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Friday, March 21, 2008

Cinnamon Chocolate Brownies

The other night, we rented a movie and were craving brownies with ice cream. So after dinner, I started to make brownies so they'd be ready for later. Ofcourse, I can't make it easy and use a recipe that I already know works, so I looked for a new, different brownie recipe. I had 6 ounces of ganache in the frig left over from the Smores Cupcakes, so I wanted to try to incorporate that into the recipe somehow. I decided on this one from Epicurious. About three quarters of the reviews were great - saying how moist and good they were, its now their favorite brownie recipe, etc etc. The remaining reviews were quite the opposite, calling them "not memorable," "a big disappointment," and some claiming, "I've had better brownies out of a box". I decided to make them anyway, despite the bad reviews.
Dan isn't a big chocolate fan.... as far as he'll go is brownies and reese's cups, so I left the ganache off the top. And since I had the leftover ganache I wanted to put into the batter, I altered this recipe slightly...

Ingredients for Cinnamon Chocolate Brownie:
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1.5 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped [or as I did: 3 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips, & 6 oz. of chocolate ganache (see previous recipe)]
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, diced, room temperature [But I used only 3/4 stick of butter, the rest was in the ganache]
4 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts [I left these out]

Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 350°F. Grease an 8x8x2-inch baking pan then line with parchment paper. Grease parchment.
Mix first 3 ingredients in small bowl. In a separate bowl, stir chocolate and butter in top of double boiler set over simmering water until almost totally smooth. Add in the ganache (microwave for a few seconds first if necessary).
Stir until completely smooth, then turn off heat and let stand over water.
Using electric mixer, beat eggs and sugar in large bowl until mixture thickens and falls in soft ribbon when beaters are lifted, about 5 minutes. [ This "soft ribbon" step didn't happen for me... it got very fluffy and foamy instead] Beat in vanilla. Stir in flour mixture in 2 additions, blending well after each. Gradually add warm chocolate to egg mixture, beating until just combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake brownies until top is set and tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes [Mine took 45!. Cool in pan on rack.

Initially, the result was.. odd. During baking, the brownies looked bizarre. Small bubbles in it, very light in color. And they took 10 minutes longer to bake than the recipe stated. But by the time they were done... well..The movie we rented was I am Legend.....SO not a brownie and ice cream kinda movie. So we skipped them that night. We did take a tiny sample right before bed and the taste was... strange. A little too cinnamony.. very gooey on the inside, but somehow very dry, and a strange crust formed on the top (other reviews had a similar crust). The crust was very light in color, as you can see in the picture, and was very very light in texture also - almost like foam. We covered it and went to bed, not knowing if we should throw them away or not.
The next night, it seems the brownies had changed quite a bit.

The weird crust was still there, but it didn't bother us - it was good in its weird way - added a slight crunch to an otherwise gooey brownie. The gooey part of the brownie got much better overnight, and wasn't dry anymore. I'm sure a reason for the very gooeyness of my brownies was the addition of the ganache which had heavy cream in it. The strong strong cinnamon flavor subsided significantly, and the result was a rich, chocolatey, fudgy brownie. Hmm, who'd have known. I really liked them, and even Dan did which was surprising as these were the chocolatiest things ever.

They were tasty, and very different than your traditional brownie, but I'm not entirely sure if I'd rush to make them again.


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