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Video 4 Levels of Brownies: Amateur to Food Scientist | Epicurious
10:50   |   today at 02:14


  • hi I'm ADA I'm a level 1 chef I'm
  • Anthony and I'm a level 2 chef I think I
  • need like us a child-sized
  • I'm ELISA I've been a professional
  • pastry chef for over 20 years my
  • brownies are a little bit cakey they're
  • just great I like my brownies halfway
  • between cakey and fudgy I probably make
  • this recipe once or twice a month this
  • brownie recipe I learned back in pastry
  • school and I've been perfecting it ever
  • since I'm gonna start making brownies
  • I'm gonna start with my dry ingredients
  • 1/2 a cup of flour just regular
  • all-purpose flour
  • I always weigh my ingredients that way
  • you can always make sure every recipe is
  • consistent every time you make it I just
  • put too much flour sugar I'm using
  • granulated sugar so I use a regular
  • granulated white sugar and also a dark
  • brown sugar because that will give an
  • extra rich flavor to my brownies I use
  • melted butter because it's already in
  • liquid form we're gonna add
  • room-temperature butter it's just much
  • easier to incorporate if it's green
  • temperature when I choose my butter I
  • want to make sure that there are no
  • additives in it I'm using a pure butter
  • and organic is always the best and I'm
  • just using my fork to mix so you just
  • think of how many calories you're
  • burning right now are you doing this and
  • then you can eat all of this yourself
  • and it evens is super creaming together
  • the butter and sugar helps get that
  • cakiness going
  • you're done creaming when it's nice and
  • well mixed together but the butter is
  • also fluffy and kind of sticky
  • while my sugars are incorporating I
  • cracked my eggs into a bowl it's really
  • important that you crack your eggs into
  • a bowl first not directly into your
  • mixture because you never know of little
  • pieces of shell will get inside that
  • would it be good one nice little touch I
  • like to add is a little bit of almond
  • and flavor to my brownies so we're gonna
  • use an ounce of amaretto liqueur now I'm
  • going to add the three-fourths cocoa
  • powder use the best cocoa powder you can
  • find this smells so good
  • I don't pack it fluff it or anything
  • else I just scoop it in and then level
  • it off I prefer to use chocolate rather
  • than cocoa powder cocoa powder sometimes
  • can leave a granular taste I'm just
  • going to melt some delicious chocolate
  • and high quality butter over a
  • bain-marie I want to make almost like a
  • chocolate syrup this will give a really
  • nice texture to my brownie ba love makes
  • the ideal brownie but also a good
  • mixture you look at the consistency it's
  • nice and smooth now we're gonna mix
  • these together I'm using a hand mixer
  • because I don't want to sit here for
  • thirty minutes and work up a nice sweat
  • I'm using a paddle attachment rather
  • than a whisk because I don't want to
  • whisk in any extra air you have to do it
  • like this like your life depends on it
  • all right very chocolaty one of the best
  • combinations our brownies and caramel so
  • I've decided to make bourbon salted
  • caramel I'm just starting with sugar
  • right into the pan I'm at about 160
  • degrees and it's turning a nice amber
  • color and I'm going to add butter some
  • heavy cream add the Bourbon right into
  • the mixture the Bourbon adds a nice
  • complex flavor and some notes of
  • nuttiness to the caramel
  • I'm going to stick it into the freezer
  • for at least an hour but I have one last
  • step homemade whipped cream is one of
  • the easiest things you can make it has
  • three ingredients heavy cream
  • confectioner sugar and vanilla extract
  • and you whip it in a chilled Bowl you
  • know it looks curdled but it's not
  • alright this is some assembly required
  • before we put the batter in I'm gonna
  • grease the pan I like to treat my butter
  • like a cran sometimes I'm just gonna
  • make sure that every little milk and
  • cranny is covered by that butter I'm
  • putting into a pan lined with parchment
  • that's been buttered so it won't stick
  • also gonna add just a pinch of flour to
  • coat the butter and then we're gonna
  • roll it around I think this just helps
  • everything come out at the end like so
  • that nothing sticks to the sides I'm
  • gonna put half of the batter in to the
  • pan first I'm just gonna make it even
  • sometimes you'll see people have baked
  • their brownies and it's really uneven
  • and that's usually because they don't
  • use an offset spatula to smooth it out
  • and put the batter in all areas of the
  • pan this is my other little special
  • trick and treat I like to put the
  • chocolate chips right in the middle of
  • the brownie maybe two handfuls maybe a
  • little bit more you get a chip they melt
  • down and that's where you get a little
  • bit more that uh genous finish it up
  • with the last half I'm going to layer
  • the caramel right on top I'll show you a
  • special trick so now I'm just using my
  • butter knife and I'm swirling the
  • caramel into the brownie batter I mean
  • if there's a little leftover on the
  • spoon that's not a bad thing
  • now I'm gonna bake this for 20 to 25
  • minutes at 325 degrees 350 degrees for
