Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Home cookin': Chocolate Brownies

I'm usually much better at baking brownies. So I was quite disappointed this time when my first brownie baking experience in Taiwan went flat. Literally. Take a look at the photo. They came out all flat and slightly bitter. The bitterness was due to using vegetable oil instead of butter. Instead of using my instincts, I just followed the instructions on the box which used vegetable oil. Why am I baking brownies from a box? Truthfully this is the second attempt. But the first attempt was with my girlfriend, baked from scratch. She used her japanese recipe and they honestly came out as brown bricks, not brownies. Anyways, back to my failure. In addition to the flatness, the bottoms were burnt too. Researching further, i discovered i made three mistakes. First, was using a dark metal baking pan. Second, the pan was too large. Third, the cooking method was too hot and too fast. Back in the states, I've always just used a glass 8x11 pyrex dish. which happens to be the right size and material. In addition, light colored aluminum works too. For my third mistake, I didn't take into account the year round 80%+ humidity here in Taipei. Because of the wetter climate, the internet recommends to turn the heat down and increase the bake time. Altitude is a factor too, but not in Taipei. We're close enough to sea level. But to my readers, keep that in mind if you ever find yourself baking brownies on Mount Everest. I'll try again, and hopefully they'll turn out better. Best way to learn is to make mistakes. See you next batch.

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