TWD #15 Brownies, s’il vous plaît?

June 3, 2008 at 12:04 am 57 comments

Random fact about me: I took 4 years of French in high school and 3 years of Vietnamese in college.

I think French came easier to me that most of my classmates in high school b/c of my Vietnamese background. The Vietnamese language is heavily influenced by the French language so I recognize words and phrases. I wish I could say I speak both languages fluently but I don’t. I can get by in a pinch but I am far from fluent. But for the life of me, how do you say brownies in French? I have a feeling jeannettes is wrong. LOL. But thats what my english-french translator came up with. Maybe my fellow French-speaking TWDers can enlighten me. Vibi? Isabelle?

This week, my fellow Tuesday with Dorie-istas and I were given an international baking challenge – Une “brownie” française. I tend to be a brownie minimalist so there will be no raisins, no craisins, no nuts etc in mine. Forgive me but now I have that grade school indignation stuck in my head: No cuts no butts no coconuts! Its totally stuck in your head now too huh? My bad.

What I learned this week:
We were suppose to flambe raisins for the brioche snails but I got out of it by adding chocolate chips and now again for the brownies but I am not a fan of chunky brownies. I know. Excuses… excuses! I guess I can’t deny it anymore… I am afraid to flambe. Is there a medical term for “fear of flambe-ing”? Flambephobia? Yeah thats what I have doctor.

Hosted by Di @ Di’s Kitchen Notebook
Check out the Tuesdays w/ Dorie blogroll on the side menu bar for more brownies!

French Chocolate Brownies

(Recipe from DG’s Baking: FMHTY pages 92-94 | photos from me!)

Makes about 16 brownies


1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, optional
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden (I omitted)
1-1/2 tablespoons water (I omitted)
1-1/2 tablespoons dark rum (I omitted)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 1/2 cup semi-sweet and 1/2 cup bittersweet)
1-1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar


Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.

I decided to get crazy and use the optional cinnamon. HAHA!

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Butter up that chocolate, baby!

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

[NOTES: Mine took about 70 minutes. Not sure if the lack of raisins had anything to do with the longer bake time? *shrugs]

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.


Husband rating: A+
He didn’t really say much but its hard to talk when your mouth is full of brownie goodness. HAHA!

Wifey rating: A
I am not a big chocolate fanatic like many of my friends and family but these were SO good. I served mine up with some homemade whipped cream, fresh raspberries and raspberry ganache! I admit I ate more than 1 (or 2 or 3…) but who’s counting right? ;)

Next week: La Palette’s Strawberry Tart page 374


Entry filed under: Tuesdays With Dorie.

Shrimp Pad Thai Holy Guacamole!

57 Comments Add your own

  • 1. nikki57  |  June 2, 2008 at 10:12 pm

    Very cute. I took 4 years of French too and all it got me was trips to Quebec . I even went sr year when I wasn’t even taking french anymore whaaaat? I can or/der a cheeseburger and hot chocolate. That’s all you really need to know right?

  • 2. CB  |  June 2, 2008 at 10:15 pm

    NIKKI, get out? How did I not know this about you? We should totally figure out how to incorporate French into our secret language to annoy G and T. haha.

  • 3. CB  |  June 2, 2008 at 10:16 pm

    PS. cheeseburger and hot chocolate are the important ones by far… ;)

  • 4. nikki57  |  June 2, 2008 at 10:17 pm

    um if it involves un hamburger avec du fromage or (ya I forget or) un chocolat chaude we can do it

  • 5. CB  |  June 2, 2008 at 10:26 pm

    Agreed. Un hamburger devrait toujours venir avec le fromage. Depending on my mood I mix it up with Swiss or American. ;)

  • 6. Caitlin  |  June 3, 2008 at 5:26 am

    I took four years of French and don’t remember a lick of it! Vietnamese sounds like fun though.

  • 7. LyB  |  June 3, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Des brownies Français? Mais bien sûr! I don’t think there is a word in French for brownies, I just call them brownies in French too! I have a feeling you’re going to get a lot of little French tidbits in your comments today! lol! Your brownies look fantastiques! :)

  • 8. NinaBeth  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Looks delicious! I almost added raspberries too mine, but decided that would be too much. :)

  • 9. Bumblebutton  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:35 am

    Flames really aren’t a big deal–honestly! Nice that you both enjoyed them!

  • 10. Heather B  |  June 3, 2008 at 7:49 am

    yum! I added raspberries to the top of mine as a sauce. Yours look delicious!

  • 11. April  |  June 3, 2008 at 7:53 am

    Your brownies look great, and I am sure that the raspberry sauce was excellent with them!

