Icing Sugar Cloud

That "pfft" of icing sugar that covers every surface in your kitchen. It happens to the best of us…


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Brownies: To Frost or Not to Frost

So, I’m on the question for the perfect brownie because … well, why not?  Unfortunately on my first attempt I fear I may have succeeded!  This is obviously devastating news as I had planned to do a whole series of brownie posts (and eat obscene quantities of brownies in the process).  Still, I’ll have to see how this bad boy stands up to the addition of nuts, chocolate chips, salted caramel sauce, fruit (both dried and fresh)…  I think I’ll manage!

I made the “Baked” brownie from the book “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking“.  This is an American cookbook, as most of my baking books tend to be, from the BAKED NYC Bakery and there are some truly scrumptious looking bakes in this treasure. Peanut butter crispy bar, anyone?  And their Sweet & Salty Cake inspired my own salted caramel chocolate cake.  You have to convert the recipes from cups, but that’s not really an issue for me anymore; I can do it in my head!

I’m not going to print the recipe here.  I don’t have permission and I know I’d be annoyed if someone reproduced my recipe without my consent.  (Psst.  Google may help you!)  I’m working on some variations of it though, so when I’ve changed it a bit, I’ll post my recipe then.

But back to the brownies.  The delicious, fudgy brownie that made me want to lock myself in my bedroom like the teenage boy having just discovered, ahem, himself and not come out until I had regained consciousness from my rich chocolate-induced coma.  In fact, I ate so many of these brownies when I first made them that I did indeed make myself feel rather ill.  If I hadn’t made them myself, I would’ve sworn there was crack in them or something.  You have been warned!

I’m not one for cakey brownies, I’m with Baked on that.  Anyone who wants a cakey brownie can, quite frankly, do one.  A cakey brownie is in actual fact a cake.  A chocolate cake.  This is where I understand the no frosting argument the most too: cakey brownie + frosting = cake.  A cake disguised as a brownie.  If that’s what you want, have chocolate cake not a brownie!  And whilst we’re at it, do you know who else can do one?  Those people who think you get a delicious fudgy brownie by undercooking it.  Do one.  You just get raw batter tasting gloop.  A brownie it is not.  You know who you are, so just stop it.

Baked comments that brownies should be unfrosted.  Naked.  A frosted brownie is just a wannabe cake.  I can kind of see their point…

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The not-totally-naked brownie. I had to dust with some cocoa powder. I can never just leave something alone!

The unadulterated (ignore the cocoa powder!) brownie is a delightful thing: rich, fudgy, decadent, chocolatey, delicious.  It seems a much more “adult” treat, like the baked version of 85% posh dark chocolate.  A small, even stingy-looking, amount is sufficient to give the best food high.  This is not a goody you’d give a child, mostly because they’d have to fight you for it.  Remember when your parents would say to you “Oh, you wouldn’t like it”.  This is that time.

Now enter, the frosted brownie…

"Baked" brownie with salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and yet more cocoa dusting.  I may have a problem...

“Baked” brownie with salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream and yet more cocoa dusting. I may have a problem…

Go on.  Take it all in.  Bask in the glory of that brownie: dense chocolatey goodness topped with light salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream.  This.  Was.  Awesome.

Now  I must confess, this brownie is only topped with salted caramel swiss meringue buttercream because I had some left over that needed using up.  You know, as you do.  Actually, this is a scarily regular occurrence in my house.  And I wonder why I can never shift that last 7lbs…  However, the combination totally worked.  How could it not?!  In fact, when my husband took the leftovers into work – if I’d had these in the house there would have been a further nausea and coma-inducing gorging session – his colleague said that he’d had a “personal moment” upon eating this brownie.

In fact, I think I’m going to have to go and make another batch, just to test that it wasn’t a fluke…

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