Recipe quick takes: Moosewood’s Black and White Brownies

Hey, it’s once again time for the easy midweek baking project! This time around, it was “Black and White Brownies” from The Moosewood Restaurant Book of Desserts (as by “The Moosewood Collective”, Clarkson Potter, 1997; p. 197). These are a fairly standard (but extra-strong) brownie base, swirled with melted white “chocolate” (which isn’t really chocolate) before baking, and finally topped with a bittersweet ganache (which this cookbook calls a “glaze”). Here is how I did it:

Mise en place
As usual, we start with the mise en place. In addition to the prepared 8×8 baking pan, the ingredients are 8 oz (227 g) of white “chocolate” (I used Callebaut); 3 oz (85 g) unsweetened chocolate (I used TCHO); 6 oz (12 tbl, 170 g) unsalted butter; 2 tsp instant espresso; two large eggs; 150 g granulated sugar; 2 tsp vanilla extract; and 2½ oz (70 g) pastry flour. The white “chocolate” is melted in the bowl — I used the microwave rather than a double boiler — and allowed to cool while the rest of the batter is prepared. The unsweetened chocolate, butter, and espresso powder are melted together in another bowl (again, I used the microwave) and also allowed to cool. The eggs, vanilla, and sugar get beaten to the ribbon stage using a hand mixer or whisk, and then the cooled chocolate and flour are mixed in until combined; the resulting batter is poured into the prepared 8×8 pan.

White "chocolate" swirled with brownie batter
Before baking, the melted and cooled white “chocolate” is spooned on top of the brownie batter and swirled in with a butter knife. I suspect I swirled them a bit too well. This is now ready for baking in a 350°F (175°C) oven for 40 minutes (or perhaps a bit less: the recipe says 30–40, and I thought it wasn’t ready at 35, but perhaps it was a bit too cooked at 40, at least after cooling completely).

Baked brownies
After baking and cooling, you can see that the white “chocolate” is a lot less distinct than it was before, which is part of why I think I may have swirled it in a bit too well. You can’t see from this photo, but the top crust formed a fairly crunchy surface, although the ganache topping softened it considerably; perhaps a few minutes shorter baking time would have sufficed.

Ganache topping
The first time I made the “glaze” (properly a simple chocolate ganache) I used Guittard 74% cacao organic baking discs, a new product for me — I should probably put together a tasting of all these different baking chocolates that are available now! — but I screwed it up and managed to break the emulsion in the cream, leaving a liquid layer that would not recombine with the chocolate no matter how much I stirred. I told myself, “This is just a standard ganache, I know how to make a ganache, so let’s just ignore the procedure in the recipe and do it the normal way”, and so I did. Using the same proportions as the original recipe (which called for “chopped bittersweet chocolate or semisweet chocolate chips”, but probably was never tested with the high-test chocolate I was using), I swapped out the Guittard 74% for TCHO 66% discs. I boiled the cream (¼ cup or 60 ml) in a small saucepan on the stovetop, and (taking a trick from Fritz Knipschildt) stirred in a teaspoon of honey; I then poured it over the chocolate (the recipe said a third of a cup, which I weighed out to 70 g) in this Tupperware bowl and snapped the lid on for a minute before whisking together and allowing it to cool for a few minutes. I then spread it over the top of the brownies using an offset spatula, and covered the pan with a sheet of plastic wrap to sit overnight until I was ready to portion.

Portioned and packed for transportation
The following morning I removed the brownies from the pan and cut them into sixteen 2×2 squares, then packed them up (separated by sheets of waxed paper) for transportation to the office.

Single brownie on a plate
And this is what a single brownie looked like. I passed them around at our biweekly “lab lunch”, and gave the remainder to other colleagues. They were generally well-received; two tasters noted a “toffee” flavor — which was good for one of them and not-so-good for the other. Nobody picked out a coffee flavor from the espresso powder, which was much more noticeable in the unbaked batter than it was in the finished product — as it should be. A few people noticed that the texture was a bit unusual, neither cakey nor chewy nor fudgy, but something indeterminate; I’m guessing this is probably a result of the very high cocoa butter content compared to most brownies (11 oz unsweetened chocolate and white “chocolate” together, vs. 2 oz of unsweetened commonly called for in recipes of this size).


Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1 2″x2″ square
Servings per recipe: 16
Amount per serving
Calories 297 Calories from fat 189
% Daily Value
Total Fat 21g 32%
 Saturated Fat 13g 63%
Trans Fat 0g
Cholesterol 51mg 17%
Sodium 17mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 23g 8%
 Dietary fiber <1g 1%
 Sugars 18g
Proteins 4g 7%
Vitamin A 7%
Vitamin C 0%
Calcium 7%
Iron 5%
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