Saturday, April 4, 2009

Supernatural Brownies


Back in February, I began a quest for the ultimate brownie. At that time, I was totally motivated, so I gathered up a bunch of recipes to test, bought a truckload of chocolate and butter, and resolved to bake and post weekly. So, how are things progressing, you ask? Well, I haven't gotten very far (I know...I'm totally lame). Posting weekly isn't going to be realistic for me, but I promise going forward that you will NOT have to wait another 7 weeks for my next brownie writeup.

As I was searching the web for inspiration for my next brownie, this 2007 NY Times article about Brownies popped up in my google search. The author of the article is definitely a purist when it comes to defining the ideal brownie:

"The ideal modern brownie is simple and unadorned, but rigorously designed (like a Diane Von Furstenberg wrap dress). Whether the brownie sits on the fudgy or the cakey side of the aisle, its character should come from the underlying structure of flour, sugar, butter, eggs and chocolate, not from shoveling in more fillings, or from deliberate underbaking. (Many recipes recommend this for a fudgy texture, but fudgy and wet are not the same thing.)"
- NYT, April 11th 2007


I'll admit that I nodded in agreement with her comments (including the DVF comment --- gotta love her dresses). Still, for those of you who like to load up your brownies with nuts, candy, dried fruit, etc, more power to ya!

Accompanying the article were three brownie recipes, including Dorie Greenspan's French Chocolate Brownies (which I previously posted on here) and Alice Medrich's New Classic Brownies (mental note: must put on "the list").

The third recipe was Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies. I can't resist a brownie with super powers, so had to try this recipe out.


Apparently, this brownie is an accidental creation, with Mr. Malgieri forgetting to double the flour when baking his own fudge brownie recipe. This brownie recipe has the usual shortlist of ingredients (butter, chocolate, sugar, eggs, flour) but also has a twist adding a healthy amount of dark brown sugar.

When I made these brownies, I also made a pan of The Baked Brownie to compare (besides, my hubby kept asking when I'd make "those" (i.e. Baked) brownies again).

Supernatural versus Baked:

Ingredients - similar short list, but Supernatural uses: one less egg, less chocolate (8oz vs 11oz), equal ratio of brown and white sugars, and excludes cocoa & instant espresso powders.

Preparation - I'm no expert to analyze this, but preparation for the two were pretty similar. Both recipes require melting chocolate and butter on a double boiler, and the minimal folding/mixing of the dry ingredients. The method of adding the eggs and sugars were slightly different (read both recipes and you'll know what I mean). The baking time for Supernatural is slightly longer than Baked (40 min vs 30 min).

Appearance/Texture - Supernatural bakes slightly thinner (one less egg could be the reason) and has a lighter cocoa- colored hue. Supernatural has really nice delicate, crackly crust, and the texture of the cake is really moist and tender (it definitely leans slightly more cakey). Baked is dense and fudgy, with an intensely dark hue from all of the chocolate and cocoa power.

Flavor - Don't be fooled by the lighter hue...Supernatural delivers on flavor. You can taste a slight hint of caramel (probably from the dark brown sugar), which is such a wondeful complement to the chocolate, which is assertive but doesn't overwhelm. Baked's chocolate flavor is much more "in your face", and you can tell that there is a "ton" of chocolate in each square.

In terms of overall preference, I think my hubby put it best:
" I loved both and I can't decide. If I want a small square to satisfy, Baked is definitely the way to go. If I'm in the mood to inhale a pan, I would definitely pick Supernatural."
Enough said.

20 comments:

Heather B said...

I love brownies! Now I have two more to add to the MUST make list! Great job, the brownies look fabulous!

chocolatechic said...

I say you should do a taste testing in a grocery store or something.

The Food Librarian said...

I love your research!!! Thank you for the comparisons. Be sure to thank your husband as well for helping in this endeavor! :) Both look delicious and I need to try both!!!

Megan said...

Love the side by side comparison!

Anonymous said...

What a great and yummy looking post! Thanks for the research, and the new recipes to try for my own experiments ;)

Mary Jo said...

hmm, by the looks i would assume that i would like the "baked" brownie better but with your comments now i want to make both. your husbands a lucky guy :)

Maria said...

Great comparison. I love brownies and can't wait to try them!

Marta said...

What a great endeavour to find the ultimate brownie recipe! If only all quests in life were this sweet :) Good luck, try Barefoot's Outrageous Brownies :)

SUGAR B said...

This entry is AWESOME! Great photos. I want my brownies supernatural now! ;)

Gigi said...

I made these when the article came out. This recipe is my favorite so far. I make them all the time! Great post!

pinkstripes said...

Wow! I love the comparison. Both sound delicious. YUM.

Hayley said...

I love the Supernatural Brownies, but have never had the Baked. Thanks for introducing me to them!

Ingrid said...

Based on your discription of flavors it sounds like I'd prefer the supernatural ones as I'm not a fan of chocolate and usually want more in my brownies or at least some vanilla ice cream. Thanks for the info!
~ingrid

Mermaid Sweets said...

Wow, what a great post. I have to try the supernatural one now. I just tried the baked and the fudgy ones from Bakewise.

Liz said...

Ohhhhh. These both look and sound delicious. I have the Baked book but haven't had a chance to try the famous brownies yet...but this post is making me crave them hardcore.

Y said...

Nothing like baking brownies in the name of research! :) The Baked one looks intense.

BnBFinder said...

If you like white chocolate, you'll love this brownie recipe. Here's the link from BnBFinder.com or find it posted under recipes at www.bnbfinder.com

http://www.bnbfinder.com/?action=recipeDisplay&innId=18644&recipeId=366

n.o.e said...

Hmmm, I love your hubby's comment, but now I'm in a quandary! I'm always in the mood to inhale the pan, but I'm rarely in the position to do so. The Supernatural is going onto my list of brownies to bake. You're supposed to be eliminating contenders, not adding them!!!
Nancy

Maru said...

Everytime I bake the supernatural brownies, they are a huge hit!! Love them!! BTW, your husband's comment about which brownies he prefere is great, "inhale a pan"!! Very nice blog :)

Nafisa Kapur said...

I wanna know the recipe please of supernatural brownies where is it?

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