Tuesday, June 3, 2008
TWD: French Chocolate Brownies
This past week, I joined Tuesdays with Dorie, a weekly baking group. I have been reading a number of blogs from people who participate, and knew it was something I would like to join. What could be better than the promise of weekly sweets, while stretching my culinary skills?
The first recipe, French Chocolate Brownies, chosen by Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook, definitely did push me to try something I probably wouldn't have otherwise. First of all, there is the fact that they are homemade brownies. Now, I'm all for made-from-scratch. I'm probably too all for made-from-scratch for the tastes of the people around me. However, those brownies from the box are damn good. So, I leave it to other people around me to bring the brownies (made from the red box, of course), while I concentrate on made-from-scratch goods that are different, or at least where the box varieties kind of suck.
The second "stretch" for this recipe was the raisins. I love raisins. I stick them in quick breads, and yeast breads, and bread puddings. My husband, who was fairly anti-raisin when he met me ("Why ruin a good oatmeal cookie?"), has even come around to the raisin side of things, due to my baking. But, raisins in brownies even made me raise my eyebrows? Why embellish a brownie?
For those who know me, you know that I believe firmly in trying a recipe exactly as written the first time around. That way, I have a feel for what the author intended, and I can tell if the recipe, itself is worthy. All bets are off if and when I make the recipe again. Then, I improvise to my heart's content (my mother's chocolate 10-pound cake comes to mind, the latest incarnation of which was a pistachio-white chocolate chip 10-pound cake). So, with that spirit, I pushed down my doubts and tried this raisin-enhanced brownie recipe.
I'm really glad I did. The rum-flamed raisins (the flaming part was surprisingly fun) served as moist little morsels throughout the already-moist, very smooth brownie. As a matter of fact, the brownies were so smooth and melt-in-your mouth that I dare say the raisins gave me something to chew. Otherwise, the rest could just dissolve blissfully without much help from my teeth.
So, the end result was that the raisins were a good idea. The other end result is that these made-from-scratch brownies were far better than the red box ever even dreamed of being. So, the next time someone says, "Why don't you bring some brownies?" I might not be so quick to decline in favor of something more complicated. These brownies brought brownies back to something that I am willing to make, and with pride.