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Waffle Brownies

March 8, 2012

What a day! I am so excited about this post. Waffle iron brownies, folks!! It’s an idea from a 1953 issue of Yankee and it’s fantastic. Really, I’m just so excited about my job at Yankee magazine right now.

 

I’m working with Aimee Seavey on a new Yankee cookbook with a “Lost and Vintage Recipes” theme. It’ll be out in October. And in the early stages, I have the pleasure of going back through 75+ years of the magazine’s archives and pulling recipes that seem interesting and relevant and worthy of being updated for today’s cooks. How fun is that? The trick is figuring out which recipes have been forgotten for good reason. There are plenty of those. Tomato casseroles made with ground beef and too much cheese, a blueberry slump with dumplings as dense as rocks. Tastes change over time, as do standards for recipe writing and testing. In the past, recipes were sometimes seen as outlines rather than precise instructions.

So back to 1953. Here’s the bound issue from the archives, and the recipe.

 

I’m sure you can imagine the thrill of finding this little gem. Brownies in a wha-? A dessert that combines my love of chocolate and multitasking appliances? Sign me up!

It was time get out the waffle iron and start cooking. Now, most waffle irons have a single heat setting, which ranges between about 330° and 390°.  I have a combined griddle/panini press/waffle iron, which I love for its space-saving efficiency. I set it for 375°.

The first step is to cream a stick of softened (salted) butter with 3/4 cup sugar.

I added 2 ounces of melted unsweetened chocolate, 2 eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. The batter began to look creamy.

In a separate bowl, I whisked together 1 1/2 cups flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon baking powder, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon. I added it to the wet ingredients.

And this is where I began to get a little nervous. The batter looked thick. Much thicker than any brownie recipe I’d ever seen.

I sprayed the iron with canola oil and dropped a heaping tablespoon of batter in the center of each of the four grids.

I closed the lid and waited 3 minutes. I opened the lid, and there they were. And they were…

AWFUL.

Leaden, dry, and with not nearly enough chocolate flavor, these brownie waffles were duds. But the idea was too good to give up. So back to the drawing board.

Comparing this formula with other traditional brownie recipes, I saw that I had used much less sugar and much more flour than most recipes. I decided to try it again with half the flour, another ounce of chocolate, and and extra 1/2 cup sugar.

Here’s what I got.

The extra chocolate and sugar were giving the brownies a richer, more fudgy texture, but clearly more flour was necessary to give the brownies enough structure to hold together. So I began adding flour a bit at a time and cooking up small batches until I got the right texture: one firm enough to hold together but still soft and chewy in the center.

And that’s how I got here. I love these brownies. The waffle iron gives them crispy ridges, but the inside remains rich and fudgy. They’re novel and fun and incredibly easy to make.

One important note: You need to let the brownies sit for a minute on the hot, opened iron before trying to remove them. Otherwise they’ll be too soft and likely to crumble.

Here’s the recipe:

Yankee’s Crisp-Chewy Waffle Iron Brownies

Total time: 40 minutes; hands-on time: 30 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup salted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 ¼ cups granulated sugar
  • 3 squares melted unsweetened (baker’s) chocolate
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon table salt
  • Vegetable oil for waffle iron

Method:

Preheat your waffle iron. In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Add melted chocolate and vanilla and stir. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring well after each.

In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. Add dry ingredients to chocolate mixture and stir just until evenly combined.

When waffle iron is ready, spray or brush with neutral vegetable oil, such as canola. Drop a heaping tablespoonful of batter into the center of each grid on your iron. Close the lid and cook until the brownies are crisp and dry on the outside, 4 to 6  minutes, depending on the iron (check after 4 minutes). Open the waffle iron and let brownies sit for 1 to 2 minutes, until firm enough to remove (don’t skip this step). Transfer to a plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar. Repeat with remaining batter. Yield: 10 to 12 brownies.

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Now… I’d love to get your help, readers! I’ve only tested this recipe on my iron and temperatures and cooking times will vary, depending on the machine. If you try this recipe, will you please report back to let me know how it worked for you and how long the brownies took to cook? I’ll adjust the recipe accordingly. Thank you!

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