My Best Brownies
Tomorrow evening Rose is giving a live cooking demonstration in San Francisco. I booked my ticket the day Rose posted the tour dates on her blog. Apparently I will leave the house for Rose and cake. So in a few short hours I will be fangirling Rose. I hope she is prepared.
As part of the "event", my ticket price includes a copy of Rose's latest book Rose's Baking Basics. I was going to hold off my baking until after the "event" - I can totally do delayed gratification. Unfortunately I then happened upon a Facebook Live of Rose and Woody in a bookstore somewhere. This recording is now forever lost in the internet because my 1.5 minutes of searching has uncovered nothing for me to link to, ergo, it does not exist. In that interview, Rose went on to talk about some recipes and new discoveries. One of which was an improvement to her pizza dough recipe. Delayed gratification is for people who don't have the social media and the internet. Delayed turned into almost instant gratification. A few clicks on Amazon and a small amount of energy expended to rationalize that my extra copy will make a great Christmas present for someone and it was all mine, almost a full week early.
Which brings me to the first bake. Ironically, not Pizza Rosa. No, because Pizza Rosa has a prep time of 24 hours. Nope. Not the first thing up on the blog. It will be second. I am a stickler for my bakes forming a nice orderly queue. This is a first in, first out blog.
My Best Brownies had the vote from the biggest sweet tooth in the house. A fussy sweet tooth. My Best Brownies hold the nuts please. I personally think brownies need nuts just to give your taste-buds a break from the sweetness. But who am I to argue with a seven year old. The added bonus of no nuts is that there is no toasting of said nuts. This saved me seven minutes.
Rose's new recipe lay out has a mise en place section. This is basically French for "get your s*** together". Rose is all about making it fool proof. I have long resisted the mise en place, however in the interest of expanding my mind (not to mention reducing the errors in my baking) I have decided to do mise en place for every recipe I bake from this book. If the cost benefit ratio (aka washing up to error ratio) plays out I *might* adopt it into my everyday life. The chaos seeker in me is resistant...
What I have resisted is getting it all ready an hour before hand. This is so that everything is at room temperature - a critical success factor for anyone baking at home, otherwise known as a Top Tip (I will be calling these out as I see fit as this blog progresses). I don't need to do this because I have a built in procrastinator gene and I do very little instantly.
|mise en place a la Ailesh
The other good thing is that the mise en place makes for at least one pretty picture. I have decided to forgo my usual photography style, at best haphazard, and instead I have recruited a millennial to the task. Ailesh has lived with us for the past two years as the "organizer of us all", sure her job description is nanny with light household duties. I am pretty sure that content designer for blog is a light household duty. Hardly any heavy lifting required. So you will see a marked improvement in my photos. Don't get too attached, because Ailesh is only with us for a few more months. Then normal programming will resume. Yes, I will be as upset as you all.
Actually doing the mise en place is good. It makes me feel like I have my own cooking show as I pick up each perfectly measured bowl of stuff and tip it in and mix accordingly. Rose and all those French people may just be on to something.
|Random order for adding ingredients - refer to recipe for correct sequence and implement
Really, if you are going to start anywhere, this recipe is really simple. You melt the butter and chocolate in a bowl set above simmering water. Once melted you take each of your little bowls, mix them in with the correct implement and keep on going until you have run out of little bowls and implements. The secret ingredient in My Best Brownies is cream cheese. And in my particular version, white chocolate chips instead of nuts. Because nutty crunch is bad but extra sweetness is good, apparently.
|white choc chips last before finding the constructed tin
They are baked in an 8 inch tin at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-35 minutes. I checked at 25 minutes, and they needed another 5 minutes to get to the correct internal temperature. I am not sure how many beginner bakers will have a temperature probe, but if you do, it will get a lot of use. Rose takes the guess work out of perfect and instead gives you a temperature (Top Tip). You can really just get by with a toothpick to test for done-ness, but if you are a control freak add it to your baking drawer. I have one, actually, I have two (thank you Vicki!). That may or may not indicate if I am a control freak. I could just be an acquirer of exponential piles of baking equipment. Or I could be both an acquirer and a control freak. I think most who know me would vote on the latter option.
|Baked (i think)
The brownie cools and then Rose gives complicated instructions for how to get it out of the pan. Actually, not that complicated, but not nearly as easy as deconstructing my configurable square baking tin. Trust me, deconstructing the tin is a heck of lot easier than constructing it. It does make Rose's instruction for getting the brownie out of the tin look simple. Once removed from the tin you cut into 2 inch squares.
End to end, even with the mise en place and photo faffing, this recipe is about 40 minutes (not including procrastination time aka acclimatization of ingredients to room temperature). It will take you longer to read this blog post than to make these brownies.
The verdict? The reward for effort of this recipe is exponential. Very little effort and a pretty impressive outcome. You can't ask for better than that. They were thieved quite frequently from the storage container. They are dense and fudgy and all those good things. Not so great on cream carpet. The original requester has now declared these as a 9 out of 10 and we must now try all other brownie recipes to compare. The following day I baked the Fudgy Pudgy Brownies, which, given the first in first out rules of this blog, will be coming up right after Pizza Rosa.
|A small exercise in math, although now I look at it, these aren't square. Fail.