Gather up your ingredients, we’re going in!
Did someone say Cherry Bourbon? Pretty sure I heard that right and haven’t stopped dreaming of it since Meg planted the seed in my Brownie-obsessed brain.
You might be surprised to know that most new flavor development begins in my home kitchen, baked in the same size tray you use in your kitchen. There are certain baking staples I keep in my home pantry at all times: unsweetened Callebaut chocolate, King Arthur flour, sugar and French cocoa powder. The need to bake can strike at any moment – you must be ready!
Cherry Bourbon presents a welcome challenge when it comes to shopping for ingredients that meet the Vermont Brownie criteria. The hunt was on for Maraschino cherries made without preservatives and artificial colors or flavors. We always start in Vermont, and it is a pleasure to source ingredients locally, where specialty food stores abound.
Once I’ve gathered up my ingredients it’s time to bust out the trusty Kitchen Aid mixer (yellow, in case you were wondering) I got for my wedding back in 2009. Talk about a work horse! There’s no way Kitchen Aid would condone the sheer volume of Brownie batter I’ve put that machine through. And yet, it persists, and I love it all the more for all the work it has done.
These days, I can make the base for all Brownie recipes in my sleep, but the inclusions - all the yummy extras - have to be added in a way that will translate to larger brownie production while maintaining our great, natural flavor.
Baking in small trays is key so I can tweak (and tweak and tweak) until the new flavor and Brownie consistency is just where I want it to be. Once in a while I’ll get it right on the first try, but the majority of the time, it takes several trays. Only then are the Brownie samples ready to be brought to the office where I get to surprise Meg and my other co-workers with a taste test.
Surprising people with their dream Brownie flavor never gets old, which is one of the many reasons I love my job.
Next blog: the big testing phase in the Brownie kitchen!