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View Poll Results: What do you think of Raisin Brownies?
I tried them, and DISLIKE them. 23 8.27%
I tried them, and LIKE them. 17 6.12%
I don't need to try them... they're terrible and JVN is blasphemous. 188 67.63%
I don't need to try them to know JVN is right. They sound amazing. 50 17.99%
Voters: 278. You may not vote on this poll

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Unread 01-28-2018, 11:32 PM
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Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

All,
I submit an appeal to the FRC community in the name of scientific inquiry. I submit to you, the theory of the "Raisin Brownie". I posted about this in my blog as part of our update from "Sheetmetal Christmas" weekend, and it has already started a significant debate within the Robowranglers (as it did in 2010 when I last mentioned my great unified theory of brownies).

I hypothesize: "Brownies with Raisins and Walnuts are better than ones without."

I submit as evidence: Over 3 decades of personal experimentation.

I ask you, the supposed intellectual elite of our program to join me in this great experiment.

There seems to exist an entire contingent of people who are so blinded by brownie-dogma that they will not even entertain a new dessert paradigm. They cannot open themselves up to this potential greatness.

This runs counter to the teachings of Woodie: who asks us to open ourselves up to the "truth" that can come from science, and reject the pre-conceived and self-reinforcing teachings of our existing tribes.

Try it yourself. Discuss your findings. Further rhetoric by me isn't necessary, the results will speak for themselves.

What is your experience?

-JVN

PS - I hope everyone is fighting through "the week 3 slump" - maybe some brownies (with raisins) will help everyone hit the ground running in week 4.

Last edited by JVN : 01-29-2018 at 07:42 AM. Reason: Fixed URL
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Unread 01-28-2018, 11:45 PM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

Its time to stop. Raisins, like pineapple, do not belong in modern society. I will not support these absurd claims, and ask other readers to do the same.
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Unread 01-28-2018, 11:49 PM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

The only thing raisins taste good in, is oatmeal cookies. That is all.
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Unread 01-28-2018, 11:52 PM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

Is there an option for "I like them as long as bonuses are not finalized"?
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Unread 01-28-2018, 11:59 PM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

I can get there on raisins... maybe. I've never tried that.

It's when you add the nuts in that I tend to disagree. I don't particularly like nuts (the edible kind--I'm just fine with the fasteners!).
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Unread 01-29-2018, 12:52 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

I'm the opposite - I'm alright with walnuts, but the raisins should stay off.

Though I will admit, I have been wrong before. Peanut butter on a burger or greek yogurt + peanut butter + fruit on pancakes are other odd combinations I like that I initially thought "there's no way that's good". But I just don't like raisins...
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Unread 01-29-2018, 01:00 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

Out of the people that have tried them in the poll above, 2/3 liked it...maybe that's telling us something?
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Unread 01-29-2018, 01:05 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

I was with you on the walnuts but noped out of there at the raisins. Raisins really are only good in oatmeal raisin cookies... and even that's debatable since I'm not sure if they are really good in them or merely "make the cookie taste better than the last time I tried to bake anything" [1]

Raisins are just the sad shell of a once great grape.



[1] For why I can't bake - go ask your average programmer to measure something. Then ask them to measure it again. Get two different answers? Yeah exactly. Not conducive to successful baking.
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Unread 01-29-2018, 01:35 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by MikLast View Post
Raisins, like pineapple, do not belong in modern society. I will not support these absurd claims, and ask other readers to do the same.
Pineapple is a fantastic fruit. It tastes great on its own, in a fruit salad, on pizza; the list goes on.
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Unread 01-29-2018, 01:43 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andrew Schreiber View Post
I was with you on the walnuts but noped out of there at the raisins. Raisins really are only good in oatmeal raisin cookies... and even that's debatable since I'm not sure if they are really good in them or merely "make the cookie taste better than the last time I tried to bake anything" [1]

Raisins are just the sad shell of a once great grape.



