Saturday, May 7, 2011

Brownie Cupcakes

Ah, Friday, the last day of the week. It’s the day where you can’t help but feel tired, physically and mentally, from the days before. It’s the day when you apparently yawn so much that it becomes a “problem” for your English teacher so she asks you to go for a walk (as if that makes any sense). It’s the day that my best friend Jenny usually comes over to catch up, hang out, or bake. Jenny has singing lessons in the evening and her teacher lives a couple blocks away from where I live, so we chill beforehand.




On Friday, I decided to visit Jenny instead, partially because it’s not fair that she’s the one that visits me all the time and partially because I needed her to help me with my photography summative. We had planned to shoot outside, but by the time I knocked on her door, I was already wet from the light drizzle, so we decided to just hang out inside instead.
 


For us, hanging out is akin to eating and baking. Sometimes, Jenny comes over and makes chocolate chip cookies. Not because I want to eat them, but because she just feels like it. That’s just how we are. On Friday, we decided to make chocolate brownies. We didn’t have the correct size baking pan, so Jenny came up with the genius idea to use muffin tins and make cupcake brownies.



Deliciously fudgy and chocolate-y, these brownies don’t resemble the cupcakes in any way—besides that they were baked in the same muffin tin. Brownie cupcakes are substantial, like three good old-fashioned double chocolate cookie compressed into one flat little brownie/cupcake. If you can handle that much chocolate-y goodness in one brownie cupcake, then you are a true chocolate-lover.  



The thing I love the most about this recipe is that it produces the fudgy-est, chewiest brownies ever. And it’s a one saucepan deal—no extra bowls and cups to wash. However, I do want to warn you that reading the rest of this post may ruin your image of the perfect brownie. There’s a reason these brownies are so rich and fudgy: they have a ton of butter, sugar, and eggs, the three things anyone trying to avoid cardiac arrest on a diet would avoid like the plague. 

 
I liked the brownies, but I couldn’t eat more than two because they were so rich and sweet. My brother Kyle loved these brownies—the kid is as skinny as a metre stick, so it’s fine for him to ingest four of these brownie cupcakes, but my parents were more discerning. My mom ate one and claimed she had a toothache from all the sugar and my dad just didn’t eat past the first bite. “Your brownies are good,” my mom said, “but only for children who want to get cavities.”

Click below for the recipe.


Rich, Fudgy Brownies

Jenny and I used 1 ¾ cups sugar, instead of the 2 cups of granulated sugar the recipe called for, and we substituted ¾ cup granulated with brown sugar to promote chewiness. The brownies were still too sweet, so I would recommend using only 1 ½ cups of sugar. Also, because we can’t get enough chocolate, we threw some chips in as well.


Ingredients:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup unsweetened natural cocoa powder
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½  teaspoon salt
  • ½ cup semi-sweet or white chocolate chips (optional)


Directions:
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Line two standard 12-cup muffin trays with paper liners (or butter and line a 9-inch-square metal baking pan, with parchment paper).

In a medium powder, mix the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt until evenly combined. If the cocoa powder appears lumpy, sift it before stirring. 

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the sugar and cook for two minutes until the sugar is partially melted. Take the pan off the heat and let cool for a few minutes. Whisk in eggs and the 
vanilla. 

Stir in the dry ingredients, beating until the batter is smooth and uniform, about 1 minute. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin tins (or pour batter into the prepared pan). Bake until a toothpick or a skewer inserted 3/4 inch into the center of the brownies comes out with just a few moist clumps clinging to it, about 25 minutes (40 minutes for pan brownies). Don’t over-bake! Jenny and I over-baked our brownies so they were a little firmer than we wanted. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack. 

If you made your brownies in a pan, cut them into 16 squares. I liked that I didn't have to cut anything since the brownies were already individual muffin cups. Someone always ends up with a tiny brownie because I can't cut in a straight line.

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