  • 20 minutes 45 minutes at 350 degrees all
  • right I'm excited about this they look
  • and smell delicious when we dig in
  • I'm the queen of brownies I just named
  • Hawaii
  • we're gonna top it with sliced almonds I
  • like a lot of moments and some
  • confectioner sugar it's more for looks
  • than anything else
  • [Music]
  • very very excited with what I've done
  • here I mean that was a lot of that you
  • have cakey layers on the bottom in the
  • top got that nice
  • uh Gina sin the middle when those
  • chocolate chips all melted down it's
  • awesome you can smell the combination of
  • the caramel with the chocolate and the
  • fresh whipped cream all right let's cut
  • off a bite and try it come on this is a
  • good brownie I mean wow that's working
  • that's amazing
  • me now that we've seen levels one two
  • and three it's clear that there's a lot
  • of variability when it comes to brownies
  • let's talk about what makes each one
  • unique let's talk about chocolate the
  • form of chocolate that you use is going
  • to make a difference as to whether you
  • end up with a chewy brownie or a more
  • fudgy brownie I like my brownies really
  • fudgy my brownies are a little bit cakey
  • for a chewy brownie you're gonna go with
  • cocoa powder cocoa powder is processed
  • from the roasted cocoa beans after the
  • cocoa butter has been removed it's
  • pressed into disks and then it's
  • pulverized and you end up with cocoa
  • powder most cocoa powders go through a
  • Dutch processing where we add an alkali
  • and that raises the pH so it's less
  • acidic as you raise the pH some of the
  • compounds in the chocolate form pigments
  • that don't have a lot of taste to it so
  • you get a really dark rich color with a
  • more mild flavor you might think of an
  • Oreo cookie it's almost black in color
  • it's highly alkalized and it has a
  • really mild soft chocolate flavor if you
  • want a fudgy brownie you use melted dark
  • chocolate like ELISA did that has all of
  • the cocoa butter it's gonna give you a
  • nice silky dense brownie it's already in
  • liquid form so you don't need to
  • incorporate as much air when you're
  • mixing this will make a really nice
  • fudgy texture unlike cocoa powder which
  • is going to need mixing and hydration in
  • order to work in your brownie takes a
  • lot of farm work Anthony did a
  • combination of the two he used
  • go powder but then he added a layer of
  • chocolate chips in between the batter so
  • he had this middle section that was
  • pretty fuzzy kind of an unexpected treat
  • while you're biting into it the flavor
  • profile of these brownies ranged from
  • simple to complex
  • ADIS was a really simple flavor profile
  • nothing but chocolate it's a brownie
  • it's gotta be eaten Anthony did
  • something different he added an almond
  • liqueur I think it just kind of kicks it
  • up a notch which is a really nice
  • complementary flavor to the chocolate he
  • also added almonds on top we truly
  • bolstered that almond flavor and added a
  • nice textural component might have the
  • whole thing just for myself Alisa topped
  • her brownies with a bourbon infused
  • caramel similar to the almonds the
  • Bourbon adds a nutty flavor and it also
  • has some notes of butterscotch which
  • emphasizes the caramel it's going to be
  • fantastic
  • carmelization is a really interesting
  • and complex non enzymatic reaction of
  • sucrose which is white sugar breaking
  • down into its component of fructose and
  • glucose which is very very sweet white
  • sugar by itself has just a sweet note as
  • you increase the temperature you lose
  • water and you increase the browning
  • compounds that are expressed in the
  • caramel I'm at about 160 degrees and
  • it's turning a nice amber color and you
  • get these really complex beautiful
  • roasted toasty flavors oh I want to have
  • some more you can make caramel with just
  • white sugar and heat but when you add
  • the heavy cream and the butter it
  • controls crystallization you don't want
  • any granularity or crystallization in
  • your caramel you want it to be smooth
  • and silky no one wants a clumpy brownie
  • when baking the brownies 80 used a glass
  • dish while Anthony and Alisa used metal
  • medals a good conductor of heat it heats
  • very fast and you'll get a nice crispy
  • edge to your brownies
  • Anthony greased and floured his pan this
  • is different than a de who just greased
  • your pan I don't know what's going on
  • when you add flour to the pan the flour
  • acts like a nuclei where the batter can
  • kind of grab on to the flour and creep
  • up the edges of the dish this results in
  • a thicker brownie on the sides
  • I'm kind of an edge guy myself I'm the
  • queen of brownies does it look so pretty
  • smells delicious there's a lot that goes
  • into baking brownies so next time you
  • make them I hope you consider all of
  • these things so you get the perfect
  • brownie for you see you later
  • [Music]

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How do you like your brownies? Gooey? Cakey? We challenged chefs of three different levels - an amateur, a home cook and a professional chef - to make their versions of the brownie. And then we brought in a food scientist to review their work. Which brownie was the best?

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