  • 12. Linda @ Tender Crumb  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:11 am

    That raspberry sauce sounds delish with your great looking brownies…YUM!

  • 13. Laura  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:20 am

    Mmm those look delish! I should have tried mine with some whipped cream, but I’m always out. We like to to use it for ummm other things;)

  • 14. CB  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:24 am

    LAURA, dude? TMI! G-rated blog… HAHA!

  • 15. isabelle  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:37 am

    In french, brownies is called….brownies too, because it’s not a french desserts
    the desserts that is closer to the brownies is the ” mi-cuit “

  • 16. CB  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:39 am

    ISABELLE, thanks for the French lesson! :)

  • 17. Anne  |  June 3, 2008 at 9:39 am

    I did nuts instead of raisins and mine took a little longer too. THey were tasty though!

    I took up to French Four in H.S., went to Paris, and barely remember my French. It’s sad, but cooking a French tart next week should help, right?

  • 18. rainbowbrown  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:00 am

    no cuts no butts no coconuts
    no cuts no butts no coconuts


  • 19. Holly  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:03 am

    These look lovely! Speaking of random, I don’t remember a lot of my high school french, but I do remember loving the word for library – it’s just so much more fun to say bibliotheque!

  • 20. Sihan  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:08 am

    i agree with holly. they are indeed beautiful! Perhaps one day you should reallie bring yourself down to flambeing something. For all you know, it could be fun!

  • 21. Ulrike aka ostwestwind  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:24 am

    Beautiful pictures and brownies.

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  • 22. Jessica  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:29 am

    Wow – those look beautiful. I took five years of French – and it was one of my favorite/best subjects – but sadly have had almost zero opportunity to use the language. Even when I lived in Belgium, I was in the Flemish-speaking area! I’ll encourage my daughter to study Spanish or Chinese…

  • 23. lemontartlet  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:30 am

    Ain’t flambeophobia, it’s fussyinstructionsophobia!

    Your brownies are so stylin’.

  • 24. Mara  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:32 am

    those rasbperries look familiar…hee hee…i want some of that ganache. show off!!!! luv em.

  • 25. Amy P  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:47 am

    I took through French 5 in high school and 4 semesters in college. Now I live in Texas and everyone speaks Spanish. I get alot of laughs when I try to speak Spanish using french words and add an “o” on the end. Sometimes it works though!
    Your brownies look fabulous!

  • 26. Mary  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:58 am

    Mmmmm- raspberries and whip cream. What a delicious combination. I too, will make these brownies again!

  • 27. Melissa  |  June 3, 2008 at 11:45 am


  • 28. Isa  |  June 3, 2008 at 2:43 pm

    I added chocolate chips to mine too!
    Whipped cream, raspberry ganache and fresh raspberries with brownies? Who could eat less than one of that!? looks delicious

  • 29. Mari  |  June 3, 2008 at 2:50 pm

    Your raspberry ganache sounds amazing!!! Yum, yum, yum!

    Do you want me to mentor you on flambéing? I’ll make a little video for you…LOL!

  • 30. CB  |  June 3, 2008 at 2:51 pm

    MARI, oh my gosh! A video would be so fun! Do it do it!! haha. Please don’t hurt yourself though. I can just imagine trying to record it and you don’t pay attention to the flames and… eep!

  • 31. Rebecca  |  June 3, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    Mmmm, chocolate, raspberries, and cream. Yesssssssssss. But you seriously MUST light something on fire. It’s fun AND it cuts like 500 calories off the recipe.

  • 32. Christine  |  June 3, 2008 at 3:22 pm

    Yum raspberries!! Good job!

  • 33. Di  |  June 3, 2008 at 3:43 pm

    Raspberries and chocolate, mmm… And add me to the list of people who can remember very little French (after 4 years in HS and one year in college).

  • 34. steph (whisk/spoon)  |  June 3, 2008 at 3:49 pm

    don’t fear the flambe–it’s so much fun! i have a feeling that the french use the word “brownies”…one of those americanized things that they just sort of go with. yours look most excellent!

  • 35. Tammy  |  June 3, 2008 at 4:11 pm

    Your brownies look great! i did 3 years French at High School and 3 years Latin – even with my basic knowledge it is amazing how far it can get you when travelling through Europe!

  • 36. Annemarie  |  June 3, 2008 at 4:24 pm

    Nice job. And served with raspberries…YUMMY!!! Why didn’t I think of that?

  • 37. Ashley  |  June 3, 2008 at 5:50 pm

    Yum nice presentation!

  • 38. amanda  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:32 pm

    I’ve been avoiding the flambe too! I totally skipped out on the brioche snails and then I used my raisin-hating as a reason to do not it this week. I think we need therapy.

