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Barcelona Brownies

Mar 7, 2006 | From the kitchen of Rose

i promised to write about my recent trip to barcelona but that was before i knew that in three days i would be doing 5 demos, 2 newspaper interviews, 2 t.v. shows, and a 5 hour photo session! i never saw much of barcelona but i did eat and drink wonderfully! i’ll just have to go back on vacation some day soon.

the visit officially began with a demo in a chocolate museum school, followed by a lecture to the baker’s guild of spain. the challenge presented by the demo was to offer a recipe that was chocolate, was uniquely american, didn’t take long to prepare or bake, showed off the lékué silicone bakeware—my host—and not be dependent on either flour or leavening. it has been my experience that european flour produces vastly different results from what i am accustomed.

after much deliberation, it turned out that there was only one perfect possibility: the beloved brownie, baked in individual molds. the traditional small ingot shape of the financier mold seemed like an excellent choice. and now that i’ve perfected this recipe i’ll probably never make brownies in the usual square pan again! in the silicone financier pan, the brownies pop right out—each with a perfect shape and size and fine crust all around that keeps them from staling. it’s far easier getting the batter into the molds than having to cut them afterwards! You can even use the batter to make madeleines.

this batter can be made ahead and transported as there is no leavening to dissipate.

barcelona_brownies.jpg

these brownies are light in texture but get their exceptional moistness from cream cheese and fudginess from the best quality cocoa and chocolate. for extra creaminess optional little plugs of ganache are poured into holes made with a chop stick after baking. it was gratifying to see the students casually pop a brownie in their mouths expecting something ordinary and then watch their eyes widen in glad surprise. chocolate never gets better than this.

Oven Temperature:  325°F.
Baking time:  ­12 to 15 minutes

Makes:  Fourteen 3 inch by 1 inch by 1  1/8 inch high brownies

INGREDIENTS

MEASURE

WEIGHT

room temperature

volume

ounces

grams

pecans, broken or chopped medium-coarse

2/3 cup

2.6 ounces

75 grams

unsalted butter

about 9 tablespoons

4.6 ounces

132 grams

bittersweet chocolate, preferably no higher than 62% cocoa mass

             .

2 ounces

56 grams

unsweetened cocoa (preferably fine quality Dutch-processed, page 00)

6 scant tablespoons

1.2 ounces

33 grams

sugar

3/4 cup plus

1  1/2 tablespoons

5.5 ounces

157 grams

2 large eggs

3 fluid ounces

3.5 ounces

(weighed without the shells)

100 grams

pure vanilla extract

1  1/2 teaspoons

.

.

cream cheese. cut in pieces

2/3 of a 3 ounce package

2 ounces

56 grams

all purpose flour

1/3 cup

1.7 ounces

47 grams

salt

a pinch

.

.

Optional Ganache Plugs

bittersweet chocolate (see above), coarsely chopped

              ,

2  ounces

56  grams

heavy cream (room temperature)

1/3  liquid cup

2.7 ounces

77 grams

Special Equipment:

Financier molds, preferably silicone, filmed with baking spray with flour or shortening and flour.

Preheat the Oven

20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F.

Toast the Pecans

Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until very lightly browned.  Cool completely.

Melt the Chocolate and Butter

In a double boiler over hot water or microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring 2 or 3 times.

Mix the Batter

Beat in the cocoa, then the sugar, beating until it is incorporated.  (If you are doing this by hand, use a whisk.)  Beat in the eggs and vanilla.  When incorporated, beat in the cream cheese until only small bits remain.  Add the flour and salt  and mix only until the flour is fully moistened.  Stir in the nuts and scrape the batter into a piping bag or freezer-weight zipseal bag. (You can use a spoon but it’s a lot faster and easier to use a pastry bag or zipseal bag with one corner cut.)

Fill the Molds

If using a silicone mold, set it on a baking sheet and pipe the batter into the cavities, filling them about three-quarters full (1.5 ounces/45 grams in each). With a small off-set spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth the tops.

Bake the Brownies

Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the batter has set. The batter will puff and rise a little above the top of the cavities but sinks slightly on cooling. An instant read thermometer should register about 194˚F. and if pressed lightly with a finger tip they will spring back.

While the Brownie are Baking, Prepare the Ganache

Melt the chocolate in a microwave, using 15 seconds bursts on high power and stirring several times, or in a double boiler over hot but not simmering water, stirring occasionally.  Add the cream and stir gently until the mixture is smooth and dark.  If necessary (if the cream was too cold and the mixture not entirely smooth), return it to the heat until totally fluid and uniform in color.

