Friday October 1, 2010

Any port in a storm a little brownie bling

I hate gold leaf on desserts. It doesn’t do anything but make it more expensive. No intriguing flavor, no special texture. I’m tired of restaurants signaling Oh, this dessert is fancy with a miserly speck of the stuff. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I get it. You’re high class.

We ate dinner at an unnamed but totally acclaimed Chicago restaurant for our 5th anniversary a few weeks ago and our dessert came with a tiny fleck of gold foil so minuscule a ‘49er wouldn’t stop panning to fish it out.

“Wow, holy crap. I know it’s a recession but geeze. I put more gold leaf on my brownies,” I muttered as I took a bite of whatever I ordered.

Mr. Bravetart laughed, “What if you did?”

Oh, I did.

Gold plated brownie

So, yeah, I want to initiate a giant “jump the shark” moment for gold leaf. Look, fancy restaurants of the world: if some girl in Kentucky has gold plated her brownies, it’s too déclassé for your dessert! Give it a rest.

We went to Lexington’s Wine + Market, to make use of their astonishing wine room as the backdrop for our photo shoot. I had popped in the day before to grab most of the ingredients I’d need for the brownies: port, chocolate, local eggs and butter.

Yeah, I listed port as an ingredient, not an accompaniment (well, both favorite). I felt that gilded brownies might needed a little something extra to justify the bling. Here’s the recipe for LBV Port Brownies.

The addition of port has about the same effect on the brownies as an after dinner glass of porto has on a person: makes ‘em feel a little sophisticated and a lot more mellowed out. Should you, for myriad reasons, not wish to use port, you still have options. You could easily substitute coffee/espresso, which would obviously take the brownies about 180° from mellow but still bearing directly toward delicious.

For those of you not interested in pimping out your brownies to quite that extreme, I also decorated a few using chocolate transfer sheets from (don’t let the 1990s era geocities-esque website fool you), sugar pearls, and silver sprinkles from Fancy Flours.

Stack of gold plated brownies

While you’re here, I’m really curious to hear everyone’s thoughts on brownies, specifically, the great Cakey vs Fudgey debate. I mean, I’ve always felt if you want cakey, bake a freakin’ cake. But then again, I guess you could say if you want fudgey make some fudge. So what’s the word? Who’s on team Cakey? Who votes for Fudgey?

posted byStellaand filed under:  Chocolate  Local  Sideshow Photos  Vanilla

22 comments and counting

Oct 01, 2010 ·  7:49 PM

I am Team Fudgy Brownie. I agree w/ your statement regarding cake-like brownies. Your brownies look lovely!

 · Little Mary · 

Oct 02, 2010 ·  9:52 AM

Team Fudgy..Cake-like brownies just taste like cake with no frosting.
Those look outstanding, if I wasn’t a pregnant mouse I would make these, I know I could make them and just not drink the port…but where is the fun in that?

 · Mousey · 

Oct 02, 2010 ·  1:35 PM

Fudgy inside with a cakey outer crust.

 · JenRa · 

Oct 02, 2010 ·  3:20 PM

Team Cakey 1/4, Team Fudge 3. BraveTart abstains from voting at this time…

Mousey Mouse, make these up with double strength tea or coffee instead of port. That's my favorite "everyday" way to make this recipe.

If there are any Team Cakesters out there, you'd better vote soon!


Oct 03, 2010 ·  1:00 AM

I need more explanation of “cake” vs “fudge.” For me, it can only be both. If it was fudgey, it would be a flourless chocolate cake substitute, same theory if it’s cake textured, ie cake sub. But if it is a dense, chocolatey massacre of flavor…boom you’re there. I vote all brownies should be Switzerland.

 · The Cheat · 

Oct 03, 2010 ·  9:50 PM

Team Fudge (unless you are making them, in which case I will take either)!

