Sunday, September 16, 2012

Baked Sunday Mornings--The Brookster

It's been awhile since I've baked -- 100+ temps this summer were not particularly conducive to turning on the oven -- or blogged (surprising how my productivity dropped with the acquisition of a job). What I'm trying to say is that I'm a bit rusty at both--so keep that in mind with my first contribution to Baked Sunday Mornings.

The Brookster was an excellent recipe to ease into this group. I've made brownies and I've made chocolate chip cookies; mashing them together didn't seem too complicated. And it wasn't, though it did leave me wondering how a commercial bakery manages to churn these out for customers when I spent an entire day producing a dozen treats.

I'm guessing the folks at Baked have all the ingredients on hand. Me, not so much. With my visiting parents in tow, it was off to one shop for "quality" cocoa--Valrhona, $12.49, just like the guys recommend--and dark chocolate (a brick of Callebaut). And then to another market for the semi-sweet chips, where I thought I could pick up Ghirardelli but was stuck with Nestle. (I could feel Matt and Renato judging me, or maybe that was just my imagination.)

The chocolate chip cookie recipe came together easily, as did the brownie mixture. "Do you use European butter?" my mom asked. Nope. I pulled out the four-pound four-pack of Kirkland butter from the refrigerator, which amazed her almost as much as our 30 oz. bottle of Costco mustard.

With the cookie dough in the fridge for its mandatory 3-hour sentence, and the brownie mix waiting to cool before I could add eggs, vanilla and dry ingredients, I had some time on my hands and headed over to water the community garden. You know you've been drinking from the gardening Kool-Aid when you say things like "I'm going to harvest the basil" instead of "pick."

I've loved my first foray into gardening, but it's also highlighted the fact that I'm a baker, not a cook. Back before mold and vine boring pests decimated the squash, the zucchini plants reproduced like rabbits and all I could think to do with this bumper crop was bake zucchini bread. Neighbors sauteed and grilled theirs, but I didn't get the appeal. Why cook something that can be vastly improved by disguising it with massive amounts of cinnamon and butter?

Back to the Brookster: Brownie batter completed, I had another three hours to kill. I don't know what the rest of you did with this long inactive phase, but I accompanied my parents to Chicago's American Girl store where we were on a mission to get my niece's doll's ears pierced. The absurdity of this errand was not lost on any of us. "I hope they don't get infected," joked my husband of dolly's lobes--then again, there is a doctor on call at the Doll Hospital.

Home again, the doll newly accessorized with star-shaped studs, I set about assembling the Brooksters. I imagine most bakers who attempt this recipe will, like me, use a muffin tin, as opposed to four-inch pie plates. And therein lies my one quibble: the alternate directions for baking Brooksters in a muffin pan aren't as precise as they need to be, particularly when it comes to the amount of cookie dough to top the brownies. The regular recipe calls for 1/4 cup, the alternate directions offer no such guide.

I guesstimated and my ratio of cookie-to-brownie was clearly off, with too much cookie. No brownie peeked out around the edge of the cookie--the final product essentially looked like a two-toned or layered muffin.I know baking is largely about taste, not appearance, but after an 8-hour process (given a break or two), I expected my Brooksters to match the photo in the book.

As for the taste, I have no complaints, though if the center hadn't been near-molten chocolate, I may have been less than enamored with the effort, which didn't blow me away as much as I thought it would. But, you know, it's not like I'm not going to eat them all.


Blogger Candy said...

I wasn't super impressed with these either but enjoyed the cookie dough (especially raw)! Yours look great!

5:41 PM

Blogger Sheri said...

Well, they certainly look picture perfect! I love your writing. :)

8:53 AM

Blogger Susan said...

Welcome to our group! I think your Brooksters look just great!

7:05 PM


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