Fill the Brownies

As soon as the brownies are removed from the oven, grease the end of a wooden chopstick or dowel (1/4 inch diameter) and insert it into the brownie, at 3 evenly-spaced intervals, all the way to the bottom, twisting slightly as you insert and withdraw it.  Fill the holes with the ganache until slightly rounded above the surface of the brownie.

Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.  The ganache will sink in as it cools and more ganache can be added, to fill in any depressions, as long as the brownie is still warm enough to melt it.  (If necessary, you can set the brownies under a lamp to heat the ganache puddles and make them smooth.) If making the optional ganache plugs, allow it to sit at room temperature until the puddles are firm to the touch. Then invert the mold of if using silicone, push each out with your finger pressed against the bottom of the mold. (If not making the ganache the brownies can be removed after 10 minutes of cooling.

Store wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container: 1 week at room temperature, 1 month refrigerated, or several months frozen.  Try eating them frozen or chilled if you like a chewy brownie, room temperature for a softer creamier texture.

Cherry Version

Replace nuts with 2 ounces dried tart cherries, chopped plus 2 T Cherry Herring or half Kirsch half water.

Comments

The culture is just incredible in Barcelona. I can't wait to get back there again

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Very nice and tasty and so easy and quick!

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Superb! It kept my interest in reading and I enjoyed it.

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Carol Poluan
Carol Poluan
07/ 3/2013 01:51 AM

Dear Rose,
I'm a fan from Indonesia (yep further than Sri Lanka). I'm going to try to make your Barcelona Brownies. I love to bake together with my nieces and their friends. Will let you know how they turn out. Thank you for sharing your wonderful recipes.

Regards,
Carol

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barbera, this is definitely not my book as the only book i did on cookies is filled with color photos and that's the "rose's christmas cookies."

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Thanks for responding, but no, that wasn't it. This book was about cookies in general - not Christmas. I think I got it in the 70's or 80's and I'm recalling the cover was kind of tan with photos of different cookies on it... inside there were very few, if any, illustrations -- can't remember any photos inside the book. I could be remembering everything completely wrong as it was so many years ago. Furious with myself for losing that book.

Barbara

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rose's christmas cookies page 47 william morrow and co, 1990

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Barbara Campbell
Barbara Campbell
08/31/2012 08:41 AM

Years ago I received one of your cookbooks through a (I think) Cookbook of the Month type club. I can't find it, nor can I remember the exact name of it. I think it was something about cookies .... I've looked at your list of cookbooks, but nothing seems to register. There was a very simple brownie recipe in this book -- as I recall there were several different brownie recipes, but one I loved in particular. Can you point me toward this book or the brownie recipes from this book?

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Pretty portion of content. I simply found your web site and throughout accession capital to say that My spouse and i acquire actually enjoyed account your website posts. Anyway We are subscribing on the augment or maybe I success you receive admission to be able to constantly quickly.

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Hi! Just a reply to those wanting for a chewy brownie; recipes abound! I found the Cook's Illustrated's chewy brownies perfect for me; they have the texture of a box mix brownies but all the chocolate flavour, and all this is achieved via the addition of vegetable oil. Do check it out! Another chewy brownie recipe that comes highly recommended is the one by Alice Medrich (Cocoa Brownies). They're made without chocolate but taste exactly as if they were. I hope I managed to help! :)

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Allow me to bookmark, i found that your blog alway updated and i like the way you write it.

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good job crystal! and thx for reporting.

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i see. just as i thought after sending my question Lol! :) hector, i made my first mango rose after watching your video and it was amazing! i can't believe i was the one who made it. now i have a lot of fans after posting it in fb! thank you so much for sharing :)

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crystal, adding chocolate (blocks) gives xtra richness and moisture from the cacao butter contained on the chocolate.

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hi ms rose! i've been reading different brownie recipes and im wondering why is it that chocolate blocks and cocoa powder are combined in a recipe (just like this one) instead of just using pure cocoa powder or pure chocolate blocks..

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Will work but won't have crusts all around each bite.

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Hi Rose,

Can you or anyone tell me if I can make these brownies in a regular pan and what the adjustments should be?

