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Cooks Illustrated Chewy Brownies

jenhen2 Feb 6, 2010 01:38 PM

I just got the new Cooks Illustrated in the mail two days ago and they have a recipe for chewy (like boxed) brownies that involves veg oil. Has anyone tried these? There's also a video on the web site. I'm wondering if they're really chocolate-y or if the flavor is lacking when they focused on the texture. Please let me know if you've tried them. I'm thinking of making them for the Super Bowl tomorrow. Thanks!

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    Eddie24 RE: jenhen2 Feb 6, 2010 06:12 PM

    I made these this afternoon, and I found them to taste very much like boxed brownies. Chewy and not very chocolate-ly. I was disappointed. It may be that I didn't chop up the bittersweet chocolate into small enough pieces, since some bites of the brownie were more chocolate-ly than others - so if you do make it, you may want to add more chocolate chunks or cut the chocolate into smaller pieces.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Eddie24
      jenhen2 RE: Eddie24 Feb 7, 2010 03:57 AM

      Thanks Eddie. I'm sad that they didn't live up to your expectations. I LOVE a good chewy brownie, but that they're not that flavorful doesn't bode well. I have a bag of peanut butter chips I was thinking of using instead of the chocolate chunks, but then it sounds like I won't have any chocolate flavor at all! I guess I'll stick with my normal recipe. Thanks for the helpful reply!

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      Snorkelvik RE: jenhen2 Feb 6, 2010 07:53 PM

      I read that article too. I've just started to like brownies. My bf made them a few times - betty crocker. Not so good. So I was excited to see chewy brownies in Cooks. Recipe was way too complicated. It inspired me to check out the baker's aisle at my local Shop Rite - If it's good enough for cook's illustrated staff, it's good enough for me. Pillsbury Milk Chocolate brownie mix. D-e-l-i-c-i-o-u-s!!!!

      2 Replies
      1. re: Snorkelvik
        jenhen2 RE: Snorkelvik Feb 7, 2010 03:58 AM

        I didn't think the recipe was complicated - it's just one bowl and you don't even have to melt anything except the butter. Besides needing all the ingredients, seems just as easy as the boxes. Of course, Eddie says they weren't that great, so maybe the point is moot, but didn't seem that complicated to me.

        1. re: jenhen2
          Snorkelvik RE: jenhen2 Feb 7, 2010 08:02 AM

          You're right, the recipe isn't complicated. It's like jlunar said, the ingredient list is daunting for me. I don't have espresso powder, cocoa, unsweetened chocolate or bittersweet chocolate.

          I'll keep my eye out for Ghirardelli Sweet Ground mix - that sounds great!

      2. jlunar RE: jenhen2 Feb 6, 2010 08:10 PM

        I saw that. Didn't love the ingredient list and neither do I like the taste of box-brownies. I quite enjoy the one-bowl brownie recipe though and have had good success (in taste-tests with fam and friends) with them.

        To me, they're chewy enough and chocolately enough. And then you add some salted caramel... !

        http://www.foodpr0n.com/ -- food. is. love.

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          adamshoe RE: jenhen2 Feb 6, 2010 08:39 PM

          Ghirardelli triple chocolate brownie mix!! Hard to find except for @ costco. So frackin' good why bother with homemade? (This coming from an avid baker...) adam

          1 Reply
          1. re: adamshoe
            chinitav RE: adamshoe Feb 7, 2010 07:04 AM

            I agree, if you're going to use a mix, Ghirardelli is the best. But almost as easy and certainly the best brownies I've ever made are from the Ghirardelli Sweet Ground Chocolate box --
            they are amazing! Very simple to put together and everyone raves about them.

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            ksherk RE: jenhen2 Feb 7, 2010 06:57 AM

            For those who have found these disappointing, have you tried Hershey's Best Brownies recipe? http://www.hersheys.com/recipes/recip... It is my never-fail, go-to brownie recipe. I was startled how easy it is. (I generally use better cocoa tho.) The recipe recommends an icing too; I don't think it's necessary, they're just fine on their own.

