Sunday, 27 February 2011

Dulce de leche brownies

I love these brownies of David Lebovitz’s. Compared to macarons, they’re a walk in the park, and sometimes that’s what’s needed when one really sucks at French and needs to set aside precious Sunday time to study so as not to appear such a loser in class the next evening, and when one has suddenly taken it into one’s head to start a blog, the set-up of which has somehow eaten up most of the day. But I digress. I do that a lot. The whole thing making brownies, that is; back on track now   takes about ten minutes from start to oven, assuming one’s prepared several tins of dulce de leche earlier, as one ought to have done. I hold forth about such preparation in another post.

Contrary to how most posts to come will roll, this was not my first dulce de leche brownie encounter. That was last week, when I made a couple of batches one to take to my work, where they were assured of a warm reception, and the other dispatched with The Guitar Teacher to be left in his staffroom. TGT resisted, claiming it ‘wasn’t part of the culture’, but I pooh-poohed such silliness and he admitted they were all gone by day’s end, so I win.

First hitch came when I found that there was almost nothing left of the Droste I bought mere days ago. I figured half of a quarter-cup was close enough, and bumped up the flour and real chocolate quotient slightly. No harm seemed done.

(It’s only right to disclose I have started blogging this rainy Sunday due to the opportunity for inclusion of boldly cropped close-ups. Just want to try out the macro setting on my Pentax Kx, to be honest. Nothing else to see here. If I really get into the swing of this, French linen may be artfully crumpled in the near background. And yes, I’m aware that this pic may not be key to the procedure, thank you very much, but I bashed my right temple very hard on the corner of the cupboard while angling to take it, so here it is.)

Anyway. The ingredients are flung into a saucepan and melted and stirred together. No need to have the foresight to let cubes of butter come to room temperature of their own accord while trying to keep the cats from eating them.

The ingredients form a gloopy, glossy mess of impeccable rightness. Half is spread in a tin, globs of dulce du leche distributed on top, and the process repeated. I found it best not to mix too much beyond drawing a knife lightly up and down the pan a few times to streakify the caramel a bit – the integrity of the globs is worth a thousand tiny strands of golden almost indistinguishable from the surrounding brownie. I didn’t bother with the optional walnuts, feeling this to be a less-is-more thing. Walnuts’d only get in the way; they’d try to claim some of the stage rightfully occupied by the sticky chunks of caramelised condensed milk goo.

As usual with my quirky oven, the maximum recommended baking time still produced a central wobbliness more uncooked than sexy. Even though I’d bumped up the oven by ten degrees, and a thermometer supported the temperature. I may never discover why this is. 

Yeah, I cut the end off well before it cooled. What of it? The caramel did crack, and the brownie crumb may have been crushed, or squashed, or whatever is supposed to happen to it in such an event, but goddammit, it was high coffee time.   

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