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jenn, thank you for your wonderfully detailed comments. it's so exciting to think that someone as far away as sri lanka, a country i've never even visited, is making my recipes and in such an innovative way!

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Rose,

RE: Barcelona Brownies ('madeleine style'), your culinary genius knows no bounds!

Madeleines, hold a special significance for me since I first discovered these delightful confections in Spain as a student some years back. Ironically, reading of the effect that Marcel Proust’s fateful bite of a madeleine had on him, produced a parallel Proustian moment for me, evoking nostalgia for my beloved madeleines and Madrid! Thus, the intriguing idea of brownies in the guise of madeleines compelled me to dig out my never-used madeleine pans to try your recipe. They indeed surpassed any brownies I have ever tasted.

I could not obtain bittersweet chocolate as we have a very limited choice of chocolates here in Sri Lanka. I instead used dark chocolate Toblerone and some fragrant Japanese cocoa which I picked up in Singapore. I used walnuts my husband brought back from Isfahan (yes, I am a real food forager....).

This will be a regular staple in my sweets repertoire. Thank you Rose for yet another masterpiece. Your recipes are always so perfectly clear, detailed and scrumptious. I have been rereading and trying out recipes from my much worn and treasured TCB, which I first picked up in Cambridge years ago and am eager to pick up your new book -- the next time I am abroad. I still remember the first recipe I baked from your book - Yellow Downy Cake which is so versatile, satisfying and a cinch to make. I continue to be wowed by every recipe I try from that volume.

Finally, I appreciate your fabulous blog and videos, which I immensely enjoy and benefit from.


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certainly toni! financiers or ingots come in many shapes and sizes. but it's best to make them small as they are so rich. yum!!!

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What if I do not own, Financier molds? Could I use a muffin tin?

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i allow the ganache to cool for 30 minutes or until soft and pliable and then pipe it into the holes. it's the easiest way. pouring gets all over the top of the.

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I am anxious to try these delicious sounding brownies. I have a couple of questions that might seem obvious to you but will ask none-the-less. Do you wait for the ganache to cool and harden before you fill the brownies or do you pour the hot ganache into the brownies after they come out of the oven? Did you use a piping bag with the ganache and pipe the ganache into the brownies? Maybe it is too early in the morning here but I can't quite figure out if the ganache is still liquid or hard and how you filled the brownies.

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Here's a link to the recipe on Epicurious. As you can see, it is many people's favorite. Enjoy.


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emily, i wrote that book before i had a PC! so i don't have the recipe in a file but the book is available--check amazon and jessica's biscuit.

by the way, i never loan cookbooks as they rarely come back!

it IS my fav recipe in the book.

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Emily Harris
Emily Harris
12/ 4/2009 11:44 AM

I'm trying to track down your rugelach recipe that was in your Christmas Cookie book; I loaned that book out some time ago and sadly have lost track of it, and I was wondering if you'd be willing to part with just that one recipe? I love it dearly, and have found other recipes, but yours is the best!

Thanks!

Emily

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if well wrapped one week. about a month in the frig.

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How long will these brownies keep airtight at room temperature?

Thanks.

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Joan, I think you can make madeleines out of just about any cake batter. I wouldn't worry so much about adjusting the amount of baking powder, it is ok to have popped or domed madeleines, specially the minis. Watch the oven as it bakes, the baking time is yours to find out, will depend on your oven.

http://www.hectorwong.com/roselevy/Madeleines%20Triple%20Chocolate%20Cake%20and%20Carrot%20Ring.html

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It has been a while now, but I'm sure I did just what Rose described in her response.

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Thanks Matthew. Did you make them? Did you make mini ones, and did you need to adjust? I know they will be great. Yum.

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Joan--I already asked this question--the response from Rose is in the thread below.

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Hi everyone -
I intend to make two dozen mini-Madeleines of Barcelona Brownies in silicone molds, but am curious to know if I need to correct the measurements from original for these tiny brownies. If I were to plug them, it would be miniscule, and also would the baking temp/time need to be adjusted to compensate for drying, etc.
Thanks.

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Maureen and everyone, I feel terrible to tell you, breaks my heart to say that we don't share Rose's recipes here unless posted. How unsweet that is, but hope you understand. I would think that publishers and sponsors could get upset and pull out from our blog.

