The Cupcake Slayer Pt III: The Replacements

I had a hankering for brownies recently and a good friend of mine shared this recipe for Gluten Free Brownies from Annabel Karmel. See original post here.

brownie in baking tin

My 6th brownie batch cooling on the kitchen counter.

Ever since the brownie bug bit me, I have baked 6 batches of it: 4 of them using the Annabel Karmel recipe that I could not praise enough, the other two was using a simple all-in-one brownie recipe for the Brownie-in-a-Jar mix that I have been packing for friends.

For the first two I bought all my ingredients (except for eggs and brown sugar) from Pusat Bekalan Bakeri (www.bagus.com.my). Both times, the brownies came out marvellously. Though I overbaked the second batch a little bit (and I blame the oven for that), the brownie was very good.

For the rest of the batches I used various ingredients in my effort to diversify, and also because I didn’t have time to go to the bakery supply shop. These are what I found out:

  1. Muscovado sugar definitely can be replaced with brown sugar. You  hardly notice the difference. Much to my surprise, Giant carries muscovado sugar. Look for organic molasses sugar, the packet costs about RM12.90 for 1kg.
  2. Unsalted butter is much better than salted ones. The only problem is price as unsalted butter may cost as much as RM9.99 a piece. That’s about 3 times regular, salted butter.
  3. Almonds are no walnuts. I could not find walnuts one day so I bought slivered almonds instead. I didn’t like that batch at all. Walnuts, I discovered, are expensive. A small 300g packet can cost RM15. Since I like my brownies with nuts, this is a choice that I always make.
  4. Buy the best chocolates you can find. The biggest difference in taste is the quality of chocolates that I use. I bought store-brand chocolates for my 5th batch as it didn’t carry any other kind of baking chocolates. I could only manage maybe 2 slices and then binned the rest. Low quality chocolates are too sweet and taste too  much like sugar; you won’t get that chocolate-y, silky flavour from them. A bar of 113g Hershey’s baking chocolate costs RM13; the 300g chocolate chips is RM20. If you have to skimp the rest, make sure you use most of your budget on getting the best chocolates your money can afford you.
  5. Flour is the same everywhere. I’ve used Pillsbury, I’ve used Cap Sauh. They are all the same.
  6. Baking powder, on the other hand, is not. This is the thing that surprises me the most. This item is cheap, costs no more than RM3-4 at the bakery supply store while generic ones is about RM2 a bottle. The rising quality and taste of the brownies were different from one bottle to another.
  7. Don’t leave the brownie batter sitting idly on the counter for 15-20mins because you forgot to heat up the oven. You will undo all the good work done by the baking powder. So, after you have finished measuring the ingredients and before you crack the eggs – turn on the oven!
  8. Check the brownie time to time as it bakes. Having a cranky, un-precise electric oven like ours can post various problems. You can overbake, temperature can be too high or too low etc. So check it every 5mins or so. Leaving it baking happily on its own for 25mins can result in a burnt brownie.
  9. Don’t panic when the brownies settles down a bit when you leave it to cool. This is perfectly normal. If you want to make it look prettier, make some fudge and slather it all over the brownie, or simply dust some icing sugar on top. And if for some reason the brownie doesn’t turn out as well as you’d like them to be, keep them in the fridge for at least 2 days, then slice it thinly and bake in low heat (150 Celcius or so) til its crispy and you’ll have yourself some delicious chocolate biscuits to dunk in your coffee (tips from Aten).
  10. And yes, lining the baking tin with aluminium foil does make it easier for me to peel the brownie off.

Hey look at me, all brownie-baking expertlike now :)

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Filed under Cupcake Slayer, Let's Learn!

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