I think this is going to be a short post today, as I'm still feeling under the weather. Brianna was sick for most of last week, and she was so nice to share her germs with me. =) So far, I mostly just feel icky and have a sore throat. Conveniently, I have this lovely ice cream in my freezer that is quite soothing to my irritated throat. I've been eating it purely for medicinal purposes, of course. =)
At first glance, this wouldn't seem to have much to do with this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe. I knew that this week's selection was Rick Katz's Brownies for Julia. But until I was getting ready to write this post, I hadn't looked at who picked the recipe. I wasn't surprised to learn that Tanya of Chocolatechic was responsible for this one. =) I'm hoping that she'll be proud of me when she sees that I've combined the brownies with even more chocolate!
I made the brownies Saturday morning. Nancy and I were going to bake together via Twitter, but couldn't quite get things coordinated. I ended up starting mine first. As I was mixing up the batter, it seemed to me that there was going to be way too much for the 9"x9" pan called for in the recipe. Plus I had read a number of reports in the P and Q of brownies that were underbaked. So I went with a 13"x9" Pyrex pan. (Dorie says in the recipe header that she usually uses Pyrex for this recipe.) The mixing method for these brownies is a bit unusual, but not difficult. First you melt together butter and unsweetened and bittersweet chocolates. (I used Ghirardelli 100% pieces and some El Rey 58%.) Then you mix in half of the sugar. The other half of the sugar gets whisked together with the eggs. Half of the egg/sugar mixture is then stirred into the chocolate. The other half is whipped until increased in volume, then folded into the batter. Finally, the dry ingredients are folded in. I baked my brownies for 25 minutes. At that point, the edges were definitely done and I didn't want them to go too long. I thought the middle was done as well.
After cooling, I discovered that the middle wasn't as done as I thought. It was set, but rather soft. The flavor of everything was fine, and there was a nice appealing crust on the top of the brownies, they were just softer than I prefer. I thought that they might be better cold. Then I had a better idea--maybe they would be best frozen. In ice cream!
I turned to my copy of The Perfect Scoop, which my husband Jamie got me for Christmas. I knew I wanted chocolate ice cream rather than vanilla. But I didn't want something that would compete too much with the brownies, either. Then I found the perfect recipe--Milk Chocolate Ice Cream. Fortunately, I had just enough milk chocolate (El Rey 41%) left in my pantry from last week's bundt cakes. The ice cream was pretty quick to mix up. Cream is melted with the chocolate to make ganache. Milk is heated with sugar and a bit of salt, then tempered into some egg yolks. Then the custard mixture is put back in the pot and heated until slightly thickened (I go by temp--just over 170 degrees F). Next the custard is strained into the ganache and the whole mixture is chilled in an ice bath. Then you're supposed to add a couple of teaspoons of Cognac. I had rum, so I went with that. I misread the measurement and used two tablespoons, though. Oops. =) Still tasted good, though, and I knew that wasn't enough alcohol to cause a big problem.
While the ice cream was churning, I cut some of the brownies into bite-sized pieces and stuck them in the freezer to chill. Once the ice cream was done to soft-serve consistency, I put it into freezer containers, layering with the brownie pieces. I ended up with about one and a half quarts. Once the ice cream was fully frozen, we sampled it. (For the record, I also sampled the plain ice cream when it was still soft--it tasted just like a Frosty. =) )
The verdicts? We did like the brownies by themselves, but I would like to play around with the recipe a bit to make the texture more to my liking. I think I'll reduce the butter a bit next time, or use a bit more flour, or maybe just try baking in a metal pan. The taste was good though. As they turned out, though, they were perfect for the ice cream. They got nice and chewy when frozen, but not too hard. And the contrast of flavors in the ice cream was perfect. The milk chocolate ice cream was delicious, both by itself and combined with the brownies. I will definitely be making it again soon.
If you'd like to give the brownies a try for yourself, head on over to Tanya's blog for the recipe. If you like to make ice cream, you should definitely get a copy of The Perfect Scoop. But if you want to try the ice cream first, you can also find the recipe here. And be sure to head over to the TWD blogroll to see what everyone else did this week.