The Baked Brownie and Chocolate Stout Milkshake

From Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, Authors of Baked: New Frontiers in Baking

Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
The brownie--the perfectly fudgy, intensely chocolaty brownie--is an endangered species. Terrible variations on the classic brownie are popping up and taking over like weeds. There are cakey versions, dry versions, versions with gloppy, sweet icing and versions that lack any chocolate taste. This recipe is an attempt to set things right and bring back the elegance to the humble brownie.

A few notes: First thing first, you have to use premium ingredients. Use a high quality chocolate and cocoa powder, it really makes a difference. Second, pay attention to directions: you must whisk the batter gently when the eggs and flour are added (too much whisking creates too much air). Lastly, check your brownies often when baking. Once the brownies have been overbaked slightly, they have reached the point of no return.

Our food groups are pretty much summed up by the main parts of this milkshake recipe: booze and chocolate. Though the pairing may initially sound odd, they actually complement each other quite well in this recipe. The creamy chocolate stout blends wonderfully with a great chocolate ice cream to create a hearty, thick milkshake. Serve as an after-dinner dessert, in small party size (think 4 oz glasses), or just blend one up for yourself for lunch.

Baked Note: We highly recommend that you use a chocolate stout (many micro-breweries produce their own version). As much we like Guinness and other dry stouts, they are too light and dry for this concoction. --Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

The Baked Brownie
Yield: 24 brownies

The Baked brownie is a beautiful thing. It has won the hearts and minds of many people, been featured on the pages of O: The Oprah Magazine, as a favorite thing, and won best brownie by the folks at America's Test Kitchen and the Today Show. Our brownie really owes many kudos to our friend and superstar pastry chef Lesli Heffler-Flick. She created the original ultimate brownie for us. It is dense, chocolatey, and slightly fudgy, and we are forever grateful to her for letting us adapt her recipe.

Baked Note: A great brownie is easy to make, but you have to be aware of several factors.

1. Use a dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona. A pale, light-colored cocoa does not have enough depth.
2. Make sure your eggs are room temperature and do not overbeat them into the batter.
3. Make sure you check your brownies often while baking. Once the brownies have been overbaked slightly, they have reached the point of no return.

1-1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1-1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.

Chocolate Stout Milkshake Yield: 2 8-oz servings

2 Huge Scoops (about 2 cups) of high quality chocolate ice cream
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup very cold Chocolate Stout
1 Tbsp of malted milk powder

Place two tall (8oz or larger) heavy glasses in the freezer while you put the components of your milkshake together.

Place the ice cream, milk, stout and malt powder in a powerful blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into two chilled glasses and serve with a spoon.

After years in the advertising business, Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito decided to leave their day jobs and open a bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn. Baked opened in January 2005 to instant rave reviews. The authors have appeared on numerous TV shows and their bakery has been reviewed in countless magazines. Lewis and Poliafito live in New York City.

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