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Brownie Bark

So.  This is happening.  It’s pouring rain today, but it’s a golden day because this is my very first post on my very first blog.

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And, being a very private person who has shied away from most social media type sharing, it’s a pretty big step for me.  I’ve actually reached out and told people about it.  Which means that I can count all of you that are reading today on two hands.  That’s okay.  You’re probably my favorite people in the world anyway and who better to share my first post with than you?  (And because you’re my very favorite people, I’m sure you will be subscribing to and sharing my blog because that’s what favorite people do.) merchant-baker-brownie-bark-05

Since this is all new to me, consider this blog a work in process.  A good friend passed on some advice to me saying that if my beta looked great, then I waited too long to launch.  I only decided to commit to this a little over four weeks ago (and already went through one complete redesign last week), so I think I’m in pretty good shape on that.  But the advice was a good reminder; I figured I’d better get it up and running before I make more changes (including changing my mind about doing it.)

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While I’ve been to many photo shoots and worked with many professional photographers, my own personal photography experience has been pretty much point and shoot family photos.  It’s time to move the setting on my camera from automatic and figure out how to use all of those manual settings.  My photography will be another work in process so let’s flash forward to the day when we look back and admire the progress I’ve made as a photographer.  In the meantime, I have some great food to share with you, and today it just so happens to be chocolate.  Only good things begin with chocolate…or at least that’s been my experience.

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Have you seen that stuff called Brownie Brittle?  It’s available prepackaged in many food stores.  We’ve tried it a few times and it was good.  It’s really thin, light as air, crispy sheets of brownie.  So thin and light that you can lose track of how many you’ve had.  They’re kind of like brownie potato chips. Although, I think you eat more than one because you are hankering for a chewy brownie and you think that maybe just one more piece of the crispy brownie brittle will satisfy that craving.

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Okay, so this is not that.  I thought I’d try to recreate the brittle, but instead made something a hundred times BETTER….Brownie Bark! Why “Brownie Bark”?  Because…. this brownie is not brittle.  It’s CHEWY.  And it’s FUDGY.  And it’s AMAZING.  It really is just like the best part of the brownie… the chewy edges.  Although, I’m quite sure that even those center square brownie lovers will really enjoy this bark as well.  It has lots of chocolaty richness, and is sure to satisfy any brownie craving.

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This recipe uses egg whites and you should go ahead and separate those egg whites from whole eggs.  Don’t take the shortcut and use egg whites from a carton because the quality of those whites varies widely and can totally mess up the texture.  Trust me.  I tried it.  Use real eggs.

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The batter mixes up really quickly and then you simply spread it in the pan, top with more chocolate chips and bake.

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The batter will puff a bit.  After 20 minutes, you’ll take them out of the oven, cut into squares then put them back into the oven for 5 more minutes.

merchant-baker-brownie-bark-10 merchant-baker-brownie-bark-02 When they cool, they will easily break apart into the cut squares and you will have one delicious, crispy, chewy bite awaiting you.

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I bet you haven’t made Brownie Bark before.  But now you know how, so go ahead and make it.    You’ll thank me later.

Brownie Bark

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 3" squares (approximately)

Ingredients

  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 large egg whites not from a carton
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder I used Hershey's
  • ¼ teaspoon espresso powder optional, to enhance chocolate flavor
  • ¼ cup vegetable oil
  • ½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 Tablespoon non-fat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips divided

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F
  2. Line a large jelly roll pan or baking sheet with a pan sized piece of parchment.(Do not use wax paper for this.) I used a half sheet pan. Spray the parchment with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg whites until frothy. I used my stand mixer to do this, but I’ve also done it by hand.
  5. Add the sugar, cocoa powder, espresso powder, oil and vanilla, beating until smooth.
  6. Whisk in the milk powder, then the flour mixture.
  7. Stir in only ½ cup of the chocolate chips reserving the remaining ½ cup of chips for later.
  8. Spread the batter on the parchment spreading it as thin as possible. Mine was about 14” by 10”.
  9. Sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of chocolate chips over the batter.
  10. Bake the bark for 20 minutes. Remove it from the oven, and cut it into squares using a long sharp knife or pizza cutter. I used a pizza cutter and had no issues slicing through the batter. Do not separate the pieces once cut.
  11. Return the pan to the oven, and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Remove it from the oven and cool on the pan.
  12. Once cool, break it into pieces. Store in an airtight container at room temperature. They stay chewy for at least two days, after that, they become Brownie Brittle. See? Now we’ve come full circle. Still delicious, but no longer chewy.

Recipe Notes

*Update 5-9-17: Make sure you use egg whites that you separated yourself.

*Do not use egg whites from a carton. They do not work as well as freshly separated egg whites.

*I only used an 1/4 teaspoon of espresso powder, but you can use up to a 1/2 teaspoon for more intense flavor. If you don't have espresso powder, instant coffee granules work as well.

Adapted from King Arthur Flour

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