Bittersweet (Duck Egg) Brownies

I’ve been thinking about what to do with my latest batch (dozen) of duck eggs. They are just slightly richer and sometimes a little larger than chicken eggs, though not always bigger. I’m not a huge brownie person, but think about it – rich eggs in lots of chocolate. I can see how this should be a very good thing. I can also see how my friends who really like chocolate will like them – at least I hope so. D&D_2172

16 Tbs unsalted butter, cut into Tbs
8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, broken into pieces (Ghirardelli)
4 eggs – fresh local duck eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. fine salt
1 cup flour
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans (Renfroes’)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9″ x 13″ baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper; grease paper. Set pan aside.

Pour enough water into a 4-quart saucepan that it reaches a depth of 1″. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low. Combine butter and chocolate in a medium bowl; set bowl over saucepan. Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; set aside.

Whisk together eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt; whisk to combine. Stir in chocolate mixture; fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30–35 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.

Source: Saveur – Nick Malgieri (Nick’s “Supernatural” Brownies)

I cut these into small bite-sized pieces and I am glad I did – they are super rich. In my head, these need to be crumbled into some vanilla ice cream – and that, in and of itself, is rather funny, since I’m (again) not a huge brownie/chocolate fan and really do not care for ice cream either. But I really need to get the boy to get some soft serve from somewhere and give that a try.

The pieces in the center are almost fudge like and the ones on the edges, my favorite, have that little crispy bit of edge. Really, for someone who does not care for brownies, these are pretty damn good. But, rich, oh. so. very. rich.

2015 Butter Usage (by month – October)

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Lemon Lemon Lemon Loaf

So this is pretty much the beginning of fall baking season, and while it is not cool here yet, I guess just the change in the timing (it’s getting dark earlier and earlier) makes me want to bake (and cook) more. So I’m thinking my October numbers are really going to be pretty good. I’m also planning lots more for November since I don’t have to travel for work or any other reason, which is a blessing in itself.  So … here are the October butter numbers.*

2 October 2015 – 16 Tbs – Butter Pecan Cookies
2 October 2015 – 12 Tbs – Lime Meltaways
5 October 2015 – 16 Tbs – Sausage Cheese Biscuits
7 October 2015 – 8 Tbs – Banana Nut Bread
9 October 2015 – 7 Tbs – Apple Pie “Tatin”
16 October 2015 – 16 Tbs – Lemon Lemon (Lemon) Cake
17 October 2015 – 4 Tbs – Orzo
21 October 2015 – 12 Tbs – Pinwheel Cookies
23 October 2015 – 10.6 Tbs – Pound Cake Cookies
31 October 2015 – 4 Tbs – Cheddar Parmesan Crackers
31 October 2015 – 16 Tbs – Thin Oatmeal Pecan/Walnut Cookies

121.6 Tbs = 15.2 sticks = 3.8 pounds

I think next year, I will keep track of eggs too. Geez, the price for them is amazing and not in a good way. I do understand why, but ouch.

Pinwheel Cookies

I’ve been making cookies / desserts at the suggestions of others just to get me to try new things, and one suggestion a couple of weeks ago was a pinwheel cookie. The guy that asked for it said his mom used to make them for him, but had not in a while.

Well, after I checked into what a pinwheel is, I understand why his mom doesn’t make it anymore. You have to really love someone (which I suggested his mom may not do any more – which was mean, but funny) to do this amount of work … And this much frigign’ math. But, since I have never 1) eaten a pinwheel or 2) made a pinwheel. I took it as some sadistic challenge. And so far that seems to be an accurate statement of the experience. I’ve gone so far as to clock the active time involved in putting this damn cookie together. I even made templates – who what nerd does that?? Me. sigh.D&D_0854

Yields about 10 dozen 2-inch cookies. If you can roll everything in the correct dimension. Yep that was wasn’t me.

13 1/2 oz. (3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. table salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
10 oz. (1-1/4 cups) unsalted butter, slightly softened
1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 large egg
1-1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
2 Tbs. boiling water
3 Tbs. unsweetened Dutch-processed cocoa powder
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, melted but still warm

Sift together the flour, salt, and baking soda. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter on medium-low speed until smooth, about 2 min. Add the sugar in a steady stream and mix for another 2 min. Add the egg and vanilla and mix until well combined, scraping the bowl as needed. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in two additions, mixing just until combined. Remove 2 cups less 2 Tbs. of the dough and set aside.

Dissolve the espresso powder in the boiling water and set aside briefly to cool. Then mix the espresso and cocoa powder into the remaining dough. Reduce the mixer speed to low, add the warm melted chocolate and mix just until thoroughly combined.

Portion each flavor of dough into three equal pieces. (For accuracy, use a scale – yes, do this) Shape each piece into a 5×5-inch square on a piece of plastic wrap and wrap well. The chocolate will be thicker than the vanilla. Refrigerate the dough for 30 min. (If the dough becomes too hard, let it stand at room temperature for a few minutes before rolling) = 1 hour.

While the dough is chilling, tear off twelve 12-inch squares of waxed paper. Roll each piece of dough into a 7×7-inch square between two sheets of the waxed paper. Without removing the waxed paper, layer the squares of dough on a baking sheet and refrigerate for 10 to 15 min. Have ready three 15-inch sheets of plastic wrap = 20 more minutes.

To shape the cookies, remove one square of the vanilla dough and one square of the chocolate dough from the refrigerator and peel off the top sheet of waxed paper from each. Invert the chocolate square over the vanilla square (or vanilla can go on top of chocolate; try some of each for variety), taking care to align the two layers as evenly as possible. Using your rolling pin, gently roll over the dough to seal the layers together. Peel off the top layer of waxed paper.

Starting with the edge of the dough closest to you, carefully curl the edge of the dough up and over with your fingertips, so no space is visible in the center of the pinwheel.

Using the waxed paper as an aid, continue rolling the dough into a tight cylinder. After the cylinder is formed, roll it back and forth on the counter to slightly elongate it and compact it. And then roll is really crunchy sparkling sugar (not in the original recipe, but so worth it). Transfer the log to the plastic wrap, centering it on the long edge closest to you. Roll tightly, twisting the ends of the plastic firmly to seal. With your hands on either end of the log, push firmly toward the center to compact the dough. It should be about 9 inches long and 1-1/2 inches thick – or whatever it is – really.  Repeat with remaining dough. Refrigerate the logs until firm enough to slice, about 3 hours, or freeze for up to three months = 20 more minutes.

Heat the oven to 350°F. Line rimmed baking sheet with parchment. Working with one log at a time, roll the long in large grain sparkling sugar. Then, use a sharp, thin-bladed knife to slice the dough into 3/16-inch rounds (I used my tomato knife, not thin, but beyond sharp). Set the rounds about 1 inch apart on the prepared pans and bake until the tops of the cookies feel set, 12 to 14 minutes, making sure to rotate pan halfway through. Let the baked cookies stand for 1 minute on the pan, then transfer to a rack to cool completely. When cool, store between sheets of waxed paper in an airtight container for up to two weeks, or freeze for up to three months = 12 – 13 minutes x 6 =78 minutes.

Total time, roughly, since I’m not good at math = 2 hours & 20 minutes, not including time in the fridge.

Fine Cooking

With this all said and done, now that I have experience doing it, I will make these again. Nothing is particularly daunting. There are just many steps and it takes time. It’s fairly forgiving too because my measurements of the squares were not correct. I just made them match and tried to make it close and it worked. As a not huge chocolate fan, this chocolate part of the cookie reminds me of Guinness – coffee, dark chocolate, lovely.