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Rose's Alpha Bakers

TBB - Woody's Black and White Brownies

Patricia Reitz

Woody's Black and White Brownies - ButterYum

Woody's Black and White Brownies - ButterYum

Welcome to the Alpha Bakers bake-a-long, an online project where a group of food bloggers bake our way through The Baking Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. Most of the recipes made during this project will not be shared, but I will post my commentary followed by a full photo tutorial.

This week's selection - Woody's Black and White Brownies - rich brownies topped with a layer of white chocolate buttercream followed by a layer of chocolate ganache.   I opted to omit the pecans from this recipe.  

Special ingredients and/or equipment needed - 8x8 square baking pan, parchment paperdigital scalestand mixer, insulated baking strips, digital thermometer.  

Optional ingredients and/or equipment suggested - silicone spatulas, small binder clips, pastry brush, fine mesh sieve, BeaterBlade.

How do they taste - Divine!  The brownies would be fine on their own, but the added white chocolate buttercream and chocolate ganache take them over the top (in a very good way!).     

How do they look - Scrumptious - how could anyone turn down such beautiful brownies?  Allowing them to chill completely is essential - I found 1 hour wasn't quite long enough for the white chocolate buttercream and ganache layers to fully set up.  

Level of difficulty - Intermediate, but quite doable.   

Were the directions clear - Yes.

What would I do differently next time - Try to blend the cream cheese into the brownie batter better.  Although the flavor of cream cheese blobs don't negatively affect the brownies, I don't really like they way they look.   

Also, I'm so smitten with the white chocolate buttercream and ganache layers, I wouldn't be opposed to reducing the brownie layer by half to get a higher ratio of toppings to brownie.  Yum!

Okay, here's my photo tutorial. 

Start by brushing the pan with shortening - this will glue the parchment paper to the pan.

Start by brushing the pan with shortening - this will glue the parchment paper to the pan.

Press a strip of parchment into place.

Press a strip of parchment into place.

Now brush more shortening on top of the parchment to glue a 2nd strip crossing over in the other direction.  

Now brush more shortening on top of the parchment to glue a 2nd strip crossing over in the other direction.  

Press the 2nd strip of parchment into place and use small binder clips to hold the excess paper out of the way.

Press the 2nd strip of parchment into place and use small binder clips to hold the excess paper out of the way.

Wrap the pan with an insulated baking strip.  Can you tell this one has been heavily used over the years?  It's practically falling apart.  

Wrap the pan with an insulated baking strip.  Can you tell this one has been heavily used over the years?  It's practically falling apart.  

Time to make the brownie batter.  Gently melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. 

Time to make the brownie batter.  Gently melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water. 

This doesn't take long at all.

This doesn't take long at all.

Gather the rest of the ingredients needed.

Gather the rest of the ingredients needed.

Place the butter/chocolate mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer and start adding the other ingredients.  My favorite BeaterBlade attachment eliminates the need to stop and scrape the bowl.  Gosh it's just the best thing ever. - love it!

Place the butter/chocolate mixture in the bowl of a stand mixer and start adding the other ingredients.  My favorite BeaterBlade attachment eliminates the need to stop and scrape the bowl.  Gosh it's just the best thing ever. - love it!

Add the sugar, and cocoa, eggs, vanilla, flour, cream cheese, and nuts, if using, in the order stated.  Cocoa is notoriously lumpy so I ALWAYS sift it before adding it to the mixer.

Add the sugar, and cocoa, eggs, vanilla, flour, cream cheese, and nuts, if using, in the order stated.  Cocoa is notoriously lumpy so I ALWAYS sift it before adding it to the mixer.

Mixing done.  The book says it's okay to have lumps of cream cheese in the batter.  I'm not happy about them, but okay. 

