This morning I got up knowing two things: that I had to bake and that I had to take photos. Today. It had to happen today. It's like when Aly, my resident artist and dear youngest daughter, says to me, "Mom, it's just in me. It has to get on paper. I don't know how to explain it."
So I wrote it on my list in capital letters and circled it. I don't know how to explain it.
I made my latte, went on my Triple-Dub tour, and felt the urgency to do a Cookbook Browse. It's the phenomenon that happens when I want to bake, but am not compelled to bake a certain thing. For several weeks, I've been browsing through Dorie Greenspan's Baking from my Home to Yours, enjoying each of the stories accompanying her recipes. I found all kinds of tempting recipes, but one in particular caught my eye … Ginger-Jazzed Brownies.
Recently my romantic husband brought me a gift of fine chocolate. He had asked for a recommendation and was pointed to a chocolate made by New Tree, a dark Belgian chocolate laced with Ginger. It's name? Sexy! My husband is no fool.
I looked at the package, then looked at him with one eyebrow raised, thinking I had recognized ulterior motives. He launched into his defense, "It was recommended. It's supposed to be good. It is DARK chocolate, your favorite. It's … from me to you." What was I to say?
I was a bit skeptical about the pairing of ginger with chocolate, but was pleasantly surprised. So today when I found a recipe by Dorie Greenspan called Ginger-Jazzed Brownies, I thought that I would try them, based on the inspiration from the chocolate, and the admiration of my husband.
After ensuring that I had all the ingredients on hand and wouldn't have to borrow from my neighbor, Lori, I forged ahead. Her husband gives me grief every time I find myself short on an ingredient! He's a pill and his name is Glenn. The recipe calls for both powdered ginger and fresh, unsweetened chocolate and semi-sweet and I have to say that the taste is extremely reminiscent of Sexy Chocolate! Maybe these brownies should be named Sexy Brownies!
Ginger-Jazzed Brownies (or Sexy Brownies!)
Taken from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours
¾ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground ginger
2 tablespoons finely minced peeled fresh ginger
1 cup plus 1 ½ tablespoons sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 stick (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
⅓ cup light corn syrup
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 large eggs
Preheat oven to 325°F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, and place the pan on a baking sheet.
Whisk the flour, salt and ground ginger together.
Put the minced fresh ginger and 1 ½ tablespoons of the sugar in a small bowl, stir and set aside.
Melt the chocolates in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, or melt them in a microwave oven; keep the heat low so the chocolates to no get very hot. Set aside to cool.
Beat the butter at medium speed until it is smooth and creamy. Beat in the corn syrup, then the remaining 1 cup sugar, and continue to beat for another 2 minutes or so, until the butter is smooth again and the sugar incorporated. Add the vanilla. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each one and scraping down the bowl as needed. Beat for 1 minute more, then reduce the mixer speed to low and add the ginger along with any liquid, then the dry ingredients, mixing only until the flour disappears. Using a rubber spatula, gently and thoroughly stir in the melted chocolate. Scrape the batter into the pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until the top forms an even sugar crust; a thin knife inserted into the center of the brownies should have streaks of moist, fudgy chocolate on it. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
When the brownies are completely cool, turn out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, each roughly 2 ¼ inches on a side.
[Tammy's notes] I don't always use a foil-lined pan … it's sometimes just easier to grease the pan, bake the brownies, and serve them directly out of the pan. You can use a stand mixer, of course, but a hand-held one works just fine as well. Dorie suggests serving these with a sweetened whipped cream, vanilla ice cream, or cold crème fraiche. If you want to be really fancy, she says you could also add a thin layer of ganache and certainly add a sliver of crystallized ginger before serving.
I served up a few of the brownies, topped them with fresh, sweetened whipped cream and a bit of crystallized ginger. This photo certainly does not do justice to the taste!
I was still in the photo-mood so while Ben was at baseball practice, I walked around the park and took shots …
Aly kept getting in my way! Just my luck to have such a gorgeous model from head to toe!
Mmmm … I feel much better after a little baking and photography! That is cheap therapy!
(Glenn, my friend, you are so generous and I love that about you! Just wait until tomorrow … it's all about YOU!)