"I have this theory that chocolate slows down the aging process.... It may not
be true, but do I dare take the chance? "
be true, but do I dare take the chance? "
The first time I ever ate a brownie was at Nahomes’ in Kolkata, India. It was during school days, that a christian friend of mine introduced me to the oldest bakery at New Market in Kolkata.I never had tasted anything quite like it and since then brownies took over the top spot of cakes in my ‘love-it-list’.
I loved placing bets..still do.. (mostly because I won....and before your mind starts wandering, it was just for fun and strictly non-monetary) on silly things, like “you bet we won’t have tuitions today”…or “I bet the project submission dates will be extended..” etc etc.
And the prize would always be (yes you guessed it !) either a Cadbury’s Perk/Crackle or a Nahomes’ Brownie.
FYI- I still place such bets and almost always win!! ;p
The most important aspect of a brownie, for anyone who loves brownies, is texture.
I generally prefer a brownie, somewhere between chewy and fudgy. However I made this of the third kind—cakey.
A cakey brownie has a moist crumb and a slightly fluffy interior. The batter contains less butter than the other recipes, and I include milk for moistness (the milk is a great way to extend a brownie's shelf life). I don't use much flour and while brownies don't usually use chemical leavens, I add some baking powder to keep this cakey brownie light.
When I mix cakey brownies, I use a bit of cake-baking technique, too: creaming the butter and sugar first (rather than melting the butter) and then whisking the batter to aerate the mixture and get a light crumb. I think this brownie improves on sitting at least one and even two days after you bake it.
I used dragon fruits in this brownie to give it an exotic taste and feel.
As we all know I love experimenting with different flavours and cooking techniques in my lab...err..kitchen. Take for example the microwave tarts , chana dal medhu vada, fruit and nut malpua, steamed squash dumplings, my exotic trifle, macha tea & coffee cake, chives n shrimp balls, my style krusczyki, chicken lollies....and the list continues! ;p
A pitaya or pitahaya is the fruit of several cactus species, most importantly of the genus Hylocereus (sweet pitayas). These fruits are commonly known as dragon fruits.
By eating the highly nutritional pitaya fruit, you gain all of the general health benefits of the pitaya nutrients simply because pitaya fruit is a great all around healthy fruit to eat with lots of beneficial nutrients which are readily metabolized from the natural pitahaya fruit (For example, dragon fruit vitamin C is more easily absorbed than vitamin C from a pill supplement).
One special health benefit of dragon fruit is that ot helps control levels of glucose blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetes. Its a store house of dietary fibre and Vitamin C.
Dragon-fruit Brownie with Chocolate Dulce de Leche
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup + 2 tbsp granulated sugar
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1 tsp instant coffee
1/2 cup margarine
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dragon fruit pulp & juice
¼ cup or less warm milk
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
First sieve the flour, baking powder, coffee and salt. Keep aside.
In a bowl, whisk the sugar and margarine with vanilla extract. Add half of the milk to this.
Microwave the semi-sweet chocolate chips for 1 minute, stirring occasionally.
Cut the dragon fruit in half and scoop out the pulp with a spoon.
Note: Since the seeds are slightly bitter in taste, I used half the pulp; and used the juice of the other half (with a strainer).
Whisk the wet ingredients into dry. Add the pulp and the dragon fruit juice to this. Add more milk, if required. Pour in your choice of baking tray.
Bake for approx. 30 minutes. Keep a check.
Tip: Brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs still clinging. It's okay for the pick to look moist, but if you see wet batter, keep baking.
One last word: although it's awfully tempting to cut into a pan of just-baked brownies, hold off. The flavor and texture of this brownie will be at its best—and definitely worth waiting for—when completely cool.
I made two brownies and sandwhiched them together with a layer of chocolate buttercream in between. You can try this icing too.
Then topped my brownie with some fresh Chantilly and drizzled with the Chocolate Dulce de Leche .
For Chocolate Dulce de Leche-
(This is my version for simplicity sake!)
I added chocolate chunks to the condensed milk to add flavour. You can use your choice of flavouring or keep it plain too.
In a microwave safe pie dish, empty half a can (200 gm/7 ounces) of condensed milk. Add ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips over it. Stir in a pinch of sea-salt.
Cover tightly, twice with MW safe cling foil.
Place this in a deeper baking tray (MW safe) filled a little over half with water.
MW on medium high for 8-10 minutes. Keep checking mid way through.
(Adjust time/temperature setting according to your MW oven).
Once done, let cool. Whisk until smooth.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Warm gently in a warm water bath or microwave oven before using.
Now for some history lesson--
It is said that Dulce de Leche originated in Argentina in 1829 in the providence of Cañuelas in Buenos Aires. Two opposing forces were on the brink of ending a war. The General Lavalle and the General Manuel de Rosas came together in order to make a treaty.
The General Lavalle arrived very tired at the campo of General Manuel de Rosas. Manuel de Rosas wasn’t in the camp at the moment so General Lavalle entered into his tent and took a nap.
While the General Lavalle was napping a serving woman was preparing “la lechada” for the camp. “La lechada” is prepared by heating sugar and milk. The woman went to speak with the General Manuel de Rosas in his tent, but when she entered she discovered the enemy. She didn’t know about the treaty the two generals were about to make, so she ran to find soldiers.
The General Manuel de Rosas arrived moments before the soldiers, and stopped them from waking the sleeping General Lavalle. In the chaos, the woman forgot about “la lechada.”
When she remembered and checked on “la lechada,” she noticed that it had become a dark brown jelly substance. It is said that a very (brave) and hungry soldier tried the jelly and then dulce de leche was born.
I send this to Lore of Culinarty, for her monthly event.
Also, this was a dry run for my Valentines' day dessert recipe. Wait and watch for Feb 14th! :)
I share this lovely dessert with The Alchemist Chef's Valentines' Day Recipe Competition, who is striving to have a great collection of recipes before the "Celebration of Love" day !
Another V-day giveway notice( if it interests you)--
Check this place for a surprise V-day basket of goodies!