Sunday, February 20, 2011

HCB - Barcelona Brownie Bars

I have been meaning to make these brownies for so long. When this week's "Free Choice" came around for the Heavenly Cake Bakers, I set my mind on making the Barcelona Brownie Bars in my mini brioche molds, and I did.

Unlike any other brownie recipes I've made, this recipe calls for adding a little bit of cream cheese to the batter. This adds both flavor and moisture. Interesting, huh? That's what I thought anyway. I happened to have a 1 oz piece of leftover cream cheese in the fridge, so I decide to make half the recipe (yes, I'm lazy!) :o)

The recipe calls for pecans so I deliberated on whether to use toasted almonds instead, or leave the nuts out completely. I had toasted whole almonds on hand so I chopped them by hand very coarsely (aka each nut is chopped into 3 pieces - I know, I'm weird!). To make things simple, I didn't make the ganache plugs. Instead, I decorated the top of each brownie with 3 pieces of sliced almonds, to give you a hint of what's inside :o)

The batter came together easily. Just melt butter and chocolate (I used a 50% European chocolate). Combine with sugar and unsweetened cocoa.

Add the flour (I used bread flour) and salt. Mix well and then fold in the nuts.

I followed Rose's suggestion of piping the batter into the molds. Since my molds were smaller than the suggested silicone molds, I filled them with 30 grams of batter. Half a recipe yielded about 11 brownies.

Into the oven they go, for about 15 minutes.

This is what these beauties look like on the inside:

Look at that chocolaty goodness! Bon appetit!

Final thoughts/tips:
  • I really liked these brownies. When I took them out of the oven, they smelled so good. It's a good thing I was busy making bread otherwise I would have broken my "eat one" rule and eaten all of them. The aroma from the chocolate perfumed my entire kitchen. And every once in a while I could smell a coffee aroma too even though I didn't add any to it. I'm thinking that's from the chocolate and the roasting process of the cacao beans.
  • When I took my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised by the texture. It was dense, moist, a little fudgy and velvety smooth. It actually reminded me of a truffle. The crunch from the toasted almonds was a very nice contrast. The flavor was amazing. It had a great dark chocolate flavor and it wasn't not too sweet (which is why I think hubby won't like them too much - he hasn't tried them yet).
  • Recap of my changes: used unbleached "Better for Bread" flour instead of unbleached AP flour. Substituted almonds for pecans. Omitted the ganache plugs.
  • I have frozen the rest of the brownies. They wouldn't take too long to thaw out and would be great for when you have a chocolate craving. I wish I hadn't waited this long to make these :o)


  1. That final hot of what they look inside has me drooling. These look amazing.

  2. Hanaâ, your brownies look amazingly delicious! Love the brioche molds your used - they look to be the perfect size! I like desserts that aren't "too sweet". Beautifully done!

  3. What darling little pans! The almonds set them off perfectly. I remember liking these brownies.

  4. Oh man, I have not done my free choice yet, but I was going to do the coconut seduction cake... but after reading this, you are making me think twice about my choice....

  5. Love that you used brioche molds -- so cute. Interesting with the cream cheese.

  6. @Eliana: thanks for stopping by. I'm glad you liked these. They were super quick to make. Give them a try!

    @Nina: thank you so much, Nina. They are pretty rich so this mini size is the perfect size.

    @Vicki: I really liked the almonds in the brownies, both texture and flavor.

    @Monica: if you're tight on time, definitely try these. They're quick to make and very tasty.

    @Judy: thanks Judy. The mini brioche molds worked really well. Thanks for stopping by!

  7. i think your brownies look great in the mini brioche molds, plus the almonds on top look so lovely. i still need to make these! i am glad they are easy to make and just as good without the ganache.

  8. Oh my gosh! Those look really great!!

  9. @ECL: thank you. Yes, they are very easy to make, and I didn't miss the ganache plugs at all.

    @Chelly: thank you very much :o)

  10. So many great tips and a killer brownie recipe...I knew I should have stopped by a few days ago! :-) The texture sounds ideal so I'm going to have to make these ISA.

  11. These brownies look so cute! I will try it next time with some cheese it sounds like it would make them moist and richer tasting!

  12. These dessert delights were mmmmm-yummy! They look beautiful, they remind me of the "gateau soiree" that we had when we were visiting France. The size is just perfect for just "a bite of chocolata" when we need it! They were so smooth and very chocolatey (I love intense chocolate flavor) and the toasted almonds just perfectly complemented them. BRAVO Hanaa!! I will try making them soon:)


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