            1. rabaja RE: jenhen2 Feb 7, 2010 07:26 AM

              I fell in love with the Martha Stewart brownie recipe last year, it's in her newish baking book.
              One bowl, and so fast and easy.
              I like to double it and make it in a half-sheet pan. You end up with 24 good-sized brownies this way, or more smaller ones. And minimal fuss.
              Another things I do is replace the 1 t. salt (the judicious amount of salt used here is part of the recipes success I think) with fleur de sel. I melt the salt in with the chocolate and butter before adding in the sugar, eggs, etc., and it leaves just the right amount of yummy crystals that you can't quite notice, but taste just devine.
              May have to make a batch of these today!
              Happy Super Bowl!!!

              1. visciole RE: jenhen2 Feb 7, 2010 09:36 AM

                I advocate an all-butter brownie made with good unsweetened chocolate and plenty of room temp eggs. If you don't overcook them and use the right size pan they will come out chewy and delicious.

                4 Replies
                1. re: visciole
                  TerriL RE: visciole Mar 18, 2010 08:37 PM

                  Do you have a recipe to recommend? I'm still looking. Thanks!

                  1. re: TerriL
                    buttertart RE: TerriL Mar 19, 2010 12:48 PM

                    Butting in here: Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies is my no-fail brownie recipe. I like them fudgy (25 mins in a 13x9) but you can bake them a bit longer (30-35 mins) and they're quite chewy. No cocoa, no veg oil, just chocolate and butter. Made the CI chewy ones and to my taste they are not as good.

                    1. re: buttertart
                      strumpet_1 RE: buttertart Mar 26, 2010 01:58 PM

                      Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies are my no-fail recipe too!

                      As we speak, I have the CI recipe baking and Supernaturals cooling off for a Brownie-Off (tasting).

                      We shall see!

                      1. re: strumpet_1
                        buttertart RE: strumpet_1 Mar 29, 2010 08:10 AM

                        I was going to do that - I gave the CI ones to a colleague who's had plenty of the others and he said they were the BMW to the supernatural's Mercedes-Benz. How did they come out in your comparison?

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                  Kelli2006 RE: jenhen2 Feb 7, 2010 10:27 AM

                  I use the Bakers chocolate brownies recipe but I converted it to use Ghirardelli 60% baking chocolate recipe. I use 1-1/2 bars of 60% chocolate and 1 cup of sugar, plus 1/4 tsp of salt. You might need 1/4 C. more flour , but the resulting brownies are very dense and fudgy if you don't overbake them.

                  If you need more of a chocolate fix you can add 1 C chocolate pieces to the batter and then top the cooled product with a quick food processor ganache of equal parts by weight of warm cream and chocolate pieces.


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                    CommonCentsForChange RE: jenhen2 Mar 18, 2010 04:12 PM

                    Tried them and couldn't stop eating them - after two days. The first day they were just okay, then the second day they miraculously tasted BETTER. The third day was perfect. Chocolate-y-ness guaranteed if you use high quality cocoa and high quality chocolate. I shaved the chocolate pieces very thin and tiny to evenly distribute and maximize the impact. Be forewarned, they are a lot of effort. I thought they were well worth the effort of at least trying them out.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: CommonCentsForChange
                      petitgateau RE: CommonCentsForChange Mar 18, 2010 04:59 PM

                      I actually liked the CI chewy brownies. They do get better after they've completely cooled down.

                      1. re: petitgateau
                        BrianJC RE: petitgateau Mar 20, 2010 12:45 AM

                        This was my experience as well. The recipe says to let them cool for several hours, and for some reason, it really makes a difference. When I tried them a couple hours after pulling them from the oven, I wasn't that impressed. They were overly gooey and there wasn't much chocolate flavor.

                        The next day was a different story. The texture had firmed up, and the flavor improved greatly.

                        1. re: BrianJC
                          DebL RE: BrianJC Mar 20, 2010 02:03 PM

                          I made them yesterday. Last night they were so-so and not very chewy, but this morning they were much, much better! My personal taste is for not so much chocolate, so I would leave out the bittersweet chunks/shavings and add roasted and salted macadamia nuts instead.

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                      TerriL RE: jenhen2 Mar 18, 2010 05:44 PM

                      I thought they were pretty simple to make, but they didn't wow me. I used Callebaut callets for the chunks, and think I would have liked the brownies better if the chocolate had been shaved. I did not like biting into a cold hard chocolate pellet, especially in a brownie advertised as chewy.

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