Thursday, December 09, 2010


Today I tested two "Everything but the butter" recipes I've been meaning to bake. The first is a twist on shortbread, the second a low-fat brownie.

Chocolate Chili Shortbread
This take on a classic shortbread incorporates cocoa powder and chili powder (as well as a few red pepper flakes) to really build the flavor. After mixing my dry flour/sugar/etc. mixture, I folded in a stick of butter and pressed the mixture into a round metal pan.

Chocolate Chili Shortbread
The results were not exactly what I hoped for, and I'd like to list them (this recipe came from Epicurious so I blame them for the fail. J/K).
  • Shortbread, though much easier on the home cook to press into a pan, really needs to be rolled out to a thin consistency to reduce the baking time and provide uniformity. 
  • I may be crazy for using chili flakes because I inhaled a flake on first bite, setting off a coughing fit. Lovely. 
  • Cooking time was about 50 minutes, way too long for a leisurely home chef. I need to think of ways to reduce this. 
  • Crunchiness - part of me feels I overbaked it, but it has a really nice crunch that I like. I think I need to eat more mass market shortbread to see what people are generally used to. 
Do you have any favorite shortbread recipes / ideas / flavors you want to share with me? Leave a comment below.

Chocolate Chili Shortbread
Low Fat Brownies
I've tasted some great "just add yogurt" boxed brownies in the market and, though not as gooey or decadent as a full-fat brownie, I feel like there's a great market for a simpler, lighter brownie mix.

To doll mine up I added a teaspoon of cinnamon and a 1/4 cup of chopped walnuts. The walnuts were a great, crunchy addition but the overall consistency of the finished brownies was a bit too cake-like. I'm looking for that super dense kind of brownie mouth-feel. Must keep testing!

Low fat brownies
In looking at some additional yogurt-as-fat brownie recipes online, I saw some commercial producers use wheat gluten and egg white powder to create a more batter-like consistency. I've started my bulk buying list and will be ordering these soon. We'll see what the future testing produce...other than a growing waistline.

So, how do you feel about cinnamon with chocolate?
Are you a brownie purist and only the traditional will do?
Does chili-spiced chocolate get your mojo going?

Leave your reply in the comments below - would love to hear your thoughts!

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