Sunday, March 4, 2012

So easy it feels like you're cheating


As a teacher, cheating is one of my biggest pet peeves. I've lost track of the number of times I've had a student copy homework right in front of me and then get mad when I take the paper and give him or her a zero.

Back in the summer, I was browsing at Williams-Sonoma and saw a new display of a cookie and brownie mixes from the Baked bakery in Brooklyn. Normally, I'm not one to buy mixes for baked goods -- it's just as bad a cheating on homework, in my opinion.

But this one box really caught my eye. It wasn't just a cookie. It wasn't just a brownie. It was a Brookster, a combination of the two. Since it was right after my birthday and I had a gift certificate burning in my wallet, I decided to spend the $16 and give it a try.
They were amazing. So good, in fact, that my husband's work friends have requested them again and again after I sent a batch with him to school one day.

Not only are Brooksters (Brookies, for short) good, they are incredibly easy to bake -- so easy it feels like you're cheating. All of the dry ingredients are portioned out in the box. The only think you have to add is butter, an egg, and an egg white.
The first step is to make the chocolate chip cookie mix. I was pleasantly surprised to learn that the mix contains Callebaut chocolate chips. No cheap chocolate here!
You then set the dough in the refrigerator for about an hour to harden up a bit. In the meantime, mix you up the brownie batter.
Melt the butter and chocolate chips in the microwave (or on the stove). Then add the rest of the flour mix and stir.
The brownie mix gets scooped into your pan first. I bought one of the fancy Brookster pans at Williams-Sonoma, but a muffin tin works too. I used a small cookie scoop to fill the tin, about a heaping tablespoon. The brownie batter also needs to firm up a bit, so it too goes into the refrigerator for about an hour.
Once chilled, you'll take the cookie dough out of the refrigerator and scoop it into tablespoon-sized balls. In the palm of your hands, flatten the ball into a circle. The cookie dough then goes on top of the brownie mix.
I learned the first time I made these to make sure you can still see the brownie mix around the cookie patty. This way they bake up nice and pretty.

Using the Brookster pan (which appears to be a mini pie or tart pan with six cavities), I managed to get a dozen Brookies. Using a muffin tin, I yielded between 18-20 Brookies.
The smaller ones are from a muffin tin, but are still a pretty good sized treat.

Martha Stewart had the guys who created the Brookster on her show awhile ago and she lists the recipe on her site. I've been meaning to try the recipe from scratch, but the box mix is really just so easy. And they come out perfect every time.

My only criticism of the mix is that at $16, it's not cheap. I guess if you factor in the cost of ingredients (the good chocolate alone jacks up the price) and the time it takes to measure everything out, it's really not that bad of a deal.

Enjoy! More non-cheating baking to come!