Sunday, October 28, 2007

cranberry almond brownies

Chocolate chip cookies and brownies. Those are two recipes I've been testing for the past few years. The hunt for my favorite brownie recipe came after I had a Tammie Coe brownie from La Grande Orange (LGO) where she sells her pastries (her cake shop and baker are next door, but she deals exclusively with special-order cakes there).

The brownie was amazing--dense, yet soft, and very chocolaty without being overly sweet. The top had a little bite and chew to it, and the center was almost like a truffle. A week later, craving one, I eagerly head to the LGO and picked up another one. I was disappointed. It looked identical, but it was almost gooey, and I seemed to be able to taste alkaline. I've had the brownie a few other times since, and they've been really inconsistent. My solution was to try baking recipes at home. I've come up with one, a hybrid of several recipes I've tried, and while the taste and texture are there ... well, they're ugly. They fall, and that does affect the mouth feel. I wanted something that would rise to the occasion, and stay risen.

My latest try was "Suzanne's Best Brownies" off Simply Recipes. The description of the taste off the blog was close to what I wanted, and while I've been trying to lay off baking the full-sugar, white-flour baking, this was part of a life-long mission. I halved the recipe (which I've always done successfully with brownie recipes), and added almonds and, one one end, cranberries. They tasted good. They just weren't what I was craving. Onward with my search!
cranberry almond brownies

One of my favorite parts of cooking, especially baking, is seeing the process. My chef-instructor for Principles of Professional Cooking was always telling us to know what to expect. Sometimes, though, the changes are so subtle. I can't believe that these photos are in chronological order.
cranberry almond brownies
cranberry almond brownies
DSC00435
cranberry almond brownies
cranberry almond brownies

I like to bake half-batches if I'm just baking to try out a recipe. I have my share, then give the leftovers to volunteer testers, aka unsuspecting friends.
cranberry almond brownies
cranberry almond brownies

Chock full o' nuts!
cranberry almond brownies

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