The other day I had an intense craving for chocolate. I’ve been relatively healthy as of late, so I decided to be excessive for a day. These brownies were created as a result of my indulgence. They are very rich, so it might be a good idea to balance out the flavor by eating with ice cream or adding some orange juice and zest to the brownie mixture.
I write a lot about the physics and chemistry of food, but I hardly ever mention the vessels food is cooked on. The material of pots and pans has a huge effect on the cooking of food. The most common types of dessert making materials are glass, aluminum, and ceramic.
In popular media, we often hear of the principle of conduction. For instance, in the Pokemon world water is universally accepted to be able to conduct electricity. (This is not entirely true, however, ions must be present in the water for electrical conductivition to occur.) Thermal conduction is the measure of an object’s ability to transfer heat. If you were to stick a metal rod and a piece of wet wood into a campfire for roasting marshmallows, you’d quickly realize that it was foolish to bring metal to a campfire.
The easier it is for an object to obtain heat, the easier it is for an object to lose heat. Thus objects with higher thermal conductivity get hot fast and cool off fast. This is important because it can dictate, which cooking pan is ideal. Ceramics and glass take longer to heat. However, after removing the glass or ceramic out of the oven, your food will still cook. This is why it is important to remove items like custards out of the oven before it completely sets. Recipes such as casseroles and bread pudding where browning is not an issue are ideal for glass and ceramic.
Metal pans, like aluminum, are highly thermal conductive. Because ceramics and glass take longer to conduct heat, items cooked using them may burn before cooking all the way through if there is a large amount of sugar present (remember that the oven cooks food via radiation, but the cooking vessel also cooks food via direct contact heat transfer). Food with large sugar content that experience browning are best cooked on metal pans.
4 oz. (8 Tbs.) unsalted butter+ more for the pan (unless cooking spray is used)
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar
1/4 tsp. salt
2 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup flour
1/4 cup natural cocoa (not Dutch-processed)
- Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square pan or line it with buttered parchment.
- In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate. Remove the pan from the heat; cool slightly.
- Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix in the eggs, one at a time, stirring each time until blended.
- Add the flour and cocoa; beat until incorporated and the mixture is smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Do not overmix this recipe or undesired gluten will form.
- Scrap the batter into the prepared pan. Then put in oven for 35-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted in the middles comes out clean.
- Allow to cool then pour chocolate ganache on top.
- Prior to serving sprinkle salt over each brownie.
6 oz bittersweet chocolate
½ cup of heavy cream
2 tbs of sugar
Heat heavy cream and sugar to a simmer. Place the chocolate in a bowl. Pour the heavy cream over the chocolate and place a lid over the top of the bowl. Leave bowl sit covered for minutes then stir until cream and chocolate are incorporated.