    Your brownies look fabulous though. Whipped cream, raspberries, and raspberry ganache… mmmm.

  • 39. doughmesstic  |  June 3, 2008 at 6:49 pm

    I must have gone to the wrong grade school – i don’t know the no cuts no butts no coconuts…what is that even about?
    anyway, great pics, as per usual…i really enjoy keeping up with your blog…

  • 40. Jaime  |  June 3, 2008 at 7:11 pm

    i used a larger pan and had to bake 60 min so i don’t think you were off in baking yours 70. your plating is beautiful! great job :)

    oh and i love learning more about my fellow bloggers! i am vietnamese as well. i am somewhere between proficient and fluent in the spoken language and barely able to read the written word!

  • 41. kdgreen  |  June 3, 2008 at 7:15 pm

    Can’t go wrong with raspberries and chocolate! Try the flambe – it is worth it!

  • 42. andreainthekitchen  |  June 3, 2008 at 7:47 pm

    Your brownies look great.
    Flambe secrets from a girl with a particular talent for burning oneself…
    *use a lighter designed to start BBQ’s or gas stoves. It gives a proper flame and it keeps you far enough away from the action to not get burnt,
    *ALWAYS have the lid of the pan handy. No O2 no fire.
    *Never free poar from the bottle into the pan (I did that once, only once).

  • 43. Jules  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:38 pm

    I tried a flambe for the first time. It was fun! Your brownies look lovely without the raisins, though.

  • 44. Janet  |  June 3, 2008 at 8:47 pm

    I totally missed the fact that the raisins were supposed to be flambed! You have reason to fear the flame — I ordered margarita fajitas at Chevy’s and the waiter accidently set the silk plant above it on fire. Your brownies look great and raspberry ganache sounds out of this world . . .

  • 45. Vibi  |  June 3, 2008 at 10:02 pm

    I’m late as usual!
    Let me start by saying how I find your brownies absolutely luscious with those raspberries! (LOL… great minds think alike, I guess!)
    As for the Brownie term in French, well Isabelle informed you right. Brownies being a very american (perhaps originaly declined from an English pudding of some sort or as the legend goes, the baker forgot to put the baking powder in his chocolate batter), it doesn’t carry a French name – simply Brownies… just as English speakers don’t have other terms for croissant, madeleine, baguette, crème brûlée or mille-feuilles.
    Always glad to be part of the French 101!!! LOL
    G.J.!!! …Now to the next challenge: strawberries!

  • 46. noskos  |  June 4, 2008 at 5:29 am

    Job well done, they look great!

  • 47. carrie  |  June 4, 2008 at 6:04 am

    Mmmmm!!! :-)

  • 48. Jayne  |  June 4, 2008 at 7:07 am

    Beautiful job!

  • 49. Dianne  |  June 4, 2008 at 8:03 am

    They look great!

  • 50. Liliana  |  June 4, 2008 at 9:34 am


  • 51. CB  |  June 4, 2008 at 10:20 am

    JAIME, w00t for vietnamese chicks. Đẹp để gặp bạn! Tôi yêu blog (của) các bạn! (Sorry if the grammar is wrong. I had to use my dictionary! haha)

    VIBI, thanks teacher! ;)

    DOUGHMESSTIC, you’ve never heard that sing song? That was a popular line to say to your classmates if they cut in front of you in line… Oh child. You missed out on grade school pop culture if you don’t know that one. ;)

  • 52. Dolores  |  June 4, 2008 at 12:19 pm

    Your fruitless, nutless brownies (my preference too) look great to me. And that you left the husband speechless is icing on the cake. :)

  • 53. Shari  |  June 4, 2008 at 12:30 pm

    Raspberry ganache sounds delicious with brownies!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  • 54. Jenny  |  June 4, 2008 at 4:37 pm

    Yummy. Wish I had made yours instead of mine. Actually, the day is not over, maybe I will.

  • 55. Garrett  |  June 4, 2008 at 10:57 pm

    You should definitely try a flambe sometime, just for fun. Even if there’s no recipe to go with it, it’s a fun thing to play around with – and once you get the hang of it, you won’t stop!

  • 56. Lori  |  June 6, 2008 at 5:48 pm

    So there you are making brownies and before the week is up with the strawberry tart, you go making these chocolate cookies that look so adorable. Whats the big idea? i tell yah, now knock it off I am going to get inspried and make too many desserts!

  • 57. CB  |  June 7, 2008 at 6:40 am

    LORI, haha. I know! Its amazing that me and my husband aren’t 300+lbs! Hmmm I do remember him telling me that his CWs have complained of weight gain though. I wonder why…? ;)


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