Saying “No” to Brownies!

No. I’m not actually saying “no” to brownies! I couldn’t possibly do that…ever!!

But I’ve noticed how every time I prowl around the kitchen, pantry and stick my nose into the refrigerator looking for something to snack on, I mostly choose things that I can just pop into my mouth, rather than those which would require the use of forks and spoons and plates. So I came up with brownie squares. Yes, its just a brownie tart chopped up into pieces for my convenience.

Its technically not the end of the week, I know, but I just couldn’t stand “no-baking-for-a-week” anymore!

This one’s a simple 3-layers recipe really; 1 layer of chocolate brownie crust, 1 layer of lemon pudding and the topmost layer is a chewy mocha meringue.

Chocolate Brownie Tart:

– 75gms of unsalted butter, cold and cut into chunks

– 1/2 cup flour, regular all-purpose

– 3 tablespoons of semisweet cocoa powder

– 1/2 cup of granulated white sugar

– 1 egg yolk, well beaten

– two tablespoons of cold water

– 1/2 teaspoon of salt

Blitz to mix the flour, sugar, salt and cocoa powder in a processor. Add the butter and mix again till the mixture becomes crumby. Pour it out on a working surface or a bowl. Add the egg yolk and start kneading gently. Gradually add the cold water to form the dough. Wrap with cling foil and chill in the refrigerator for about an hour.

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Prepare a baking tin. Roll out the brownie crust carefully and place it into the baking tin, trimming the edges accordingly. With a fork make piercing all over the crust (so it doesn’t rise up while baking). Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Lemon Pudding:

– Juice and zest of 1 lemon

– two tablespoons of warm water

– 1 egg beaten

– 1/2 cup double cream at room temperature

– 1 tablespoon of unsalted butter

– 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence

– 3 tablespoons of icing sugar

Combine the cream, butter, vanilla essence and sugar in a bain-marie and stir it into a uniform mixture. Take it off the heat and beat in the egg vigorously (you don’t want your egg to scramble). Combine the lemon juice, zest and water separately and stir it into the cream-butter mixture. Adding the lemon juice directly will just make the cream curdle.

Chewy Mocha “Meringue”:

– 2 egg whites

– 1/4 cup icing sugar

– 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground coffee (you could also use instant coffee mix, the taste would alter though)

This layer’s technically not meringue-like, since we whip the egg white to a frothy texture, rather than a shiny one. The frothiness makes it turn chewy while baking. Add the coffee and sugar gradually while whipping the whites till they form soft frothy peaks.

Assembling the Brownie Tart:

Pour the lemon pudding over the pre-baked crust and pipe out the mocha “meringue” on top. Bake for 12-15 minutes in a pre-heated 350 degrees oven or till the meringue is dry and chewy.

Cool completely and cut into bite-sized squares.

Sugar-Kissed Goodness

I am currently completely hooked on to Cafe Coffee Day’s Cookies. They have a range of Chocolate Chip, Honey & Oatmeal, and “Completely Eggless!” ones in pretty brown and yellow tins. Super fattening and not cheap.

My kind of food, ye-ah!

Anyway, my brother and I managed to polish off the last of the cookies yesterday and two hours later I was already craving for more. So…I watched some television, got some butter and eggs home-delivered and…made cookies! The generous amount of cinnamon in these warms up your throat and the raisins add chewyness.

These cookies remind me of college, when we’d try out sugar-cookie recipes at Adi’s place with a microwave (they used to turn out super-soggy) and make spinach & feta dim sums (a watery lot) with the help of an old idli steamer.

Cookie batter:

– 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour

– 1/3 cup unsweetened dark cocoa powder

– 1 teaspoon instant coffee powder

– 1/2 teaspoon baking powder

– 2 teaspoons cornstarch

– 1/2 teaspoon salt

– 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

– 2/3 cup granulated sugar

– 1 teaspoon freshly ground cinnamon

– 3 teaspoons finely chopped raisins

– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

– 2 eggs

– 2 teaspoons honey

Mix the butter and sugar well till the mixture turns almost white…almost. Add the eggs and beat well.

Mix the dry ingredients in a separate bowl and add the butter-egg mixture in. Add honey and stir hard. I like my cookies to be lumpy, but for a smoother batter you could pop it into the processor. Chill the dough in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes.

Spoon out dollops of batter on a greased baking tin, leaving enough space between each dollop to allow them to spread. Bake for 15 minutes in a pre-heated oven at 350° C. Cool on a wire rack and sprinkle generously with icing sugar.