Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fudgy 4 egg white brownies


Week after week, I feel like I am always faced with the same dilemma - what to do with leftover egg whites. I wanted to do something different this time and not create a white cake, angel food cake, meringues, macarons, Swiss meringue buttercream frosting or pavlova. Once again I scoured the internet for something worthwhile to bake.

Amazingly, I found this recipe from LunaCafe that promised a silky smooth yet fudgy brownie. It certainly got my attention. I read the ingredients and noticed that it didn't contain any egg yolks, but it did use up 4 egg whites. This definitely piqued my interest, and I totally had my doubts.

I am pleased to say that these brownies were everything that was promised and more. The tops were perfectly crisp and the insides of the brownies were smooth and fudgy as advertised. The most important step in these brownies is to beat the egg whites with the sugar and cocoa powder for a full five minutes. This technique reminded me of making Swiss meringue buttercream since the egg whites are constantly whisked in a similar fashion.

I am glad that I only baked these for 25 minutes because they would have turned harder than bricks if I had baked a minute further. Although the King Arthur Flour brownie recipe remains my favorite, these are definitely in the top 3.

Also, I just found out that my triple chocolate cupcakes is a finalist in a Food & Wine contest that is being held on Facebook. The photographs are paired up in a head-to-head battle, and the food photograph with the most votes as of April 9th wins. The winner gets two tickets to the Food & Wine Festival in Aspen, Colorado. I've never been a finalist in any type of contest before, so this is super exciting. I would appreciate your vote if you have a few minutes!

Fudgy 4 egg white brownies
  • ¾ cup (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter  
  • 6 ounces of 62%-72% bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped (I used two Lindt 70% dark chocolate bars)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract 
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder 
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups superfine sugar
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa (not Dutch process)
  • 4 large egg whites, cool room temperature
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour 
Directions
Preheat your oven to 375°F and position your rack in the upper middle position in the oven

Grease an 8 x 8 inch, light colored, metal baking pan (I used a silicone baking pan and did not grease).

In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Turn off the heat, remove the saucepan from the stove and stir in the chopped chocolate, vanilla, espresso powder and salt until the chocolate has completely melted. Allow the mixture to cool until it is lukewarm.

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl if using a hand mixer), mix the sugar and cocoa powder.

Slowly add the 4 egg whites and mix on medium speed for a full 5 minutes. The mixture will slightly thicken. Be sure to stop the mixture to scrape down the sides a few times to fully incorporate the dry mixture.

Add the lukewarm butter-chocolate mixture and mix well.  Turn the mixer down to low and slowly add the flour until it is fully incorporated. Beat the batter for one more minute.

Evenly spread the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Turn the oven down to 350°F and bake for about 40 minutes. Check your brownies around the 25 or 30 minute mark (and every few minutes thereafter; I baked for 25 minutes) to see if they are done. It is better to underbake these than overbake. This is how you can test to see if your brownies are done:
  • The top will appear shiny and crackled
  • The brownie edges will be cracking.
  • The edges may start to pull away from the pan.
  • The center will no longer be jiggly when you gently shake the pan. (But this occurs about 10 minutes before the brownies are fully baked, so use this indicator only with the others.)
  • A toothpick inserted halfway between the edge and center will contain moist crumbs when removed.
Cool the brownies on a wire rack and allow to come to room temperature. Cut into squares and serve.

Brownies can be stored in an airtight container (or covered tightly with aluminum foil) at room temperature for about 3 days.

Yield: About 16 brownies

Source: LunaCafe

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