Friday, May 8, 2009

Sheet Cake Brownies

I always take cookies to work on Friday. I usually try to make a fairly big batch since there are quite a few people at work to share with. This Friday is a bit of an unusual day, and there aren’t as many people at work. So what do I do? I pick the recipe that makes just a ton of cookies. Not very good planning on my part! I’m sure those who are at work (myself included) will enjoy these.

I love making bar cookies. When I first started baking, I got “hired” to bake cookies for my company’s yearly meeting. I was fairly young and this was pretty exciting for me. I decided to make several kinds of bar cookies. Some of those I have made for this blog, including the Salted Peanut Chews and the Rocky Road Fudge Bars . Sometimes I miss those days, since that was when I first discovered my joy of baking. It seems like I had a lot more time to explore new recipes. Now I often choose recipes based on whether or not I have enough time to get everything together before bedtime. When did I get so old?

These were surprisingly quick to make. From start to finish, these took about 40 minutes total. The brownies come together almost as quickly and easily as a box mix and you make the icing the last couple of minutes of the brownie baking time. It does dirty up quite a few dishes; I had to wash my large saucepan in order to make the icing. I guess they assume that you have several large saucepans lying about, which I don’t. The most challenging aspect of making these is waiting for the bars to cool enough to cut!

I used dark chocolate cocoa powder in this recipe, which is different from the Dutch-processed cocoa that is specified in the original recipe. This gave the brownies and deep, dark color, which I really like. These smelled super chocolaty while I was making them. They cut easily, but were soft so they didn’t cut super cleanly. I would absolutely let these cool completely before cutting, or it will be a struggle.

These could definitely be served as a cake rather than a bar cookie. They have a good chocolate flavor and the icing adds a nice sweetness. The toasted pecans add a wonderful crunch, and it’s really nice to have that contrast in texture. I think these wouldn’t be as good without the nuts, since the brownies are so soft. They are quite addictive, and if you give yourself the chance, you may find yourself just nibbling away.

2 cups flour

2 cups sugar

½ teaspoon baking soda

½ teaspoon salt

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

2 teaspoons vanilla

¼ cup sour cream

8 oz. semisweet chocolate

4 tablespoons butter

¾ cup vegetable oil

¾ cup water

½ cup cocoa powder


8 tablespoons butter

½ cup heavy cream

½ cup cocoa powder

1 tablespoon light corn syrup

3 cups powdered sugar

1 tablespoon vanilla

1 cup toasted pecans, chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 18” x 13” rimmed cookie sheet.

Combine the flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. In another bowl, combine eggs, egg yolks, vanilla, and sour cream. Combine the chocolate, butter, vegetable oil, water, and cocoa powder in a saucepan. Heat over medium, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Stir the chocolate mixture into the flour mixture, and then stir in the egg mixture. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 18-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

About 5 minutes before the cake is done, start the icing. Combine the butter, heavy cream, cocoa powder, and corn syrup in a large saucepan. Heat over medium until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the powdered sugar and vanilla. Immediately pour the icing over the brownies (which you have just taken out of the oven) and spread to cover. Sprinkle with the pecans. Allow to cool to room temperature and then refrigerate until the icing is set. Cut into squares.

Recipe from The Best of America’s Test Kitchen 2009

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