Baked in the City is a happy network of homebakers like us, out to embrace more of our own. Our group is about celebrating home-baked treats and the absolute joy that goes into making them! Members look forward to sampling each other’s baked goods, learning new baking techniques together, sharing information on ingredients, trading sources or suppliers and even trying out new recipes from those who are willing to share.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yumi’s Dark Chocolate Brownie with Grand Marnier

By Yumi Castrillo

photo by Camille Bautista

The first time I attempted to bake I was ten years old. I was alone in the kitchen and I had all the ingredients set out before me. I looked at the recipe, it was a chocolate cake recipe at the back of the flour box, and began measuring the ingredients: 1 cup butter, 2 cups all purpose flour, ½ cup cocoa, 3 eggs….. and so on. As I measured each ingredient, I immediately dumped it into the bowl. It was only after I went through all the ingredients, that I noticed the instructions portion of the recipe: cream the butter and sugar together… then I glance down at my mixing bowl, all ingredients were already in!


It was no surprise that my first cake came out a disaster. It was gummy, pasty and clumpy. The batter didn’t rise at all. It had the consistency of a squished pancake. It was enough to put me off baking for another three years. From then on, I would only bake straight from a cake mix box. I found such refuge from turning out perfect cakes and brownies with the ready-made mixes that I wasn’t ashamed to tell friends it came from a box. In fact, I enjoyed it so much that I started following the variations I could do with the cake mix, like churning out lemon cheesecake bars from a yellow cake mix. It was then that I learned how the ingredients work together, how to balance the dry ingredients from the wet ones, and most importantly, how to alter the flavor and texture. Before I knew it, I was making my own variations with the mix and almost always, I’d get the outcome that I wanted.

photos by Kit Langit

Altering recipes has then become second nature. With new-found confidence, I strayed away from the cake mix and began altering the best basic recipes I could find. The key is to always begin with a very very good basic recipe. Fortunately, I found a brownie recipe that boasts to be “the ultimate.” True to my nature, I altered it, lessening the sugar, changing the procedure and adding some ingredients that I felt would heighten the pleasure of the taste buds. Please note, it is essential to use high-quality dark chocolate. You need not purchase the Valrhona brand, although that’s the chocolate I used here. The Meiji dark chocolate with at least 56% cocoa content would work as well. The grand marnier may be omitted, but the orange zest and orange essence are important, since those will give the bars that citrus oomph.

This brownie gives off the same texture and taste as a chocolate flourless cake, very fudgy, soft and moist with slight crunch at the top. The recipe may seem to have a lot of sugar, but it balances perfectly with the unsweetened dark chocolate. If you like your brownie rich but not too sweet, and with the subtle hint of oranges, this is for you!

Photo by Kit Langit


Yumi’s Dark Chocolate Brownie with Grand Marnier


8 oz good-quality dark chocolate, unsweetened, chopped to small pieces
1 cup butter
5 eggs
500 grams granulated sugar
1 tablespoon orange essence
180 grams All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
the zest of one orange
1 tablespoon Grand Marnier


Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with greaseless paper.

Melt the chopped chocolate and butter over low heat; set aside.

In a mixer, beat eggs, sugar, orange essence, and grand marnier until smooth.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Add in the zest.

Blend in the chocolate mixture, then the flour mixture, until just mixed. Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for 35-40 minutes.

I find that my nose can be the best timer for baked goods. When the room starts to smell chocolatey, I bring out the toothpick and begin testing after every 5 minutes. I make sure that I bake the brownie just until small clumps still cling to the toothpick. The heat emanating from the brownie will continue to cook itself inside, and by the time it’s cooled down, the brownies will be perfect.

1 comment:

RiSa said...

This classic combination of orange and chocolate was definitely taken up a notch! A super must if you love dark chocolate.