Thursday, February 26, 2009

Baked: This book was made for me

I heard about this new cookbook when it came out last fall and was intrigued with the title. And when I read more about the bakery I swear I started a little fund to save for that trip to New York I've always wanted to take. Baked in Brooklyn will be one of my first stops.

Until then, I plan to make as many recipes from their cookbook as possible. To start, I needed a cake for my mom's birthday and made the Milk Chocolate Malt Ball Cake. I'm fond of malt flavor, and apparently so are Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, the proprietors. The cake was soft and heavenly - white cake with subtle malt flavor. The Milk Chocolate Frosting was pretty much the best I've ever had. You make it like a ganache, by pouring hot cream over chopped chocolate. But then you beat in three sticks of butter. Heaven. I used my little bit of leftover to frost some sugar cookies.

Next I tried the first recipe from the breakfast chapter - Sour Lemon Scones. With an abundance of fresh lemons in my yard, it was a good fit. I'm a sucker for any recipe that calls for fresh lemon zest. The book calls the scones "elegant" but I disagree. I'd call them a little slice of heaven - light and airy with sunshiny lemon flavor. They're more like a comfort food to me. My husband was a big fan too. The recipe makes quite a bit, so I refrigerated some of the dough for a few days and baked them fresh later. They turned out great, although these scones reheat fairly well too.

I saved the best for last - Baked's famous Brownies. They were featured as one of Oprah's favorite things, catapulting them to instant stardom. The Baked Brownie was also chosen as the favorite brownie by America's Test Kitchen and The Today Show. And I will add my vote as the best brownie I've ever eaten. Number 30 on my list is to develop the perfect brownie recipe. I'm just going to count that as done. It doesn't get better than these. And when I e-mailed Baked to ask if I could share the recipe I got a nice response from Matt Lewis. Go make them now. And while the brownies are in the oven baking, go online and order yourself the whole book: Baked, New Frontiers in Baking - by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.

Yield: 24 brownies

The Baked brownie is a beautiful thing. It has won the hearts and minds of many people, been featured on the pages of O Magazine as a favorite thing, and won best brownie by the folks at America’s Test Kitchen and the Today Show. Our brownie really owes many kudos to our friend and superstar pastry chef Lesli Heffler-Flick. She created the original ultimate brownie for us. It is dense, chocolatey, and slightly fudgy, and we are forever grateful to her for letting us adapt her recipe.

Baked Note: A great brownie is easy to make, but you have to be aware of several factors. 1. Use a dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona. A pale, light-colored cocoa does not have enough depth. 2. Make sure your eggs are room temperature and do not overbeat them into the batter, and 3. Check your brownies often as they bake. An even slightly overbaked brownie is not a Baked Brownie.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.


Becky said...

Sounds heavenly. I love scones especially. I will forward this recipe to my husband, who adores brownies.

Jane @ What About Mom? said...

I read a post yesterday (from Marcy's friend) that made me think of this:

Now I don't know which recipe to try first. I'll probably just stick w/ my trusty duncan hines, but maybe I'll do some of that ganache-frosting for on top.

The Eggers said...

That malt ball cake looks so good...and perfect! You are such a good cook/baker. Way to be creative!

Maren and Sam said...

I am so making the brownies!! I linked to amazon to buy a copy of Baked.

Kirby3131 said...

OhMyGoodness!! YUM

That's about all I can say. :)

Jessica said...

I just *may* have made brownies the last two nights (not for me!!) but tonight I think I'm making these for ME!

Robyn said...

Oh Tara, every time I look at that book it almost makes me go to my amazon account and order it! It was on my wish list for Christmas. I just may have to insist it come with the anniversary in May. Their cakes are superb!

Jess B said...

Well, I got this book from the library about a week after this post and I've only made the granola and the root beer bundt cake, but OH. MY. WORD!! Yum! Thanks for posting about this book!!