Thursday, March 12, 2009

... on brownies

is there more than one way to cook a brownie?

the one way i know (and have followed since i first started baking) is to mix the flour, eggs and sugar. meanwhile, melt the butter and chocolate in a separate bowl. then mix them all and bake.

but could we do it faster?

sure, stovetop brownies!

the french laundry cookbook is still a source of endless inspiration. the idea for a stovetop brownie stems from thomas keller's veloute of bittersweet chocolate recipe. in the recipe sebastian makes a veloute of bittersweet chocolate, folds it with meringue and then bakes it. a veloute!! (on a side note: the french laundry cookbook instigated my determination to end the line between savory and sweet. we should not separate it like that. it should be more start, middle and end. afterall, its food and we all eat. and as chefs, we should excel in all fields of cooking.)

so a veloute.

stovetop brownies.
make a blond roux with the butter and flour.
add the sugar and eggs. (the flour prevents the eggs from curdling - a tip from molecular gastronomy by herve this)
cook until mix resembles a thick custard.
remove from heat and add chocolate.
mix until chocolate melts.
pour into prepared pan.

this is an idea. i have not tested it to see the results, but in theory this sounds solid. just imagine, if you cooked the roux further than blond. imagine the flavors built by adding a dark roux to a brownie.

of course, this method produces a custardy and gooey brownie. (personally, its how i like my brownies.) if you seek a brownie that is more like cake, abandon this procedure.

i will test this out over the weekend and post an update with results.


Morgan Weber said...

"...of course, this method produces a custardy and gooey brownie. "

Heh. I was thinking, "this isn't how everyone likes their brownies?"

I think a good brownie should stick to the roof of your mouth, no? I really dig the idea of a roux in brownies though.

For what its worth, this has been Stacey and my go-to brownie recipe for the last couple of years. Something with the olive oil seems to keep the edges from getting really crispy. Its interesting to me that something as simple as changing the type of fat used, can make such a big difference (although it probably shouldn't surprise me that much...heh) Just sayin.

Keep us posted on the roux-brownie experiments. Keep it up.

katie said...

I can't wait to see the results! I am currently feasting on chocolate stout cupcakes with vanilla bean frosting which I like because they are less sweet and more complex (they way I like my men).

Dr. Ricky said...

You know, that approach is a only a short distance way from a pate choux, so, add enough eggs, and you can do an incorporated profiterole :)

plinio said...

ah! this is true dr ricky. but by cooking the flour in butter, theres no liquid to create gluten.

i like the idea though

what if ...

make dark roux. add chocolate and sugars. finally add eggs. whip on high until it doubles in volume. then bake. brownie souffles????

Dr. Ricky said...

The souffle idea may work, now I am tempted to experiment with it. Or you can incorporate tapioca starch in the end to provide better structure, and not just rely on gluten formation.

Jodie Eisenhardt said...

Please let me know how this turns out! I'm very interested in the "dark roux" option as well (along with the brownie souffle!).

Also can one just call and book the 5-course dessert tasting at Textile?! I would LOVE to and all of the things you described sounded amazing ... did that end up being the final menu?! :)

Jenn said...

This is terrible... but the No Pudge brownie mix (which is made with yogurt instead of eggs, etc) is incredibly moist and goey and chewy, and also has a method whereby you make one-bite brownies via microwave. I have never tried it but am incredibly intrigued.