There are many things I love about blogging, but one of my favorites is the interaction with readers. Working as a marketing professional by day we talk a lot about one way vs. two way conversations and I love that blogging can truly be the latter. I read every single comment and especially enjoy ones that provide thoughts on how to make a recipe better, suggest another recipe that is similar or tweak it in some way. Such was the case when I blogged about my Deep Chocolate Brownies with Chevre Swirls (posted here and here). I first made these brownies after trying the Vermont Brownie Company’s Dark Chocolate Chevre Brownies at The Vermont Cheesemakers Festival. The brownies were so heavenly that I rushed to my kitchen to recreate them. However, since I didn’t have a brownie in hand as I made them they were more inspired by the original rather than a true copy. Clearly I was not the only one who found their brownies fanastic as The Vermont Brownie Company was featured on Throwdown with Bobby Flay. Shockingly I have STILL not seen this episode, but many readers stopped by to share tips and tricks they had learned from the show prompting me to give the brownies another try with a second recipe. However, there were STILL two hints shared as comments to the second recipe that I hadn’t had a chance to try out:
- The original recipe includes a mix of brown and granulated sugar
- The brownies are finished with a sprinkling of sea salt before going in the oven
While I generally don’t make a recipe more than once or twice, these suggestions were enough to make me want to tinker with the recipe again. I don’t know what it is about these brownies, but they somehow prompt me to bake endlessly in search of the most ethereal version. This version is pretty fanastic as well. It’s just a slight variation from my second recipe and every bit as delicious. Some day I’ll need to make all three of my versions side by side so I can note the differences (and perhaps invite friends over to choose an ultimate winner). The only thing I am not quite sold on is the sea salt sprinkle on top. Even though I didn’t use very much I found it a little distracting and although it might make it more like the original, I’ll likely omit it in the future. I brought these to a cocktail party over the weekend along with my Rhubarb Chutney and Blue Cheese Toasts and they were an easy hit. There are also some other variations out on the web that sound every bit as fanastic (although I cannot vouch for their similarities to the original brownies) like Goat Cheese Brownies Marbled with Fresh Raspberries, Caramel Lemon Chevre Brownies, and Chocolate Walnut Chevre Brownies (which use a boxed mix for a quick shortcut).
**As an aside, tickets are now on sale for this year’s festival, scheduled for July 25. They are only $30, which is a bargain for all the fabulous cheese you get to sample. Unfortunately it’s unlikely I’ll be able to attend this year now that I live in the Midwest, but I HIGHLY recommend you go if you live in New England or can swing a trip to Vermont. And if you do go be sure to sample some brownies straight from the source, presuming they will be presenting again.**
Deep Chocolate Brownies with Chevre Swirls Version 2.1
Yields 16 brownies
-6 ounces chevre, room temperature
-1 tablespoon powdered sugar
-1 large egg
-1 tablespoon all purpose flour
-2/3 cup Dutch process cocoa powder
-3/4 cup brown sugar
-3/4 cup powdered sugar
-3/4 teaspoon finely ground sea salt
-1 cup all purpose flour
-1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or dark chocolate chunks
-3 large eggs
-1/2 cup canola oil
-2 tablespoons water
-1 teaspoon chocolate extract, optional
-1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
-1/4 teaspoon medium ground sea salt, optional (I used my salt grinder to get something between a fine powder and the larger crystals)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8″ square nonstick baking pan.
Make swirl by beating together the first four ingredients until smooth and well combined. Set aside.
Make the brownie base by whisking together the cocoa, sugars, salt, flour, and chips in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs, oil, and water and extracts. mixing just until smooth.
Spoon half the brownie batter into the prepared pan. Spread the swirl mixture over it and then spoon the rest of the brownie batter on top. Swirl the two mixtures together with a knife if desired. Sprinkle with coarsely ground sea salt if using.
Bake the brownies for about 35 minutes to 45 minutes (for the 8″ pan). To see if the brownies are done, remove the pan from the oven, and stick the tip of a sharp knife into the center of the brownies. Brownies will be done when the center is set but the consistency is still moist and fudgey. I usually prick more than one area to ensure I haven’t gotten a chocolate chip or chunk. You also definitely DO NOT want to overbake these as you’ll lose the fudginess of the texture so I watch these carefully.