Wednesday, June 8, 2011
First, a little back story. I bragged to someone that I knew the reason why brownies have that nice flaky crust on the top while cakes don't. I said that it's because of the unbeaten egg whites (just stirred in and not beaten) float to the top of the batter and created that nice flaky crust. I should have known better than to brag without any back up of experimental data because that someone actually went and did research on brownie flaky top crust and found this article from The Kitchn.
The article said that the crazy beating of the egg whites create the meringue which results in the flaky top crust of the brownie. That is...totally the opposite of my theory. So what is left to do but to make an experiment out of the issue?
I used the brownie cookie recipe from My Baking Addiction. I lied to Helen earlier and told her that I got my recipe from Smitten Kitchen. I'm a great liar.
I melted 1 stick of butter and 16 ounces of dark chocolate chips (60% cacao). The original recipe only called for 1/2 stick of butter but I knew better!
While the butter and the chocolate chips were busy sexing each other on the stove, I got the eggs ready. Since the recipe called for 4 eggs, I divided that into two portions. You can see that the purple bowl contained 2 eggs beaten like there was no tomorrow and the orange bowl had 2 eggs that I barely stirred together.
Then I got 1 1/3 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, divide both of those in half and add each half to both bowls.
This delicious melted butter and chocolate was like blood of the gods or something.
1/2 cup of flour and 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder are mixed and also divided in half. Doesn't 1/2 cup of flour seem ridiculously little to you?
The melted chocolate was also divided in half. Half was mixed with the well beaten eggs seen here in the blue bowl.
The other half was add to the barely-stired eggs in the green bowl.
Each bowl also got half of the flour/baking soda mixture stirred in.
Then I scooped them out using an ice cream scoop. Best use of an ice cream scoop, besides scooping ice cream, ever! What you see here are the batter from the well beaten eggs bowl. I ran out of baking pans so I had to use a cupcake pan for this.
...and these are the batter from the barely-stirred-eggs bowl.
Both got some more chocolate chips incorporated into the batter (about 1 cup in each bowl) and then thrown into the preheated oven at 350 degrees F for a total of 10 minutes. I don't know about you but when I was making this, I completely forgot to preheat the damn oven!
This is the brownie from the well-beaten eggs batch.
These are from the barely-stirred batch.
I couldn't tell the difference between the two regarding top crust flakiness. I also couldn't tell the difference between the taste. They were both extremely moist, dense, extremely chocolaty and everything that a brownie ought to be.
Here's a side-by-side comparison. The one on the left belonged to the well-beaten eggs bowl and the one on the right was from the barely-stirred eggs bowl. I'll leave it up to you to decide if
The Kitchn was right or I was right. Or maybe there are more than one way to get the brownie crust flaky.
Happy baking delicious experimental treats! I have inadvertently became a baker. What?