How a flat, unrisen chocolate cake came to be called a brownie is unknown, writes Sharon Moore in "Brownies," but the term first appeared in print in the 1897 Sears, Roebuck and Co. catalog.
"Today," Moore says, "the popularity of the brownie rivals that of chocolate-chip cookies." Her "Brownies" cookbook (Fireside Books, $7.95) can help feed any appetite for brownies with 75 recipes ranging from Chocolate-on-Chocolate Brownies to Triple Chocolate Pate.If brownies are popular in your house, the baking experts at Duncan Hines offer these tips:
- To prevent overdone edges and an underdone center, wrap strips of aluminum foil completely around the outside of the pan - but don't cover the bottom. Bake as the recipe directs. The foil slows the movement of the heat to the edges of the brownie, allowing the center to bake properly.
- Add variety by swirling the batter with jam, or mixing in chopped nuts, crushed toffee, granola, crushed cookies, flavored extracts, white chocolate chips or grated orange zest.
- For a quick and easy glaze: During the last 30 seconds of baking, cover the top of the brownies with thin milk chocolate candy bars. About 4 ounces of candy will cover an 8-inch square pan. The chocolate will soften. Immediately remove the pan from the oven and evenly spread melted chocolate over the brownies. If desired, sprinkle chopped nuts over the glaze.
- Refrigerate brownies briefly after baking. It makes them easier to slice.
- For best flavor and moistness, store brownies in an airtight tin with a piece of apple.