Friday, March 13, 2009

Cookbook Review

LinkIf you live in the Bay Area, are passionate about baking, and have to add to your cookbook collection, this is a great chance not only to buy a brand new baking book, but to have it signed by the author, Flo Braker, an amazingly talented baker and cookbook author.

Flo Braker will be signing her new book Baking for All Occasions at a new bookstore devoted to books about cooking and gastronomy, Omnivore Books on Food in SF, on Saturday, March 14, from 3 to 4 PM. She will be joined by special guest Amy Pressman of Los Angeles, one of the founders of Bakers' Dozen.

Flo has a great eye and palate for delicious recipes, she has written many cookbooks and is a teaching instructor. Baking for All Occasions has lots of wonderful recipes, from simple cookies to scrumptious cakes like the one on the cover, Eggnog Pound Cake with Crystal Rum Glaze (can I say YUMMY!). The recipes are explained in every detail to set you up for success. I have tried many of her recipes (my favorite of all is her Panforte recipe from Sweet Miniatures), they are well written and easy to follow, and they always turned out perfect, like these Congo Brownies.

Congo Brownies
from Baking for All Occasions

Congo layer
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 ounces butter, melted and cooled
1 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, stir together the melted butter, brown sugar, egg, egg white, and vanilla until just blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until the batter is smooth. Spread the batter onto a lightly buttered and floured quarter sheet pan (13x9" pan). Sprinkle the walnuts evenly on top and gently press them into the batter. Partially bake at 350F until the layer is no longer shiny and is beginning to come away from the sides of the pan, about 20 minutes. Cool on a wire rack while you make the brownie layer.

Brownie Layer
1 cup plus 2 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. In a small saucepan, melt the chocolate and butter over low heat, stirring with a silicone spatula until smooth. Let cool 5 minuted. Stir the sugar into the chocolate mixture until incorporated. Add the eggs, egg yolk, and vanilla and stir until well blended. Stir in the flour mixture just until the batter is smooth. Scoop the tick batter onto 8 or 9 different areas of the still warm Congo Layer. With the offset spatula, spread the batter as evenly as possible. Bake until the brownie layer top is no longer shiny; appears set; feels firm rather than soft; and a round wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist chocolate crumbs attached, about 25 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack completely. The top layer will set as it cools.

Flo decorated the brownies with a chocolate glaze made of 3 ounces of chocolate (semisweet or bittersweet), and 3 tablespoons of heavy cream. I simply melted some chocolate, put it into a paper cone and drizzled it on the brownies.

1 comment:

Littlebakerbunny said...

Beautiful brownies! I linked to your review at my blog, Ipso Fatto.


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