 · SSW ·

Oct 04, 2010 ·  6:34 PM

Fudgy all the way. I think my favorite are soft in the middle that you’re almost afraid it’s not completely cooked through…

 · Mark ·

Oct 05, 2010 ·  9:56 AM

I love the comment about the glass of port after dinner. Classy

I’ve always preferred fudgey, but I seem to be the only person in my family who likes them that way. Ah well – if they really wanted cakey brownies, then they would make them on their own, right?

 · Kaitlin ·

Oct 10, 2010 · 11:00 PM

Team fudgey. I love the manner in which you have bitten your thumb at the silliness of gold leaf. And THANK YOU for using toward, not towards.

 · Mallowsota · 

Oct 11, 2010 ·  2:06 PM

Fudge-y. With a little shine on the surface for a subtly crackling contrast to the rich, almost gel-like interior. But I don’t really even love chocolate – just trying to make my brownies come out this particular way that IF I loved chocolate I would really adore.

 · Rona Roberts ·

Oct 13, 2010 ·  8:07 PM

Im completely on the fudgey side of the argument. To me brownies need to be incredibly gooey, (plenty of melty chocolate chips inside go a long way too) but in response to The Cheat – the perfectly fudgey brownie is not a mere substitute for flourless chocolate cake as flourless chocolate cake is much more dense. a fudgey brownie still needs to retain some fluffiness so that its almost too easy to scarf down 3 of them in 5 minutes.

 · Kitty Cat · 

Oct 14, 2010 ·  9:01 AM

That’s true. Too fudgey and, well, it’s fudge. There has to be some structural support by means of fluff, which the flourless cake would never have. A+ comment, Kitty Cat!


Oct 16, 2010 ·  9:48 PM

Fudgy, motherfudger.

 · Hexadecimal · 

Oct 18, 2010 ·  2:27 PM

By opting to go round with these brownies, they almost look like the fanciest Ding Dongs ever. And they make me want to eat Ding Dongs. Except the last time I got that urge I was really disappointed by the reality. So I guess what I am really craving now is an embellished round brownie. A new craving for me…just what I need!

 · kingwell · 

Oct 18, 2010 ·  7:15 PM

K, we were joking they looked like guilded hockey pucks! I’ll take ding dongs over that any day. Perhaps Santa shall have treats on Wed.


Jan 13, 2011 ·  7:37 PM

Fabulous!!! Love the gold leaf! (and we’re team fudge here)

 · Liz ·

Feb 13, 2012 ·  7:47 PM

Cakey. I know I’m a year-and-a-half late with my vote, but I had to get it in there. It’s funny: I love a very moist chocolate cake, but my favorite brownies have an almost fluffy, soft powdery quality, and walnuts. Gotta have walnuts to be a brownie. (ducking to avoid thrown objects)

 · Chellspecker · 

Feb 14, 2012 · 10:00 AM

@Chellspecker, fluffy brownies with walnuts?! (picks up nearby object to throw) Oh well….I suppose, as they say, there’s no accounting for taste. Just kidding!!! I’ve never had a fluffy brownie that wasn’t also dry, so I’d have to say that I’m not opposed to fluffiness done right, only that I’ve never encountered it in the wild.


Jun 02, 2013 ·  5:35 PM

You’re in good company with your disapproval of tasteless, odorless gold:

 · brhau ·

Jun 03, 2013 ·  9:46 AM

Ben!!! That made my morning, sir.


Jun 24, 2013 ·  5:45 PM

Team Fudge. I noticed the reply was late; however, I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for REAL brownies. Emphasis on REAL because I don’t think a you can call one a brownie if it comes out of the box OR you aerate it too much, (a.k.a. cakey brownie). Yet, a perfect brownie is very subjective. Also, thank you for the gold warning. I have added that to my pastry bling list and plan to introduce it to the market soon (pressured decision) but, in all honesty, I’d rather go with flavor and dedicated artistry.

 · April · 

Jun 26, 2013 · 12:21 AM

Hi April! It’s funny, trying to strike a balance between something that’s upscale and classy, versus something that’s just over the top and, perhaps, overcompensating. Team Fudge all the way!!



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