I have experienced many ocasions when I don't have Cake Bible with me and wanted to plan a recipe, it kills me. So what I did is to 'run' to Amazon.com and stock up. I have 3 copies, one at home, one at my office, and the third goes out for lending to friends. Indeed, almost ALL my friends and people that eat with me own one copy even if they don't bake! They do it just to keep me happy and helps understand my work. This is when the used price from Amazon.com kicks in, about $5 bucks, and really convenient to click online and buy rather than typing the recipe. Besides Amazon.com, there is your local library or bookstore.

Ok, I am no authority of semantics nor always have the best choice of words, so please accept my apologies and truly hope you spread this around.

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Just trying to register so I can provide someone with the pecan pie recipe from PPB. System isn't letting me log in tonight.

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thank you! so glad to hear this.

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Thank you so much for this recipe and the great idea of using the financier molds.

I enjoyed these brownies more than any others I've ever baked myself or bought.

Lovely texture, lovely flavour.

Thanks again.

Sarah
Toronto, Ontario

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Hi Mary, I received a message in my personal email requesting a copy of the recipe for Barcelona brownies. I assume you have it, as it's here on Rose's blog. It's worth making.

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mary phillips
mary phillips
09/ 2/2008 09:14 PM

mail me the recipe or e-mail p.o box 747wmson wva 25661

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this is the standard size financier pan so other companies also make it.

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Virginia Sybert
Virginia Sybert
01/24/2008 07:18 PM

Is this the product you mean for a financier mold?-
gastroflex Mini Cake Mold, 12pcs, 3in.l. x 1-1/4in.w. x 1-1/4in.hi.

Lekue's US website is down.
thanks

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I see my question has already been answered above.

I love this blog. Thank you, Rose -- and everyone who contributes.

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Thank you, Rose. I found another source: Broadway Panhandler (store, not website) carries a brand called GastroFlex, made in France to your exact specifications.

Question: I'll be baking in batches of 12 or 24. Can I double your recipe? Or should I use the recipe in your book (I have four of them) and add the cream cheese and ganache plugs?

I sometimes bake in quantity, so if it's safe to double or triple this recipe, I'd love to know.

Again, thank you, Rose.

Maureen

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the lekueusa website lists distributors.

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Where can I find the silicone financier molds? The only ones I can find are only 1/2 inch deep. I've tried the usual places: Bridge, Broadway Panhandler, Prince. I hope to take these with me on a trip this weekend, so I hope you can help me find the right pans. I live just outside of New York, so if I can find them there, I'll go. Many thanks!

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I am on the look out for eggless recipes since I have recently stopped eating eggs!! But I find that the eggless recipes for cakes and brownies taste dry and do not have the soft texture that cakes with eggs have. Could you let me know the right substitute for eggs (I don't get egg replacer where I live)?
Thanks

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it's pretty much like the brownies--just pipe the batter into the molds a little more than 3/4 full and bake til done--start checking at 10 minutes as they are more shallow than the financier mold. they're really easy to pop out even when warm but are more fragile then so take care!

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Rose,
Just curious if you have any notes on the Madeleine version of the recipe, such as yield, baking time, amount of batter, etc.--is it about the same for either mold type? I just got new silicon Madeleines molds and would like to christen them with this recipe.

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re: melted butter...if you melt the butter then add the sugar while it's warm the sugar dissolves in the butter and it promotes the shiny surface that is typical of a classic American brownie.

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it's fine to use semi-sweet.

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We don't have bittersweet chocolate here. Is there anything I can use as a substitute? Thanks.

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aaw, just a reduced recipe, ofcourse! Thanks :)
C

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it's the same recipe but 2/3 the amount which fits the financier mold. i LOVE baking them individually as each has a fine crust around it and of course no need to cut them after baking!

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Hi Rose,

I always bake these "barcelona brownies" but I use the recipe from your book. I just stummbled upon this recipe you have posted here and the porportions are different...Just curious if they are different recipes or if this newer one is an improved version? (not that the other recipe even needs improving- So delicious-!!

Thanks so much,
Cate

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why do some recipes call for melted butter? how is it different from creamed butter? what is its effect on the cake?

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I agree that the ganache worked well as a topping . when I made that some time earlier, I probably made the holes too small and much ganache was left and no more could get into the holes , so I just spread those on top. It was wonderful.

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i assume you mean in metal. j.b. prince in nyc

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Where can I purchase the traditional small ingot shape financier mold?

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Been there, done that - it works very well!

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that's a great idea--to use the barcelona brownie with the ganache on top instead of inside!

