I started trying to write this up in the style of a science experiment report but I got a bit confused by which bits should go in which section, and the fact I was meant to write in the third person etc. But don’t be fooled – just because this is not written up in Official Science Format, it is still Very Important. This is probably the most important experiment I have ever undertaken. Some would argue that it is the most important experiment ever undertaken, full stop. I think they are probably wrong, but we are all entitled to our opinions.
So, the aim of this Experiment was to find The Best Chocolate Brownie Recipe. An important and challenging task, but one which somebody must be willing to undertake. But where to begin? There are so many brownie recipes out there, and so many claiming to be The Best. Well, I started off by asking friends who were willing to share their ‘Best Ever’ brownie recipes with me to do so. I was inundated with recipes, as mentioned in previous posts. After a brief detour via some healthier and ‘free from’ brownies, I collated all the recipes I had received and picked out 6 with which to make a start. I tried to include recipes which included a range of ingredients and cooking techniques, but stuck to the basic ‘chocolate brownie’ theme. (I will do a later experiment on exciting additions and slants on chocolate brownies, but for this experiment the only additions consisted of chocolate chips, chocolate chunks and Minstrels.)
I made myself a hand-drawn spreadsheet and set off to the supermarket to buy a LOT of ingredients. Over the next couple of days I then whipped up 6 different batches of brownies, each following one of the different recipes. I had originally planned for 5 batches, including the likes of Nigella, Ros and Heidi (you might not know Ros or Heidi, but they are great), when I realised that I had not included my hero Mary Berry! Not one of my friends had suggested her brownie recipe, but I was convinced she must have one. I checked it out on line and sure enough there it was, along with claims to be very easy to make. So I ran to the shop (I did actually run, in my running clothes and everything) to buy the missing chocolate chips, and added dear Mary to the equation.
I tried my very best to follow recipes and instructions as clearly as I could, to produce as close to the best outcome as possible. However, I was making all but one of the recipes for the first time, so it was inevitable that they wouldn’t come out as perfectly as if Nigella or Mary were making them (that’s the only reason, of course.) I also stuck closely to the ingredients list – if they demanded butter or good quality chocolate that was what they got – no stork (which my friend Ros tells me nobody else has used since the 1970s! This can’t be true!?) or value chocolate for them. (Incidentally, watch out for another upcoming experiment and post about baking with value verses good quality chocolate etc.)
I took notes and photos during the baking process, particularly about the time taken, faff factor and the amount of washing up produced. Once all the batches were done, I packed them up, numbered them and headed off with score sheets to my willing participants. They knew nothing about the differences between each batch, only that they were all from different recipes. The instructions were simple – try as many different brownies as you like and for each one complete the score sheet with marks out of 10 for appearance, texture, flavour and moreishness (is that a word? It is now). There was also a column for comments. I know, if I were being Properly Scientific I would have made everyone try all of them. However, I didn’t want to force that on people. (And in reality I think most people tried them all anyway.)
So, the experiment has been conducted, and now it is time to collate the results, produces some graphs (of course) and, ultimately, find some winners. I’ll get that done and posted as soon as I can, but for now I need to make some dinner.