It was that time of the month again when I had to pull up my socks and prepare for the Daring Baker's Challenge. This month I was so sure to participate....I even started preparing it well in time. I was excited at the thought of making Sourdough bread. Had never tried it, but had heard a lot about it. My choice was the Russian Rye Bread.
Very diligently I started my work on the 'starter' for the sourdough; I was aiming baking the bread on Christmas. So I started preparing 9 days in advance giving margins to the cold weather these days.
Day 1 passed with no luck and so did day 3,4 and 5. On day 6, I saw some signs of action....some bubbling; and all this while I was taking care of the 'starter' just like a little baby....trying to keep it all wrapped up in a blanket in a warm corner of my kitchen (with temperatures touching as low as 2.3 degree centigrade it is very difficult to find a warm corner in my kitchen these days).
But inspite of all the love and care, the dear 'starter' would not get active. It was the day before Christmas and I had by now, lost patience and more so was running out of time so I went ahead with preparing the dough for the bread, hoping against hope for it to rise.
However the dear 'starter' would just not wake up and help. So kaput went my dough and to add to my misery when I finally plonked the dough in the oven to bake, half way through the power went off and for a good 4 hours. That was the end of my sourdough bread.
It was Christmas and with one baking disaster I really needed something to lift my spirits. :-)
When low, there is no better comfort food than a sinful moist chocolate something !! I wanted to bake something quickly but delicious all the same. So Brownie it was, though with a twist. Rather than doing the classic walnut brownie, I made Brownies with Toasted Almonds. (My dad loves almonds and prefers the nut any day over walnuts. It was actually his idea and insistence to make brownies with almonds).
Hope you had a Merry Christmas.....I finally did !!
Brownies with Toasted Almonds
200g White Butter
225g Brown Sugar
100g All Purpose Flour
80g Cocoa Powder
2 tsp. Vanilla Essence
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
1 cup Almonds - Toasted and roughly crushed (with a rolling pin)
2 Square 8" baking moulds.
1. Melt butter in a deep pan on low heat. All the brown sugar. Keep whisking with a wooden spatula on low heat for about 7-10 minute, till the sugar and butter are well blended. Remove from fire and let it cool down completely.
2. Once the sugar-butter mix is completely cool, add one egg at a time and mix well with the wooden spatula. (We will not use a hand blender in this recipe). Add the vanilla essence and mix well.
3. Sift flour, baking powder and cocoa powder together.
4. Keep aside a handful of almonds and add the rest to the flour mixture and mix lightly with your fingertips.
5. Now add the dry ingredients mix to the butter-egg mixture very gently.
6. Grease and line the baking mould with parchment and transfer the batter. This batter would be thicker than regular cake batter but not to worry it would even out itself once in the oven.
7. Sprinkle the remaining almonds and bake for about 30-35 minutes at 160 degree centigrade in a preheat oven.
8. Let it cool down and remove from the mould. Cut as desired and serve warm with ice-cream and hot chocolate or just plain.
Happy Baking !!