Mixing done.  The book says it's okay to have lumps of cream cheese in the batter.  I'm not happy about them, but okay. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.  Definitely not happy with those white blobs of cream cheese.  Maybe they wouldn't bother me as much if I had chosen to add the nuts. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly.  Definitely not happy with those white blobs of cream cheese.  Maybe they wouldn't bother me as much if I had chosen to add the nuts. 

Anyway, bake the brownies until an internal temperature of 190F is reached. 

Anyway, bake the brownies until an internal temperature of 190F is reached. 

Cool in the pan completely.  

Cool in the pan completely.  

Time to make the white chocolate buttercream layer, start by making a custard base. 

Time to make the white chocolate buttercream layer, start by making a custard base. 

The custard is butter and white chocolate melted gently over a double boiler, then eggs are added.

The custard is butter and white chocolate melted gently over a double boiler, then eggs are added.

Stir constantly over the double boiler until the mixture thickens and reaches 160F. 

Stir constantly over the double boiler until the mixture thickens and reaches 160F. 

Done.

Done.

Strain the thickened custard through a fine mesh sieve.  Cool mixture until it reaches 70F. 

Strain the thickened custard through a fine mesh sieve.  Cool mixture until it reaches 70F. 

The more shallow the container, the faster the custard will cool.  

The more shallow the container, the faster the custard will cool.  

To complete the white chocolate buttercream, combine the white chocolate custard with room temperature butter and vanilla extract.  The recipe called for 305g of custard, but I only ended up with 247g.  In the end, it worked out, but I wonder if anyone else in the group had the same problem. Right about now is when I got a phone call from a friend and while we gabbed, I continued with the recipe and completely forgot to take any photos.  So here's what the camera missed.  The custard mixture was whipped in the stand mixer until light and fluffy, then spread onto the brownies and chilled.  Then I made the ganache by melting cream and chocolate together, then stirring in a little Kahlua.  The recipe actually called for bourbon, but I didn't have any.  I think you could use just about any liqueur that pairs well with chocolate. - Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Rum, Frangelico, Bailey's Irish Cream, etc.   

To complete the white chocolate buttercream, combine the white chocolate custard with room temperature butter and vanilla extract.  The recipe called for 305g of custard, but I only ended up with 247g.  In the end, it worked out, but I wonder if anyone else in the group had the same problem.

Right about now is when I got a phone call from a friend and while we gabbed, I continued with the recipe and completely forgot to take any photos.  So here's what the camera missed.  The custard mixture was whipped in the stand mixer until light and fluffy, then spread onto the brownies and chilled.  Then I made the ganache by melting cream and chocolate together, then stirring in a little Kahlua.  The recipe actually called for bourbon, but I didn't have any.  I think you could use just about any liqueur that pairs well with chocolate. - Amaretto, Grand Marnier, Rum, Frangelico, Bailey's Irish Cream, etc.   

Spread the ganache layer on top of the white chocolate buttercream layer and chill well before unmolding.

Spread the ganache layer on top of the white chocolate buttercream layer and chill well before unmolding.

Use the excess parchment paper to lift the block of chilled brownies right out of the pan.  Easy peasy.

Use the excess parchment paper to lift the block of chilled brownies right out of the pan.  Easy peasy.

Peel away the parchment and trim the edges before serving.

Peel away the parchment and trim the edges before serving.

Cook's treat!

Cook's treat!

Darn cream cheese blobs - Grrr.  I suppose the blobs wouldn't be as noticeable if I had added nuts to the brownie batter.  Oh well, the overall flavor is phenomenal so that's a win. 

Darn cream cheese blobs - Grrr.  I suppose the blobs wouldn't be as noticeable if I had added nuts to the brownie batter.  Oh well, the overall flavor is phenomenal so that's a win. 

Remember when I said I wouldn't be opposed to cutting the brownie layer in half to get a higher topping to brownie ratio?  Perfect. 

Remember when I said I wouldn't be opposed to cutting the brownie layer in half to get a higher topping to brownie ratio?  Perfect.