Gadgets! More gadgets and kitchenware. More plates, bowls, silverware and cups. Ice-cream maker, blender, electric whisk, puree machine and the rice cooker.
No - I am not taking inventory!
I am a kitchenware and gadget hog. I do not collect unnecessarily of course, only things I need. Tom might actually argue with that because a man cannot begin to understand that we need more than one knife and tart forms in small, medium and large are totally required. Even my prop box, the one with individual dishes and bowls for my photography, is totally necessary. I admit lately it has become a bit more than just a box - it has extended to a larger drawer space in the living room AND the box.
I have however, made a promise to myself. After my pasta machine arrives, I will stop hogging. But then I saw the Browniebabe Apron and knew it had to adorn my kitchen. I wanted to be a browniebabe. Unfortunately I missed the first one, but decided the second round of this fantastic event, created by the lovely Myriam, was one event I just needed to take part in.
I went in search of the ultimate brownie, what I found was a "whitie" from the brilliant Dorie Greenspan and her incredible Baking: From My Home To yours. Ever since I got my hands on the book I have been making a few incredibly delicious things. I will forever be indebted to Sara!
The past few months however, although I have referred to the book for several things (the book is filled with a wealth of knowledge) I have not made much from it. Shame on me! As my copy of the book is covered with post-its in several colors, highlighting all the recipes I still would like to make. So, without much ado I decided to turn to Dorie to help me find the perfect brownie recipe. And she did not let me down. This wonderful white chocolate brownie speckled with fruity raspberries is decadent and rich. Dotted with a raspberry coulis it becomes an elegant party dessert.
Dorie herself describes this just wonderfully:
The cake layer is slender, delightfully dense and both sweet and tart; the meringue is soft and golden. You can tell them brownies, but serve them with a swirl of raspberry coulis and they'll be worthy of a black-tie gala.I do not often make desserts or cakes with white chocolate and this prompted me to go in search of this ingredient.
White chocolate officially is not chocolate at all. To be called "real" chocolate it needs to contain chocolate liquor, which is what gives it the bitter intense chocolate flavor and color to dark and milk chocolates. Good quality white chocolate contains cocoa butter, milk solids, sugar, lecithin and flavorings, usually including vanilla. Cocoa butter is the fat from cocoa beans, extracted from the cocoa beans during the process of making chocolate and cocoa powder. Cocoa butter has very little 'chocolate' flavor. When buying white chocolate check the label to see if it contains cocoa butter as some inferior brands contain vegetable fat.
White chocolate is is ivory in color and rich and creamy in texture. It is a difficult product to work with when baking as it scorches easily, causing the cocoa butter to split and create an oily compound that cannot be recovered and must be discarded. Therefore, it is recommended to work with high quality brands of white chocolates. I use the brand Lindt, which is also available in the US.
Well with that knowledge and Dorie's help I think I have a pretty good looking and darned great tasting little brownie.
White Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From My Home To yours
70g (2/3 cup) all-purpose flour
85g (1/2 cup) finely ground almonds
115g (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
113g (4 ounces) premium-quality white chocolate - coarsely chopped
190g ( 1 cup) sugar
2 teaspoons grated orange zest
4 large eggs
1 vanilla bean - insides scraped
200g (1 cup) fresh raspberries
3 large egg whites - room temperature
Pinch of salt
95g (1/2 cup) sugar
Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to approx 170 degrees C. Butter a rectangular pan, about 9x13 inch and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the paper and dust the bottom and sides of the pan with flour, tapping out any excess. Place the pan on a baking sheet.
In a bowl, mix together the flour, ground almonds and salt. Allow some water to gently simmer in a saucepan, set a heatproof bowl over this creating a water-bath. Place the butter in the bowl and add the chopped chocolate, stirring frequently until the chocolate had just melted. Do not allow the mixture to get to hot, otherwise the chocolate and butter will separate. As soon as the chocolate has melted remove from heat.
In another large bowl rub the sugar and orange zest together with your fingers until the sugar is moist and aromatic. Add the eggs and with an electric whisk or hand mixer beat on medium-high speed for approx. 3 minutes until pale and foamy. Add the vanilla and then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the chocolate mixture. Mix in the dry ingredients, stirring only until they disappear into the batter. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan and sprinkle evenly with raspberries. Set aside while you get the meringue ready.
In a clean bowl, using a clean whisk attachment or beaters, beat the egg whites with a pinch of salt on medium speed until foamy and turn opaque. Increase the speed to medium-high and slowly add the sugar in a steady stream. Whip the whites until they form firm, glossy peaks.
Gently spread the meringue over the brownie batter.
Bake for 30 - 35 minutes, until the meringue is browned and crackly and the brownies pull away from the sides of the pan. Allow to cool on a rack.
Gently turn the brownies out on to the rack, making sure not to squish the meringue. Peel away the parchment paper lining and carefully invert the brownies onto a cutting board. Cut into approx. 32 bars.
250g (2 cups) fresh raspberries
35g (3 tablespoons) sugar
Put the berries and sugar in a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. Taste and mix more sugar if required. Press the coulis through a strainer to remove the seeds.
Swirl some of the fresh coulis over a brownie and enjoy!
A wonderfully sweet dessert cake. There is nothing normal about this brownie - it's soft, moist and cake like texture goes perfectly with the slight tanginess from the raspberries and the coulis adds perfect elegance to it. I think when I said we were making brownies to Soeren and produced this there was a seconds disappointment, after one bite there was nothing but pure satisfaction on his face. Even Tom had this "Get outta here!" look on his face when I told him it was a brownie.
For those of you in Europe taking part in this round of EBBP are probably keen on knowing what I sent, to who and what I got from whom. As always it was a lot of fun packing away a little something to my parcel partner who had no idea from which European destination the package would be arriving. And it was even more exciting waiting for the mailman to bring a package to my doorstep. Johanna of The Passionate Cook set a theme this time - "Childhood Sweets"
Curious to see what was in my parcel and where it went? Click here for more.
My parcel made it's way all the way from the UK. It came from a wonderful blogger I have had the pleasure of recently getting to know. She is simply lovely and a few days ago I found out that she celebrates her birthday just a day before mine!
Abby from Eating The Right Stuff packed together a lovely parcel for me. She was so thoughtful to even pack a small birthday cake from Konditor & Cook for me - god I was touched. So, as I devoured the cake I inspected the rest.
Abby grew up in Malawi and says:
I grew up in Malawi and sweets and chocolates were very scarce.So, she racked her brains and sent me some African bubble gum and lollipops. She also packed some Rowntrees fruit pastels and gums:
When we went to the cinema I remember my mum buying boxes of Rowntrees fruit pastels and fruit gums. The pastels were for my brother and I and the gums for my mum.There was also a bar of Green & Black's cherry chocolate, some natural chips, seed biscuits and lovely Damson fruit cheese. I am not sure about the Gentlemen's Relish though
a bit of an oddity ... it's an anchovy paste which my father used to smear very thinly on buttered toast.Abby for you I will give the paste a try!
I thank you for this wonderful package and your thoughts. I enjoyed reading about the sweets in your life and simply look forward to getting to know you more.
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