Brownies

The first quarter of this year has been filled with events, both for me and the world at large.

And some are not really good events either.

Jan 2011: Revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and other Middle Eastern and North African countries.

Feb 2011: Earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand.

March 2011: 9.0 magnitude earthquake in Japan. Civil war in Libya.

Late March 2011: Earthquake in Burma. Civil unrest in Bahrain. NSW Labor Party lost power for the first time in 16 years to the Coalition. NSW Liberal leader Barry O’Farrell becomes NSW Premier.

A very busy first quarter.

For the media, this is a perfect field day for them. The perfect mix of politics, civil unrest and large-scale natural disasters. And since I’m a media politics student, it’s my duty to keep abreast with the news. But I’m reaching the point where I’m sick and tired of the news.

So fuck the news.

For approximately another 10 minutes.

 

Besides being updated on world news and checking if any of my Japanese friends were doing okay, I was busy feeding the masses of the Unimates society.

What’s Unimates? Basically we’re a society that brings together most of the international students in USyd and bring them around Sydney, New South Wales and Australia. More accurately, we are sort of like an international network, where people can meet and make friends with everyone from everywhere.

For this semester, I’m the Coffee and Cakes officer. Basically, this girl and I are the unofficial caterers.

We have Coffee and Cakes every Tuesday morning and the two of us are in charge of organizing, preparing the food and drinks, making sure that the members are kept sated and satisfied. It’s not an easy job, but we have people helping out, so it’s doable.

The only problem is that everyone keep asking for my brownies.

See, the problem was that I baked brownies for my friend’s Christmas party last year. It was my first time but it turned out to be a huge success. Unfortunately, 80% of the people at the party were or still are, Unimates committee members. So they recommended me to make brownies for Coffee and Cakes.

It was a great idea and at least I could bring something homemade for the event. So for the first C+C (Coffee and Cakes), I brought the brownies.

They were gone within 30 minutes and there were still at least 40 to 50 people who had not got the brownies yet.

Considering it was my second time making brownies, the response was pretty good.

The only problem was that the people (aka the people at the Christmas party) came too late and didn’t have the chance to try my brownies. The vice-president of the society, had heard wonders about my brownies but he was too busy helping out and didn’t have a chance to try it out.

So I promised that I would make brownies again.

For the next two weeks I didn’t make brownies cause I wanted to try something else for Week 2 (chili jam meatballs and vegan mashed potatoes) and was too fucking lazy and tired for Week 3.

Week 4 came and I decided to bake brownies.

Some people would usually bake the brownies the night before. But not me. I demand fresh-out-of -the-oven brownies. So I got up at 7am, baked two batch of brownies (after baking brownies for so goddamn many times, it only takes me about an hour) and brought them to C+C.

Good times were had by all.

But it’s tiring waking up so early or staying up all night just to bake brownies. So I’ve decided to put the recipe. I actually got it from this website and follow it closely. But you can make some tweaks to it. Be creative. Just don’t blow up the oven.

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The Recipe

Note: The original recipe calls for 16 servings of brownies. But I double the ingredients to make 32 servings (I have mouths to feed after all). If you want to bake 16 servings of brownies, use a 8 x 8 inches baking tray. If you want 32 servings, use a 9 x 13 inches baking tray. The recipe below is for 32 servings.

 

Brownies:

  • 225 g (1 cup) butter
  • 400 g (2 cups) white sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
  • 55 g (2/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 125 g (1 cup) all-purpose flour
  • 3 g (1/2 teaspoon) salt
  • 2 g (1/2 teaspoon) baking powder

You might want to ease up on the vanilla extract cause if you put too much, your brownies might have a slightly bitter taste. Also, I use Cadbury’s Baking Cocoa Powder (I think that’s the name).

 

Baking time:

 

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 9 x 13 inch pan.
  • In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
  •  

    Seems pretty simple right? That’s because it is. But there’s some things you need to take note first. Always, always preheat the oven first. That’s the first thing you have to do. My oven is some brand-new, fan-forced, Italian-made oven, so I can turn it on and know that it’ll be hot and toasty within a few minutes. If you have an old one, it might take longer. As a rule, I preheat the oven while I’m preparing the batter. Rule one: Know your oven.

    Rule 2: Shift the cocoa powder. Especially when you are greasing the pan. What I do is that I grease the pan with some butter (using a brush makes things easier) and shift a mixture of cocoa powder and flour over the pan. This prevents the brownies from sticking to the pan during the baking process. I usually use one part flour and one part cocoa powder. You don’t have to use a lot. The most you should use is about 1/2 cup. Also, when you are making the batter, I recommend to shift the cocoa powder. It makes the brownies much more ‘smoother’. But it’s up to you to decide.

    Rule 3: Don’t over mix! Just mix the batter enough to make sure that all the ingredients are mixed together. You want to retain the thick, fudgey taste.

    Rule 4: Don’t overcook. Seriously, I can stress this enough. I usually bake my brownies for 25 minutes and then I take it out and let it cool. While it’s cooling, the brownies are still baking due to residue heat. The last thing you want is burnt brownies. So don’t overcook.

     

    As for the frosting:

    • 85 g (1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons) butter, softened
    • 30 g (1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons) unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 30 ml (2 tablespoons) honey
    • 10 ml (2 teaspoons) vanilla extract
    • 240 g (2 cups) confectioners’ sugar

    To make:

    • Combine all ingredients in a saucepan and heat it. Remove from heat and stir. Pour onto warm brownies. Wait for frosting to set.

    I can’t find confectioners’ sugar in Sydney. So I got chocolate icing sugar from Coles. If you use chocolate icing sugar, I suggest using 1 cup. Oh, and shift the cocoa powder.

    The frosting is optional. The brownie is already quite sweet by itself. But if you have a huge sweet tooth like me, then go ahead, make the frosting.

    That’s it! Brownies for all!

    Sorry no pictures.

    Now will people please stop hounding me for brownies.

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    3 thoughts on “Brownies

    1. Pingback: Zareth Writes At: Blog

    2. Pingback: Saying goodbye to Unimates in style | Zareth Writes At: Blog

    3. Pingback: This ‘President Emeritus’ Says: “Visit this website” | Zareth Writes At: Blog

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