Natures first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day,
Nothing gold can stay. — Robert Frost
What’s that all about? You may ask. Well! “Nothing gold can stay” by Robert Frost is what was engulfing my thoughts whilst I was taking photographs of these seductively enchanting bars of Cookie Brownies. So, why have I affiliated Robert Frost with these gorgeous set of bars, is what I will explain in just a bit; before that, an Introduction seems to be in order, before I move on to this succulent recipe.
Usually called Brookies or Cookie Brownies, my 6 year old daughter decided to name these Mr. & Mrs. CookieBrowns, as they both seemed so in love. Truth be told, I couldn’t have been more thrilled over the name, as the marriage of the Cookie and the Brownie was without a doubt, outstanding, and the union of the flavours was Utopian. The brownies menifest charm and the cookies proven evince of lure, it is absolute to say, the marriage will last.
Therefore, let me introduce, Mr. & Mrs. CookieBrowns.
All the while, Robert Frosts “Nothing Gold can Stay” just kept coming back to me. Briefly, the poem talks about the finite nature of things, in particular that which is perfect and beautiful is never everlasting. The poem talks about life and death and the juxtaposition of two contrary concepts is the emphasis of the deep meaning of the poem i.e. the moment we realise the fleeting nature or the fragility of the beautiful things in life, we immediately are consumed with gratification towards it. We tend to love a little more and come to cherish a little more. Robert Frost uses examples like nature, the four seasons and especially the story of Eden (Heaven), where the pleasures of Eden ended and humanity was thrust down to earth, to highlight the human facet of gratitude and the zeal to make an effort to acquire bliss and perfection.
Now I won’t go into the analysis of the whole poem but the general idea of it is that because we know everything that is an epitome of perfection in this world won’t last, we tend to live it and enjoy it to the fullest while being grateful of the blessing of having it.
Such is with these gorgeous CookieBrowns; their succulent and scrumtpious flavours and exceedingly good looks come to an end instantly. “But only so an hour” as Robert Frost says; In my house, there isn’t a single piece left for the next morning, it’s all gone within an hour, where I keep thinking to myself, I will have one with my morning coffee and unfortunately that morning with the CookieBrown never comes. The reason I believe, why Robert Frosts poem kept coming to me, was perhaps the beautiful “Gold” brown and amber colours of these cookies. It was truly like autumn in a baking dish, simply magnificent but alas “Nothing gold can stay”, they are irresistible; just as they are baked, they are gone.
Let’s talk about the perfect match of these heavenly delicious CookieBrowns. The texture is just a whole other level, the crisp crumbly golden crust on top of those moist and fudge brownies was, as I like to say it, soulmates. When you chew into these, the crust will crumble and the brownie will melt like chocolate. You will feel your palate, mouthwatering, as if a grainy waterfall going down your throat. The amazing thing is that the flavour heightens with each chew in your mouth and as a result you are left with a mouthfull of intensly creamy yet silky fudge palate.
Let me also say, this bake will fill your home with an exceptionally warm, calm and amber fragrance. The moment I took this out of my oven, that warm musky vanilla scent was just like a perfume. My son shouted out from the other room, “mom, that smells so warm” and ofcourse he wanted to dive right into it but unfortunately, patience really is a virtue when it comes down to this recipe. Yes, it is assembled and prepared very quickly yet the hardest part is waiting for it to cool down before you can indulge yourself.
These are so gorgeous to look at and more than that they are extremely addictive. I had to stop looking at them in order to stop myself from having another piece, let’s face it, my whole day of working out will go to ruins ofcourse. Nevertheless, the little of it that I enjoyed to myself was utterly fulfilling. I suppose, that’s what Robert Frost meant when he explains that even though the pleasures whatever they maybe be finite, what makes them infinite is the impression they leave behind. You will definitely remember the taste and that crunch days after you’ve had the delight of having these.
Okay, moving on, a couple of things, very important, I want to mention before you run to the kitchen. First, let’s highlight that moist and fudge brownie. I have made countless brownies over the past 2 years, my son is a complete chocolatier and he can just never get enough of them, and what I have learned throughout that experience is that a perfect brownie needs a limited number of strokes; 45 strokes to be precise. Yes, now before you pinch your eyebrows, hear me out; I use a hand whisk to make my brownies and 45 strokes to the batter, I guarantee you, your brownie will never be dry or become hard even if you over-bake it. Nonetheless, having said that, never over-bake Chocolate or any other batter for that matter, it’s just a big No-No when it comes down to baking. So, give that hand of yours a good exercise drill and work those 45 strokes to mix it into a smooth, creamy and silky batter; your end batter will have a beautiful shine to it.
