the line between two camps

Literally everyone reacted the same way when I mentioned I had baked sour cream brownies. I can almost imagine the mental image they had lingering in their minds;– a deathly pale-coloured 2 by 2 inch square, possibly clumsily slathered with a foul undecipherable frosting of sorts, and the only ‘brownie’ part of it all was a misleading meager sprinkle of chocolate chips here and there. I think the mister summed it up pretty aptly with his “Oh yah… The… sour cream brownies…” The ellipsis denoting his hesitation was enough to gain the empathy of the next man whose wife asked if she looked fat in a curve-clutching black dress.

Yet, as you can clearly see, these sour cream brownies really don’t look half as horrifying as they may sound. In fact, they look just like any other brownies. And then some.

Being a follower of the chewy and fudgy brownie camp, these brownies, disregarding how beautifully they photographed, didn’t quite make the cut for me. They were delicious, no doubt, and if I may say so, quite addictive. In fact, I found myself easily snacking on two slices in one sitting. And that is clearly testament to the texture and density of these brownies.

More like chocolate snack cakes, these brownies were light and definitely heaven redefined for fans of cakey brownies. A prior search online garnered several remarks that the brownies lacked the chocolate flavour (hence I added in cocoa powder for good measure), but I think the chocolate depth really hinges on the quality of the chocolate you use. So, why not just call it a chocolate sheet cake? Because albeit cakey and not as dense as their fudgey counterparts, these little squares managed to be light, yet chewy, with a crisp crust that lent itself to a somewhat tight-crumbed interior.

These would be the perfect brownies to pack into your picnic baskets;– the texture ensures the brownies retain its shape, while its density doesn’t leave you with a guilty indulgence of chocolate decadence. But of course there are those of us who would willing revel in chocolate decadence, and grab a fudgey brownie instead πŸ™‚

Sour Cream Brownies
(modified from Nick Malgieri’s The Modern Baker)

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tbsp cocoa powder
6 ounces butter
7 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
4 eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
3 tsp vanilla essence (or extract)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F or 180C.
  2. In a small bowl, sift together the flour and cocoa powder.
  3. In a medium saucepan, melt the butter. Allow it to bubble for about 10 seconds, then remove from heat, and add the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute or two, then whisk it smoothly.
  4. In a large bowl, whisk the brown sugar and eggs until smooth.
  5. Whisk in the sour cream and vanilla until well-blended.
  6. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in the flour and cocoa powder mixture.
  7. Scrape the batter into a lightly greased 9 x 13 pan, and bake for about 30 mins, or until they are firm but still moist in the center.
  8. Cool completely before cutting into squares.

30 thoughts on “the line between two camps

  1. the mister

    Hahahahahhaha….. The entire first paragraph made me LOL…. πŸ˜€

    In my defense, it’s called “Sour Cream Brownies” leh!

    To you it probably translates into… uhhh… “Arnold’s Half Spring In Abundant Melted Cheese Mayo”! (Oooh… that sounds so goood!) πŸ˜›

    Anyhoo the pretty pictures have changed my mind! I will gladly eat some should any come my way! Nomnom!

  2. ovenhaven Post author

    Oh goodness, I DID NOT just see Arnold’s half spring said in the same breath with mayo and cheese!!! And just for that, you owe me an Arnold’s trip soon. Hah!

    To be fair (and to disregard the monstrosity of your claim), I think sour cream brownies to you would be like ‘Ultimate Spiderman 12-inch figurine with 475 points of articulation’ to me. Uhuuuuh… πŸ˜›

  3. oneordinaryday

    I actually liked the idea of seeing a sour cream brownie!! I use sour cream in lots of my favorite cake/cupcake recipes, so why not in brownies too? I do think your pictures are gorgeous, but it looks like a cake to me. I need ooey and gooey in my brownies. Very funny he said/she said going on here, btw! : )

  4. ovenhaven Post author

    Melissa: Thanks, and thanks for dropping by! I’m using a Nikon D40 πŸ™‚

    grace: Thanks, dearie πŸ™‚ I guess there are certain days you don’t really feel like indulging, huh? Hehe πŸ˜›

    oneordinaryday: I definitely agree; ooey gooey is the way to go! But I’ll take this over a chocolate cake anytime. But then perhaps that’s just the lazy baker in me talking πŸ˜›

  5. percicilan

    been too busy tis year that i lost my mojo to bake. but this looks easy enough. btw, will soya flour work with this recipe? cause i only have a packet of that in my larder this week and i dunno what to do with it.

  6. ovenhaven Post author

    Hmmm, I’ve never tried soy flour, let alone taste it, but I reckon it ought to work similar to wholewheat/wholemeal flour in bakes. So I’d recommend only substituting about 30% of the flour with soy flour to be safe, since the gluten level is different. Sorry I can’t be of much help here!

  7. Malin

    Sour cream makes everything better. They don’t know what they’re talking about! My best chocolate cake contains a lot of it! I even like a litte scoop of it beside my brownies/chocolate cake. Evens out the sweetness. You should try it! πŸ™‚

  8. ovenhaven Post author

    The Little Teochew: Thanks, dearie! I think Nigella revolves around the holy trinity of sour cream, 00 flour, and food processor! Haha πŸ˜› Oh, happy Chinese New Year, sweetie πŸ™‚

    Malin: I must say that I love sour cream in bakes, but not on its own! It reminds me of mayonnaise, which I don’t eat, so it’s only good when I don’t see it, i.e. in bakes πŸ˜› But I definitely agree; my best chocolate butter cake contains sour cream, and it’s best that way!

    felicia: Indeed, I say! Happy CNY, dearie πŸ™‚

  9. K

    Looks great! I know what I’m doing with my tub of sour cream this week (didn’t get used for Super Bowl Sunday)… thanks for sharing!

  10. ovenhaven Post author

    K: Not a problem! I made this using the leftover sour cream tub I had too πŸ˜›

    hannah: Oh my, what an honour coming from you! Thanks for dropping by. I’m a fan of fudgey brownies too, but this one’s really good for snacking πŸ˜›

  11. ovenhaven Post author

    cookie: Awww thanks! I don’t believe I’ve ever met a non-brownie lover, unless you’re not even a chocolate fan to begin with, of course πŸ˜› Hope you enjoyed your CNY!

    zurin: Moisty moisty! Haha, I like that πŸ˜› Seems like sour cream is quite a fave ingredient amongst many. It definitely makes the texture great, I agree πŸ™‚

  12. maya

    i like how you always manage to bake your brownies and cut them out into perfect squares without any crumbs in sight! i always line my pan with foil. -_-

  13. ovenhaven Post author

    Come to think of it, I’ve never lined my pan with foil unless the recipe calls for it, like the Alice Medrich’s cocoa brownies. But I guess it all depends on the texture of the brownies. Oh, and you can always pop it into the fridge/freezer to help with the neat slices. It’s a win-win situation, since it stops the baking-out-of-oven so you’ll get fudgy brownies, and the slicing will be neat too!


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