Thursday, November 02, 2006

Spotlight on: Baking: From My Home To Yours

This is the latest book by the brilliant Dorie Greenspan - Baking: From My Home To Yours.

Yes, I have been one of the few lucky ones to get my hands on it already. All thanks to the lovely Sara. She drummed up word to a few selected bloggers and requested if we would be interested in taking part in this project. This is how it works: We get our copies of this book and pick out 1 or 2 recipes, bake them and blog about them.

I was really excited about this however a bit worried as I am not really a great baker. I know I have said that here often enough and I keep sharing my experiments with you, but I am still a little hesitant.

Once I got this wonderful book, I was in complete awe. I cannot put it down! Dorie's writing style is so lovely. It is almost like she is in my kitchen with me showing me how it all comes together. There are a large varieties of recipes and I am really sure everyone will find several recipes they would want to make. I know I did. My copy has been bookmarked with several Post-its and if I could I would make something from it everyday. Yes, I would! Because all the recipes are easy to follow, so even a baking idiot like me would get it right.

I probably will in the future too. But for now I will blog about the first recipe from this book.

Classic Brownies




If you have kids this is a great one to make with them. I showed Soeren the picture from the book and asked if we should get our aprons out for a baking session. He ran to the rack and pulled his red apron out and said "Yes, I get to lick the chocolate off the spoon, OK?"

Dorie says "Fudgy but not gooey, intensely chocolaty, dry on top and melty in the middle ..."

That was enough for us to go for it. Exactly the way we like our brownies.

I made one or two minor changes to the recipe but nothing too drastic. I did not use the espresso powder and instead of the walnuts I went for pecan nuts. I prefer pecans to walnuts. Other than that I stuck to the recipe. The only thing I had to do was to convert the measurements, but thanks to the great Widget on my Mac I was able to figure them out easily ;-). For you folks I have used the measurements from the book.

I found a some usefule websites for cooking conversions and for those (like me) always hassling with conversion matters I think they might be very valuable.

All Recipes has got a couple of nice tables on their Converting Cups to Grams page. These are listed according to the ingredient being used.

Convert Me has a splendid list of many ingredients and by simply giving in any measurement in any unit it converts the entire list. Check out the Cooking Converter - really helpful.

I've added these to the side bar so you can always find these links easily ;-).




Ingredients:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 5 pieces
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4-1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup chopped pecans
optional: 1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder



Method:




Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (180 degrees C). Line an 8-inch square pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolates and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted - you don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

With a whisk, stir in the sugar. Don't be concerned when your smooth mixture turns grainy. One by one, whisk in the eggs. Add the vanilla and give the ingredients a vigorous whisking before gently stirring the espresso, if you are using it, salt and flour; stir only till incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and fold in the chopped nuts.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 to 33 minutes, or until the top in dull and a thin knife inserted into the center come out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the brownies to room temperature.

When the brownies are completely cool, turn out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, each a scant 2 inches on a side.

This makes about 16 brownies.

Storing recommendations: These are best eaten within 2 days of baking - ours did not even last that long. To keep them at room temperature, just cut what you need and wrap the rest tightly in plastic wrap. To freeze for up to 2 months, wrap the brownies airtight.

This recipe was adapted from Baking: From My Home To Yours by Dorie Greenspan, Houghton Mifflin Company, November 2006.



Verdict:

Just like Dorie said in her opening words to the recipe - fudgy, chocolaty and melty. Tom just loved sinking his teeth into these. Soeren not only loved the batter but could not stop eating these scrumptious squares. He wanted one after dinner as dessert and of course a few in his lunchbox. A few were eaten by our neighbors kids and they keep coming back and asking when I'll be making these again.

I think with Dorie's book I can finally evolve to becoming a bit of a baker girl ;-)

Look forward to more recipes from this book.

Try this Cranberry Upside Downer from Baking: From My Home To Yours

Check out what the other 24 bloggers around the world baked up and read about their thoughts on this new cookbook here.




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19 comments :

  1. mmm brownies, these look delish!

