Celebrate St. Honore's Feast Day - Bake!
Honore Baking is named for the patron saint of bakers and confectioners, St. Honore of Amien. (Read more about St. Honore here.) Tomorrow, May 16th, is St. Honore's feast day and I can think of no better way to celebrate than to bake something for those you love. If you are looking for a tasty, can't-eat-just-one recipe for the occasion, how about baking a batch (or two) of brownie brittle.
Brownie brittle has become a very popular cookie in recent years. Haven't heard of it? Well, it's a chocolaty cookie that is flat like peanut brittle but is crunchewy like the edge or corner pieces in a pan of traditional brownies. You can find commercially produced versions in your local supermarket or shopping club but my motto is why buy when you can BIY (bake it yourself)!
King Arthur Flour has a wonderful recipe for this variation on the traditional brownie. (Search KAF's recipe folder for "brownie crisps." ) Brownie brittle uses a few basic ingredients that you probably have in your pantry and it mixes together quickly. But before we can mix the batter together, we need to do our mise-en-place.
What is mise-en-place? It is a French term which means to put in place. In cooking or baking, mise-en-place is preparation of all of the ingredients needed for the recipe so that you have everything that you need at hand, measured, processed (chopped, diced, sifted, etc.) and ready to go. If you have ever watched a cooking show on TV, you have seen the benefits of mise-en-place. The show's host is talking to the audience about the recipe, giving the ingredients and required amounts of each. As he talks, the host puts each ingredient into the bowl or pot. One cup of this, half a cup of that, two teaspoons of the other. Notice the host does not pull out each ingredient, chop it, measure it then put it in the bowl. That part has already been done. The host just dumps the ingredient into the pot. Preparation of the ingredients before the show is mise-en-place.
Mise-en-place is important. Many times, once you start putting the recipe together, there is no time to get an ingredient out of the cupboard, measure it, add it to the bowl, put it away, then look at the recipe for the next ingredient, get it out, measure it and prepare it, put it in the bowl, and so on. Plus, what do you do when you reach for one of the ingredients only to find that (a) you don't have as much as you need; or (b) you don't have any at all? You can't stop the cooking process to run to the store to get it. So, I say again, mise-en-place is important.
Here's my mise for the brownie brittle recipe. You need two egg whites (those are in the mixer bowl), sugar, cocoa powder and salt (all together in the metal bowl), AP flour and baking powder whisked together in the clear bowl, vegetable oil, vanilla, baker's dry milk and chocolate chips. I also add in espresso powder with the sugar and cocoa powder. Espresso powder enhances the flavor of the chocolate without adding any flavor of its own. Really. You won't taste any coffee in the finished cookie.
After whisking the egg whites until they are frothy (see top left photo), add in the sugar, cocoa powder, salt, vanilla and vegetable oil. Mix those ingredients together until they are well combined. Add in the dry milk, mix to combine; then add in the flour and baking powder and mix to combine.
Don't be surprised by the thin consistency of this batter. That is what you want because you are going to spread it out on a baking sheet on which you have placed a greased piece of parchment paper. Stir in half of the chocolate chips and then pour the batter out onto the parchment paper. Spread the batter as thin as you can towards the edges of the baking sheet. Don't stress about this; do your best with your spatula or dough scraper. Sprinkle the remaining chocolate chips over the batter and slide the baking sheet into the oven. After 22 minutes, remove the pan and with a pizza cutter or bench knife, cut the brownie brittle into pieces. Don't separate the pieces after cutting. Return the pan to the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and let the brittle cool right on the pan.
And that's it!! That's all there is to it. Brownie brittle - crunchewy, chocolaty goodness. Bake some up and celebrate St. Honore's feast day.
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