over here.  I used to bring them back in my suitcase—although there are a few ‘American groceries’ in London where you can get wild, wacky things like bittersweet chocolate and Oreos.  And graham crackers.)

¼ c, approximately, chopped nuts.  I used to favour caramelised almonds, but I haven’t seen them lately

Icing sugar and cocoa powder

Melt (gently) the butter, chocolate and syrup together and stir till entirely blended.  Roughly smash the biscuits/crackers with a rolling pin—don’t do a good job.  You want big fat crumbs and some small pieces.  Mix them and your chopped nuts into the rest.  Pour into a well greased 8” tin and put in the refrigerator for several hours.  When they’re rigid, tip them out of the tin, cut into small bars, and roll briefly in icing sugar and cocoa powder.  (Well, ‘roll’.  I use two shallow dishes, one of each, and sweep each bar through one and then the other.  This makes a nice show on a plate because each one looks a little different, and if you’re serving them to an assembled, it makes them look a lot ritzier than they are.  It’s all in presentation. And the chocolate, of course.)