Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Imperial Porter Brownies

Tonight I plan on taking comfort from the cold in a growler of Southampton Publick House Imperial Porter. This afternoon I used just a little of it to make some brownies. Here's the recipe:

Imperial Porter Brownies
Makes 16 brownies

If you can't find porter, another malty, slightly sweet beer such as stout, brown ale, red ale, or bock are good substitutes.

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/3 cup malty beer such as stout or porter
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with heavy-duty aluminum foil, making sure that the foil is tucked into all the corners and that there is at least 1 inch overhanging the top of the pan on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Combine butter and chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high until chocolate is almost melted. Whisk until completely smooth and set aside to cool to lukewarm.
3. Whisk brown sugar, eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder into chocolate. Gently stir in porter. Fold in flour mixture until just incorporated.
4. Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until just set, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
5. Grasping overhanging foil on either side of pan, lift out brownies and place them on a cutting board. Use a sharp chef's knife to cut into 16 squares.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

I Return to Morning Program

For many years I was an enthusiastic regular at the Elementary School's Morning Program. But once my kids graduated to Pierson they told me it would be weird if I continued to show up at SHES every day by myself. So I was very excited when I was actually invited to come back today to talk about writing cookbooks. Everything was just as I had remembered, except for that nice new gym floor they have installed. I pledged allegiance. I sang Your a Grand Old Flag along with Mr. Lahann. I got to talk about myself. And then some gracious ESL students presented me with cookies they had baked from a recipe in my book! Here is the recipe (the student bakers left out the nuts since SHES is nut-free):

Potato Chip Cookies
Makes 14 cookies

1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pecan halves, finely chopped
1/2 cup crushed potato chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchmetn paper. Pour 2 tablespoons of sugar into a small bowl and set aside.
2. Cream butter and remaining 2 tablespoons sugar together in a large mixing bowl until smooth. Stir in vanilla. Stir in flour, nuts, and potato chips until incorporated.
3. Shape tablespoonfuls of dough into balls and place on prepared baking sheet at least 2 inches apart. Grease the bottom of a small juice glass with butter and dip into sugar in bowl. Press lightly on a cookie to flattin it and coat it with sugar. Repeat with remaining sugar and cookies, regreasing bottom of glass as necessary.
4. Bake until cookies are light golden around edges, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cookies stand on baking sheet for 5 minutes, then remove them with a metal spatula to a wire rack to cool completely.