Tag Archives: brownies

A Question for the Ages- How to Classify a Brownie?

O n the way home from Canada I put forth the following question to Tara: Is the delicious chocolate brownie that we all know and love a cookie or a cake?

What followed that question was a half hour discussion on what constitutes a cookie, a cake and even a bar. Like many of our discussions surrounding food, nothing was fully resolved, aside from the fact that we both have fairly strong opinions on fairly trivial matters.

However, we’ve both done some canvassing of various co-workers and friends via e-mail and conversations. Here are some of the comments.

  • “Cake! It’s definitely not a cookie…. I’m pretty strict about what is called a cookie vs. what isn’t – a cookie is a shape, not the ingredients that make the shape. So if it’s not in the shape of a cookie – it ain’t a cookie.”
  • “It’s a cake isn’t it? I mean, it doesn’t have icing and it’s denser than a cake, but it’s still a cake. It’s cake-ish.”
  • “Now that is a perplexing questions re the brownie’s. I think they are pretty much something to put ice cream on and as a result in a category all their own.”
  • “I don’t think brownies are a cake. But I can see why some people think that they can be. But I don’t think they’re cookies either, but I can also see why other people believe that they are. They are offered on cookie tables at Christmas after all”.
  • “A brownie is not a cookie, nor would I say it is a cake. My Midwest upbringing classifies brownies, rice krispie treats, and related ilk as bars. Are bars not a common culinary-accepted term or ‘genre?’ So rigid. If forced to choose, to me, a cookie is more ‘wafer-ish,’ as in thin, therefore a brownie in particular would be more cake than cookie – it is not thin, but has ‘loft’ and a cakey texture (and frosting).”

My response to the “A brownie is a bar” argument…aren’t bars a cookie variant? It’s is socially acceptable to have more than one bar in one sitting, much like it’s socially acceptable to eat more than one cookie at one sitting. But it’s socially unacceptable to have more than one slice of cake at one sitting.

Additionally, aren’t Fig Newtons bar-like? Aren’t they considered cookies? Or are fig newtons the ‘missing link’ between cookies and bars?

Feel free to add your opinion to this completely trivial matter in the comments below.

Technorati Tags: Brownies, Cookies, Cakes

Double Chocolate Brownies


Ahh, brownies. Does anything go as well with an icy cold glass of milk? I don’t think so.

There are generally two types of brownies. Cake brownies and the thick condensed cake brownies with a glossy crust. This recipe falls into the former category, but don’t let that prevent you from enjoying this.

  • 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1/2 lb (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 6 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 cup flour

Preheat over to 325 degrees F.

Lightly butter a 9 x 13 inch sheet pan, glass if you have one. Set aside.

Using a double boiler, bring the water in the bottom of the boiler to a simmer. In the upper dish, combine the chocolates (You can jury rig your own double boiler, using a 2-qt. sauce pan as teh bottom and a large galls bowl as the top. Be forewarned that there is a greater risk of the steam affecting the chocolate and possibly seizing the chocolate).

Stir the chocolate as it begins to melt. Remove from heat when nearly entirely melted and continue stirring until smooth. Set chocolate aside.

Using a mixer (If your using a big mixer, use the whisk attachment, if your using a hand mixer, as I did, use only on low speed), mix the butter and both sugars until you have a light, fluffy butter mixture (between 5-6 minutes). If there’s some granularity, it’s okay, as your going to continue mixing as you add the eggs.

This is the critical part of the batter mixture. Add the eggs ONE AT A TIME. Add one egg, mix until all of the egg has been incorporated. Turn off mixer, scrape the batter off of the side of the bowl, add next egg, and mix. Repeat this process until all the eggs are used. Add the vanilla with the last egg. What this will do is give a lighter texture to the batter. It should be fairly light and almost have the texture of a mousse.

Pour in the cooled chocolate. It has to be cooled, as you do not want the butter to melt. Mix slowly with a wire whisk, until the chocolate batter is smooth. Gently fold in the flour until all traces of white have disappeared. Do not overmix.

Pour batter into the buttered sheet pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Watch the brownies carefully, as the outer crust may be susceptible to light burning.

Remove from oven and allow to cool for 1 hour before cutting and serving.

serves 24