Feb 13, 2012

Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off: Week 1

**See Ya In the Gumbo potluck can be found here.**

Maybe you remember the Homesick Texan Spotlight hosted by Heather @ Girlichef. This time around the spotlight is on Joy of Joy the Baker. And Heather invited me to be a part of this event.

Many thanks, Heather!

For a listing of the participating bloggers, please visit Girlichef.

Joy Wilson is a blogger. A blogger who has a cookbook coming out: Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes. After browsing through it, the highest praise I can give it it this...
My copy arrived while I was at work--was waiting for me when I went home for lunch. I thumbed through it during that not-quite-an-hour. And for the rest of the day thought about what I could make from it. Hoping there would be something I had all of the ingredients for. This wasn't a book to set aside and pick something from later. I rearranged dinner plans so I could try out one of the recipes (coming up during a later post).

For Week 1 of this event, Heather selected two recipes for us to try--one savory, one sweet.
Flaxseed and Cracked Pepper Crackers
Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

Participating bloggers could choose one, the other, or both. Usually I'm an overachiever, but February tends to be hectic here. And nothing soothes hectic like brownies.

Chocolate in chocolate on chocolate in chocolate spoke to me. In conspiritorial whispers.

Brownies may just be my favorite sweet. Sometimes I think, how can brownies get any better?

Enter Joy the Baker with her chocolate buttercream frosting. This rich, creamy, best-invention-ever has a touch of salt which I thought was brilliant. It gives a hip edge to all that rich sweet chocolate. The buttercream is also made with Ovaltine.

from Google
No crummy commercial here. It's just plain good.
There was some email discussion about which form of Ovaltine to use. I used the rich chocolate style, however I don't think you can go wrong with chocolate malt or classic malt.

So you can probably tell, this chocolate buttercream won a lot of...umm...dare I go there...yes, of course, it's me we're talking about...brownie points over here.

But what about the actual brownies? Stick with me, kid. I'm gettin' there.

Normally I shun brownie recipes that only make an 8 x 8 pan. That's simply how it is. But these brownies, plus the frosting, are rich. A small pan goes a very long way.

Some brownies start with the usuals...flour, to which cocoa powder is added. Then eggs, butter or oil enter the picture. Some brownies start like Joy's. By melting butter and chocolate together into a dark, thick, lucious chocolate liquid.

It's mental.
But starting brownies this way makes me feel that they will be extra chocolatey and rich.

I said "it's." Not "I'm."

One last thing about the brownies. I liked them best cold, right out the fridge. Even fudgier.

Awww, let's just go full circle and come back to that buttercream. You'll only need half the recipe for the brownies.
What are you going to do with the other half?
Don't ask such ridiculous questions.

Read Heather's interview with Joy the Baker HERE
(plus a giveaway)

Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
from Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes
makes one 8-inch pan

¾ c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ c. (1 stick) unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
½ c. packed brown sugar
½ c. granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. semisweet chocolate chips

Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Grease and flour an 8-inch square baking dish and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

Bring about 2 inches of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. In a medium, heatproof bowl, add butter and unsweetened chocolate. Place the bowl over, but not touching, the simmering water and allow to melt. Stir to incorporate. Once melted, remove the bowl from the simmering pot. Whisk in brown sugar and granulated sugar. Whisk in eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Add the flour mixture all at once to the chocolate mixture. Fold together with a spatula until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center of the brownie comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool completely before frosting.

Frost with a half recipe of The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting (see below) when cooled.
Brownies last, well wrapped, at room temperature for up to five days.

The Best Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
from Joy the Baker Cookbook: 100 Simple and Comforting Recipes
makes enough to frost one 2-layer 8-inch or 9-inch cake or 24 cupcakes

¾ c. (1½ sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
½ c. unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp. salt
2½-3 c. powdered sugar, sifted
2 Tbs. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
scant ½c. heavy cream
⅓ c. Ovaltine

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter, cocoa powder, and salt. Mixture will be very thick, but cream for about 3 minutes at medium speed.

Turn off the mixer, scrape down the sides of teh bowl and add the powdered sugar. Turn the mixer on low to incorporate 2½ cups powdered sugar while adding the milk and vanilla. As the sugar incorporates, gradually increase the mixer speed to medium-high. Stop the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat until smooth.

In a 1-cup measure, stir together cream and Ovaltine. Turn the mixer to medium, and pour the cream in a slow and steady stream until the frosting reaches your desires consistency: smooth, creamy, and spreadable. Add more powdered sugar to adjust consistency. Spread or pip frosting onto cooled cakes or cupcakes (or brownies!).

note: Putting the frosting in the fridge for about 30 minutes makes it harden just a little and makes it easier to spread as a frosting.

Frosting will last well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

JTB Cookbook Spotlight & Cook-Off Banner

*This post is part of the Joy the Baker Cookbook Spotlight and Cook-Off sponsored by Hyperion and hosted at girlichef*


  1. Wow! Those brownies rock. They look decadent.


  2. Brownies...these in particular...are sure to melt away the stress of ANY day. So happy you're enjoying the book so far and that you're participating in this spotlight! =) Your brownies look yummy!

  3. I like how bold you were with the thick layer of frosting on your brownies. Even though I've already made a batch, your photos have got me craving more!

  4. I've finished mine but after seeing yours I need more!!! Great result,
    Take care..

  5. I am drooling again.....I just love these brownies and can't wait to make them again!

  6. Damn, those look good. So decadent...I'm glad we are cooking/baking together.

  7. spoonfuls of frosting are my kind of dessert! i made the crackers, but really seriously thinking i need to head back to the kitchen and whip some of these up!

  8. Wish I could reach right in and take that spoonful of chocolate frosting. I was lucky my recipe of chocolate buttercream made it onto the brownies. This recipe is definitely a keeper. Nice photos too.

  9. Your brownies turned out splendidly! I love your writing and humor to. The picture from Christmas Story is priceless!

    So glad to be sharing the cookbook challenge and spotlight experience with you. Looking forward to see what you pick for week 3!

    Jenn/Rook No. 17

  10. No ridiculous questions needed...the leftover frosting was made for dipping! Love these bad boys!

  11. I couldn't make the extra frosting or I would have been ladling it into my mouth. ;-) Your brownies look fabulous!

  12. These brownies rocked!! your pics are amazing!


Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your comments.