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  2. Hi Meeta,
    I've been visiting your blog quite often and the brownies finally egged me to comment :-P They look really yummmyyy, just how I like my brownies, 'hard top and a melt-in-mouth' center.

    I loved the matte efect in the photos and the borders just add magic !!

    Thank you for the converters too :-)
    Happy Baking !!

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  3. I love helpful signposts like this: "Don't be concerned when your smooth mixture turns grainy."

    I wish more recipe writers give them.

    Did you read the snarky review of this book that Tamasin Day-Lewis wrote? (I think it was in Saveur.) It really made me question her judgement, it was so negative.

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  4. Meeta those look so wonderful! I'm glad you are enjoying the book as much as I am.

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  5. Wonderful brownies! My kids would devour those in minutes!:))
    Thanks Meeta!!

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  6. I love reading about all the bloggers who are doing recipes from this book, I definitely think I need to get it.

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  7. It is quite an amazing book, isn't it. And I'm not even a sweets eater. BTW, your blog is looking very spiffy.

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  8. Hello Ladies,
    Wonderful that you all liked these. Trust me they were just awesome.

    Priya Well glad the brownies made you come out and comment. Hope you will do more of that! Glad you also liked the photos. The feedback there is always appreciated.

    Anita Yes, I do too! I did not read the review but I will go and see if I can Google it. I can imagine the book might get negative publicity, but I honestly think this is one book worth having in your kitchen. It is well written - just fun to read and the recipes are easy to follow. Really worth the buy.

    Sara I thank you for allowing me to be a part of the project.

    Lis, They were!

    Asha Yup these are brownies especially for the kids - of all ages ;-)

    Bri Put it on your X-mas wish list - if you can wait that long!

    Kalyn It really is. Look foward to your recipe too. Thanx for that "spiffy" comment!

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  9. Meeta, Thanks sooo much for the post card! Sun, sand and sea is always wonderful!!! Hope you enjoyed sun,sand&sea as much as I enjoyed Paris and Vienna.
    I am really liking the Baking by Dorie!! I'll be getting my post by next week! I did the dimply Plumb Cake two nights ago and it was divine!!!

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  10. They look wonderful, I'm planning on baking my contribution up over the weekend!

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  11. somewhere over the rainbow is very nice snap I like it. You are good photohgrapher.

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  12. nicely described recipe. These recipes are demystifying the chocolate brownie. I no longer buy the ready mixes!I like the part of licking the spoons.thants what my little one likes to do.

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  13. Wow.... so now we get to see more of baking....... You can check the sundae I made with brownie on my blog. :)

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  14. Both the recipe and the book seem top notch. I think this book may be a good gift for a hesitant or new baker. thanks for the review and comments.

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  15. Meeta your blog has a new look,Wow!What amazing photography Meeta.Would love to see your recipes along with the pictures in a book:)

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  16. Tanna So glad you got the postcard. the Dimply Plum cake looked great too. I played with the idea of making that too as my mum-inlaw keeps sending over truck loads of plums! look forward to your verdict!

    Pam, your cheesecake looks fab!

    Rajesh, Thank you so much for that compliment. That has become one of my fave photos too. Welcome to my blog.

    Shaheen, This recipe is so simple and it tastes so good that you really can forget those ready made things. Baking with the kiddies is always a pleasure isn't it?

    Rooma I know baking was not my strong point but I think I will learn with this book!

    Mrs. B A wonderful gift, no doubt about it.

    Sumi, Nice to have you back and thank you.

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  17. This is a fun website. I will return! Some of the recipe titles look intimidating, but I will continue to browse and look for ideas. Thanks!

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  18. Just overbaked mine, and they look totally different from the picture. Although this could be because I just used 6 ounces of 70% Lindt bittersweet chocolate, and didn't add walnuts so that may have made them quite a bit thinner (they were only about 2cm thick, which is pretty thin brownie-wise). Really want to get these right as they look great! Any suggestions? I think I'd cook them for much less time (20 minutes to start). Also 325F is more like 160C, which is what I did mine at, but they still burnt.

    See how deranged I am from lack of chocolate right now?! Full of crazy.

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Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.

Hugs
Meeta