Monday, July 30, 2012

Almond Brownies

“Other things are just food. But chocolate’s chocolate.”
 Patrick Skene Catling

''Amma, will you teach me how to bake when I grow up?''
''Of course! What will you learn to bake first?''
''Yumm! And I will be following you all around the place, pestering you for some endlessly''.
''But I will take just one photo and give you the brownies.''

Words like this make you feel funny inside and make you almost handover the brownies all-poised over the plate. Well, almost! :)

Between everyday chores and cooking, several shopping trips with sis-in-law, juggling to reach home by the time kids come home (one at lunch time and one late afternoon) its hardly been the most conducive of times for baking and blogging. But bake I must, some bit at least or how will I sleep? I want to feed decent grub to the visiting family, scratch the urge to bake and Jeez I have a blog to feed too! Hubby's 14-year-old niece (a budding food stylist, avid Food Network viewer ) often browses my baking books. Oohs and aahs and 'could we please try this?' punctuate her browsing. She is a firm believer of there can never be too much of chocolate, so chocolate it has been of late!

Our rushed outings make it difficult for me to bake things in the morning, specially those which need to be photographed as soon as they are made. Having 3 little chocolate monsters around, brownies are an easy way out. Bake late in the evening (with a foreword / warning to the kids that I can't cut them immediately) refrigerate the brownies overnight for neat cuts, photograph in the morning. And who says you can't have dessert after breakfast once in a while? So it was time to bake the long-ago bookmarked and a score times drooled over Hazelnut Brownies from Cenk's beautiful blog. Loads of chocolate, hazelnuts, some ground and some chopped ,in a dense brownie, Cenk describes them as biting into your favorite chocolate - Ferraro Rocher? Yumm! Brownie goodness can't get better! Moist, rich, very chocolaty and nutty, these were yumm!!!

Things don't always go as planned, I had no time for pictures the next day. I could of course not deny the waiting kids their brownie pleasure. The day next finally saw me taking pictures of the remaining brownies hidden away, while it rained just long enough to make the all daylight disappear. While I complained about the cloudy weather and mentioned that I had to redo the baking and taking pictures on a couple of occasions, hubby's niece grinned and said 'You could bake these again, I wouldn't really mind eating them'   Neither would I!

Adapted from here. I have used almonds in place of the hazelnuts and thrown in a bit of coffee...

  • Bittersweet chocolate, chopped - 280 grams (try this)
  • Unsalted butter, very soft - 113 grams 
  • Sugar - 200 grams / 1 cup (read note)
  • Almonds / hazelnuts, toasted - 150 plus 75 grams (try this)
  • Eggs - 3, large / 150 grams 
  • Vanilla extract - 1 teaspoon ( use pure always)
  • All-purpose flour - 32 grams / 1/4 cup
  • Instant coffee - 1 1/2 teaspoons
Method : 
  1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C / 350F . Line bottom and sides of a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper and set aside. Mise en place. 
  2. Toast the almonds till fragrant, cool. Chop roughly 75 grams of almonds and keep aside. 
  3. Place the remaining 150 grams almonds in a plastic bag and bash with a rolling pin till its chopped into small bits. This helps grind the almonds faster and avoid over-processing. In the smallest jar of your mixer, using about a tablespoon of flour for each batch, grind the bashed almonds in 3 batches in short spurts (about 30-60 seconds). The nuts may not be completely fine, but I do not grind too much as the nuts may release oil. Once all the nuts are ground, mix the entire flour-nut mixture and coffee well. Keep aside. 
  4. Melt butter and chocolate in the microwave or over a bowl over simmering water and let cool for 5 minutes or till its at almost room temperature. Check (my video below) for an easy way to melt chocolate over the stove-top!
  5. Add sugar and whisk until combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, and whisk until combined. Stir in the vanilla extract.
  6.  Fold in the flour and nut mixture into the batter. Fold in roughly chopped almonds or hazelnuts into the batter. Pour the mixture into the prepared pan, smooth the top with a spatula and bake for 30-35 minutes or till a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with gooey crumbs (not wet batter) clinging to it . Do not overbake, that is extremely extremely important.
  7. Let cool to room temperature. Cut into 3 inch squares. Store airtight, wrapped in clingfilm individually. 

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Easy method to melt chocolate on the stove, no double boiler necessary!

How to grind almonds or any other nuts

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Divya Kudua said...

Brownies are welcome any time of the day,breakfast,lunch,dinner or in between.Haven't baked a brownie in ages and your post isn't helping one bit:)Love nuts in brownies so got to try these! said...

Ohh lovely post.. the brownies looks so soft and delicious! I am drooling!

Sum said...

Awesome Suma! I'm drooling over them! Cute of ur lil kid about taking a single pic :)

Chitra said...

first time here. Nice blog with awesome collections. Love to visit more often :) This brownie looks soft ... will try sometime :)

Nachiketa said...

Oh Sumaaaaaa.... early morning cravings looking at ure blog.... One lucky niece you have... :)

Samira said...

Nice, delicious.... both brownies and the clicks..... Just too tempting for a person like me who is fasting right away ;-(

simran said...

chocolate is a food category all on its own.......a good category..the pics are great and the brownies look to die for!

Tina said...


Unknown said...

Best perfect brownies...looks yum!

Archana said...

OOOOOOOOOO! OMG! These are delicious. Glad kid is trying to decipher her Marathi reading else I would have had my monster following around me pestering foor them now. Bookmarked.

Vimitha Durai said...

I would die for a bite. Heavenly

Unknown said...

brownies are perfect and got a good shape... bookmaked :-)

zareena said...

mmmm.... lovely and delicious looking brownies. Perfectly baked.

Indu said...

Hi ,

Could you tell me what brand of chocolate you generally use for baking . Can the processed chocolate compound by Amul used ?

Priya Suresh said...

Droolingggggggggg here, irresistible.