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Hi Rose. I have just come across your blog/recipes, and have found it very interesting reading!! I have always been on the lookout for the perfect iced brownie recipe, like the old "Sara Lee" frozen brownies that have been discontinued from their product line. The brownie was not tall, but chewy, with a nice frosting. Does this ring a bell with any of your recipes? Would the Barcelona brownie work with the ganache used as an icing? Thank you for your help! Sara in AL

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I've been meaning to mention how much I appreciate that you've included, in your cookbooks, the pronounciations of many of your recipes. However, I've heard your name pronounced a couple of different ways, and I don't know which is correct... it is lee-vee or le-vee? (I like to be accurate about such things)

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i know a lot of kids don't like nuts and brownie purists prefer to omit them. they won't be denser but less high unless you make fewer in number. you could always add nuts to just half the batter!

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Virginia Sybert
Virginia Sybert
04/24/2007 08:44 AM

Re brownies: my kids hate nuts so i am always on the prowl for nutless brownies. If I want to leave nuts out of a recipe, for example your barcelona brownies, I assume I will get a denser brownie but no other loss. IS this true, or should I be altering ingredients or adding some other filler to hold things together or apart? Suggestions? And I can't wait for them to gorw up and for their palates to mature- they are grown up! Thanks!

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christine, don't change the temperature but it will take longer to bake in a larger pan.

toby, i think what you are describing comes from the cocoa butter. some recipes use unsweetened chocolate and add sugar in order to get more cocoa butter into the brownie. you might try a recipe like that to see if it's the quality you are looking for.

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A very unorthodox question--Your recipe sounds delicious and I will try it. I have been making my own brownies since I think I could hold a spoon! But recently, at the age of 63, I tasted a my first cakemix brownie that someone brought over. While the taste was totally unacceptable, there was something very appealing about the nutless yet chewy texture. Neither fudgy nor cakey, it had a kind of "pull." What is responsible for that? I wish my homemade brownies had that quality. Do you know what I mean?

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My future mother-in-law has asked me to create a tiered cake made entirely from brownies for a family special occasion. For the bottom tier I would like to double a brownie recipe and bake in a 9 x 13 pan. Do you have any hints for me on this? Should I adjust the temperature?

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i think you'll be fine baking it now!

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I am making a Bacardi rum cake for Thanksgiving. It is only Saturday, but I have so much to do the last few days, I wanted to do my baking now. Since this cake has rum in it and in the glaze, do you think it would be alright to bake it and keep it in the refrigerator for the 5 days til Thanksgiving? Or, should I freeze it? Thank you. Really looking forward to your expert advice.
bj10gk@hotmail.com

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my educated guess is that it will work perfectly. brownies are not dependent on flour type therefore i think that the matsoh meal will be just fine. do report back! what a great idea to make brownies for passover! if you use silicone molds you can get away with just greasing and not flouring. alternatively, grease and flour with the matsoh meal!

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Could I substitute matsoh meal for the flour to make a passover brownie? Or is the 1/3 cup too much (I've successfully substituted the meal for flour in brownie recipes that call for only 1/4 cup of flour) and it won't work?

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when the brownies are baked in the financier pan the edges aren't dry but crisp and the insides light yet fudgy. it's a completely different experience. and the little pools of ganache make them a little goey as well. but if you'd like to turn this into a totally goey type brownie 1 1/2 times the recipe would work for an 8 inch square pan and 2 times the recipe for a 9 inch square.

my guess is that they would take about 40 min. to bake but it's important to start checking early on so that they don't dry out. when a toothpick comes out clean one inch from the sides of the pan they're done!

i wouldn't decrease the flour as they might not set--these really don't have much flour in them to begin with.

i suspect these could be the brownies of your dreams.

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kathy harsany
kathy harsany
03/11/2006 05:51 PM

I agree with Anna: the brownie recipe intrigues but what to do about the unwanted edges? Actually I crave the gooey insides of a brownie and cut away the edges. My first instinct was: bake them in a 9 inch square pan - but with only 1/3 cup flour, perhaps the pan needs to be even smaller. Could you just double the indgredients?

would it work? not interested in wasting chocolate....

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absolutely yes!

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I'm not a fan of brownie "edges." With your recipe in your cookie book, I always cut off the edges and freeze them for later use as ice cream toppings! So, could I make this recipe in an 8 or 9 inch square pan? The inclusion of cream cheese is appealing.
Anna

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