Second, lets come to the Cookie batter, again you need to pay heed to two things, one; when you add your dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in this cookie recipe, you need to add your dry batter in two batches and two; sift your dry ingredients in. What sifting does is that it lightens up the flour and combines the salt and baking powder or soda equally to the batter. Also, the butter and the eggs is essential that they are at room temperature before you work with them.
Yes yes! I know it seems a lot of work sifting and stroking but baking like I always say is very technical and if you do the little things right your result will always be major be it flavour or texture.
These can be baked in a 7″x 11″ or 9″x 13″ rectangular baking tray or a 9″x 9″ square baking dish, which ever you prefer for thickness. I personally baked these in a rectangular glass Pyrex dish measuring 7″x 11″ for a thicker fudge Cookiebrowns but it can also be baked in a 9″x 9″ square baking dish for a thin chewy CookieBrowns. Be it a glass dish or a non-stick oven baking dish, the difference between both is that the glass helps distribute the heat more evenly but takes a little longer to bake as the glass takes time to heat up; but the oven baking pans are highly conductive and heat up fast, hence, take less time to cook. I will mention the time with both in the recipe card.
Okay! just a little few things before I move onto the recipe; if you are using a glass baking dish, make sure the bottom is greased before pouring the batter in. Also, pay heed that the temperature doesn’t exceed 350*f (176*c) and bake these for 35-40 minutes and if you think they are slightly undone, which they won’t be I’m pretty sure, leave them for another 5 minutes. The ideal time is 35-40 minutes and I would say that is enough heat. If you bake any longer the top crust will bake to a biscuity texture rather than a chewy crumbly crust. Sincerely, I can’t even begin to tell you how symphonic that sound is when you cut into the crust of that Cookie, that crunch crunch sound while your knife is sliding through them is pure bliss. Truth be told, that sound is what makes me salivate and enhances my anticipation of it.
Lastly, I never cover my dish with foil because I love that golden amber colour to my Cookie top and I prefer it to be crunchy because the moist brownie at the bottom is a beautiful contrast to it. Nevertheless, if you don’t want a crunchy Cookie top, cover the dish after 25 minutes of baking for a squidgy crust.
An extremely important note I would like you all to bear in mind, these CookieBrowns need to be completely cooled before you cut into them. I personally, leave them to cool for an hour because if you cut into it when it’s warm, the mixture will crumble and loose its shape, it will be a mush of CookieBrowns rather than bars. So, please be patient. Kids are highly impatient, so I always bake these when they are at school as I have plenty of time for it to cool down and not have my kids fuss and moan while they are waiting, trust me, I have been through it.
And finally, as Charles Dickens frames a perspective, “there is nothing better than a friend, unless it is a friend with chocolate” and hence, as that exact chocolate friend, I insist, indulge yourself. Dig in!
Because I baked these in a 7″ x 11″ dish – it yielded 12 thick fudge bars.
1 1/4 stick (114 g) Unsalted Butter
1 1/3 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Cocoa Powder
1/4 tsp Vanilla essence
4 tbsp coffee
2/3 cups All-purpose Flour
1 1/2 cups Chocolate chips
- On a double boiler (using a saucepan with a little simmering water with a glass bowl on top, making sure the glass bowl is not touching the hot water) steam together the butter, sugar and cocoa powder in the glass bowl.
- Keep mixing it until everything is incorporated into the butter.
- It will start pulling off the sides and into a gooey batter.
- Taking special care and using oven mitts, remove the glass bowl from the boiler.
- Add vanilla extract, coffee and 2 eggs, one at a time, and whisk them together using either a hand mixer or electric until well combined.
- Sift the flour in the wet batter and using a whisk, stroke to mix precisely 45 times (see blog for the explanation).
- Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Grease and flour the baking pan and pour the batter in and pat the mix down. If it sticks just use wet hands to level it.
- Set this aside
1 stick (113 g) Unsalted Butter (room temperature)
2/3 cups Granulated Sugar
2 eggs (room temperature)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Salt
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1 tsp Baking Powder (levelled)
1 cup chocolate chips
6 dollops Nutella
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light, pale and fluffy.
- Mix in the eggs and vanilla extract and mix to incorporate well.
- Sift the dry ingredients together i.e. flour, salt and baking powder and add the mix in two batches to mix well.
- Once mixed, add the chocolate chips and fold them in.
- Take the Brownie Batter set aside earlier.
- Add 6 dollops of Nutella over the Brownie batter.
- Pour the Cookie batter over the Brownie batter and spread it out with wet hands.
- Level the top and add extra chocolate chips on the top for garnish.
- Pre-heat the oven at 350*(176*c).
- Place the baking dish in the Middle rack of the oven.
- If baking in a glass baking dish; bake for 35-40 minutes.
- If baking in an oven baking pan; bake 30-35 minutes.
- Let cool once baked for atleast 1 hour before cutting into bars.
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