Today is National Brownie Day

Another scrumptious food holiday is upon us today! Even though there is no documented historical reason for National Brownie Day, it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t celebrate! Brownies require minimum flour and you don’t add unlike cakes, do not require baking powder. A brownie recipe is rather simple- butter, sugar, chocolate, eggs, and flour, but the types of brownies you can bake up are endless:

Fudge type brownies have a minimum of flour–about half a cup–and no leavening such as baking powder. Melting the butter rather than creaming it with sugar yields a denser, fudgier outcome. Unsweetened chocolate is the standard, with a full cup of sugar required to balance its bitterness. Either granulated or brown sugar may be used. Substitute one for the other in equal proportions. The deeper the color of the sugar, though, the more pronounced the molasses flavor.

Cake type brownies contain less butter and more flour than fudge type brownies, as well as a bit of baking powder to make them softer and lighter. Often the softened butter is creamed with the sugar rather than melted with the chocolate, which incorporates air into the mixture causing the brownies to rise higher. Many cakelike recipes also call for a bit of milk to add tenderness.

Chewy type brownies usually get their texture from extra eggs and a combination of different types of chocolate. Of all the chocolate types, unsweetened chocolate has the highest proportion of starches, which create a stiffer-textured brownie. Semi-sweet chocolate produces a creamier texture. Put the two together, often with a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to round out the flavor and thicken the texture, and you get a rich, satisfyingly chewy result.

Blondies are really butterscotch bars, made with brown sugar, butter, and eggs and usually nuts, but no chocolate. Generally, blondies have a cakelike texture.
(From Karen’s Kitchen and Yours)

Don’t forget to throw in all the fill-ins that your heart desires: marshmallow, walnuts, caramel, pudding, frosting, and cheesecake.

Here’s a recipe from the New York Times that made my mouth water!

Yield About 1 dozen brownies
Time 40 minutes
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted or unsalted butter, more for greasing pan
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Pinch salt if you use unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate is just about melted, remove from heat, and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Meanwhile, grease an 8-inch-square baking pan. If you like, also line it with waxed or parchment paper and grease that.
2. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour (and salt and vanilla if you are using them), and stir to incorporate. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain.
3. Pour into pan, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.

Cut up and serve warm!

Smile, it’s a New Year

Happy New Year! We might as well get the new year started on a positive note. One new years resolution I have made is to try and be positive and considerate to our customers and my fellow workers. Having just gone through the hectic holidays we all may have experienced a restaurant server or a retail employee that has been, shall we say, less than nice and almost rude. We all have bad days, after all we are human but when you are in a service related industry it is always best to put a smile on your face and a positive note to your voice. If I go into a restaurant and my server is pleasant and efficient but the food is less than perfect, my server will still get a decent tip, after all it is not their fault the food was not up to standards. Lets face it some people seem to be in a bad mood by choice all the time. We all say we need more business but if we don’t treat our customers like they are the only one that matters at that time, than we only have ourselves to blame when they don’t call or come back, so remember to smile this year.

Jerry Kraushaar is a leading chef and sales consultant for Burkett Restaurant Equipment.

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