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Thursday, January 10, 2013

mocha bars.

Oh this is going to be so hilarious because I am such the genius, as usual. I was following the recipe for these mocha bars but scaled down to a quarter for a smaller batch. I did it by mental calculation to give my brain a good morning workout. Everything was going fine, almost too uneventfully, when Murphy's Law turned around and bit me in the behind. At the last step, of all tragedies! I had my batter scraped and ready to go in my loaf pan and as I was about to send it into the fiery temperatures of the metal box, I had this nagging feeling to check the recipe again. And hey presto! I forgot to stir in the heavy cream.

I considered leaving it out but remembered that the book said that the cream would smooth out the bitterness of the unsweetened chocolate and coffee so I didn't. Pouring all the batter out of the pan into the mixing bowl would result in loss of batter, plus create more trouble by having to get another clean loaf pan and then spraying it with non-stick baking spray. So what did I do? I mixed the cream directly into the batter while it was in the pan, praying fervently that I could somehow get it all evenly mixed.

After I finished with a satisfied there!, Murphy's Law came to say hi again. I added double the amount of cream I needed. You see? That's what would happen if you try to handle finicky mental sums while you are mentally distressed. At that point of realization, I was so exasperated that I added colourful M&Ms on top to cheer me up (which, by the way, didn't turn out to be such a good idea because the shells cracked like fissures). I poured out too much initially and tried to put back the excess into the bag, accidentally sacrificing one orange M&M in the process. May you rest in peace.

You know, when I first saw the title of the recipe, I thought that these bars would be a cookie kind of bar. While I was mixing up the batter, it seemed like a brownie sort of recipe to me. But when I read the instructions in detail, it called these cake. I felt that these were more brownie-like because they are fudgy. Although I have to admit, they are lighter than the average brownie so the most accurate description would be a half-fudgy half-cakey brownie. Then again, brownies are under the cake family- the author wasn't wrong to call them cake.

While the batter smelled strongly of coffee, after they were baked, the coffee taste wasn't that prominent anymore. I would be hard-pressed to call these mocha bars if I hadn't known what had gone into them. The coffee helps to boost the chocolate flavor rather than vie with it on an equal level, which makes it mocha, does it not? Still, that doesn't change the fact that these bars are delicious. Now if you would excuse me, I'm going to chill the rest of the bars to turn them into chocolate fudge.

Mocha Bars
lightly adapted from Baking by Flavour

49g unsalted butter
1 ounce unsweetened chocolate, chopped finely
1/2 tsp instant coffee
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 1/4 tsp cake flour
1 1/2 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1/16 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 small egg
80g sugar
3/4 tsp heavy cream
3 tbsp chopped walnuts, toasted and cooled

Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare a mini loaf pan.

Place the chopped unsweetened chocolate and instant coffee in a small ramekin.

Place the butter in a small saucepan and heat on medium until the butter has melted and is sputtering slightly. Immediately pour the butter into the small ramekin. Let the mixture stand.

Sift the flours, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a bowl. Toss a bit of the flour mixture with the chocolate chips until they are well-coated. Shake off the excess and set the chocolate chips aside.

Stir the vanilla extract into the butter mixture until the mixture is homogenous.

Whisk the egg until foamy. Whisk in the sugar gradually and continue whisking until the mixture is thick and slightly pale. Stir in the butter mixture until combined. Sift over the flour mixture until no traces of flour can be seen. Stir in the heavy cream, chocolate chips and walnuts until evenly mixed.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 25 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before unmolding onto a rack to cool completely.

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