[1] For why I can't bake - go ask your average programmer to measure something. Then ask them to measure it again. Get two different answers? Yeah exactly. Not conducive to successful baking.
Sing it brother, I agree with you fully from the walnuts to the grapes.
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Unread 01-29-2018, 01:49 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by TravusCubington View Post
THESE PEOPLE ARE SO BLIND
From a different thread, but QFT.
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Unread 01-29-2018, 01:58 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

We have many avid blog readers on our team. Tuesday’s team dinner will come with a testing sample for desert...
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Unread 01-29-2018, 02:56 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

https://johnvneun.com/blog/2018/1/26...start-building

Fixed URL above for those that thought the blog was down.

I never know with these things if it's a meta-discussion on a transcendent topic or if it's just a plain dessert question. Quite frankly I'm always confused by the conversations about "cheesecaking" and "corndogs" and "non-dairy whipped topping"

Let me take the meta first. Brownies. Solid, satisfying, most people can make them from scratch with some effort. Slight variations in the basic materials used can create nuances in the brownie. They can become lighter but at they become more fragile. Heavier, thicker, more chewy. Many people get locked on to one particular brownie style. But in all cases, making a brownie and having it enjoyed by others is a great thing.

Pre-packaged or COTS brownies for beginners are also a source of delight. It's not "I went to Shop-right and bought brownies" but becomes "I made these" is their mantra. And from something as simple as making COTS brownies, can lead to more exploration. This exploration can be as simple as buying other COTS baked goods kits. Some of these are more complex and require additional assembly techniques (add egg/water/oil for some cakes) to learning some more advanced skills (pie pan, pre-made pie sheets (or rolling out pre made dough, filling, etc.) So the world of COTS brownies can lead to other dessert adventures.

Some people find enjoyment in taking standard COTS bakery items and (for a lack of a better term) Frankenstein them into something else. See the Cake Mix Doctor Recipies. To stay on the brownie thread, note that there is a CAD (Cooking assorted Desserts) / assembly diagram for brownies that have been cheesecaked

For most people, COTS or COTS modified scratches their itch. They are happy with their baking skills and will never be an embarrassment at events like pot-luck dinners or picnics.

Starting out this way can lead in multiple directions. The most complex of these is starting from a simple concepts and building on them (also known as scratch baking). Many prior teams of bakers have created great brownie recipes and have posted them in blogs and in paper made reference devices Brownie Cookbook. Sometimes the CAD is super complete so that rookie bakers can create their own. Sometimes it's a little vague (see The GBBO and search for Technical Challenge

Another direction is to take something simple that works, like brownies and add ingredients until you've made something special that you like and in some cases making it your signature dish. JVN alludes to this with his post. Brownies with a chocolate coating (since all Robowrangler parts come with black powder coating) with walnuts and raisins. Little surprise nuggets that when you get to them are "Ah-ha moments" / "interesting, I wouldn't have thought of that". Mother-VN has done this, people to this day talk about them and people that have seen/eaten them remark about them.

One thing to remember is that adding lots of extra ingredients may or not work out. I'd like to think that Mother-VN subscribes to "Perfection is Achieved Not When There Is Nothing More to Add, But When There Is Nothing Left to Take Away". Meaning that she iterated the basic brownie recipe, added things one at a time until she said "umm too much" and took away that last item (which is why there is no pineapple). Cooks that can't control the "add things in" process and lack the ability to edit create things like "Holiday Fruit Cake".

Of course, once you start making things your own, there ends up being factions that will not agree (see the ever raging "Cake vs. Pie vs. Cookie battles). You can't change the factions, you just need to remember that you like your dessert, it satisfies me and makes me happy.

In summary: Make something, COTS based, scratch based; make changes if you want (but don't get carried away) and share it with your friends. Take advice from others, but if it's a huge change, consider if they are making your dessert better.

Oh and Butter Tarts (nod to Ontario bakers here) are the best.
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Last edited by Foster : 01-29-2018 at 04:26 AM. Reason: Added longer comment
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Unread 01-29-2018, 05:11 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

If you are not buying the Ghirardelli Brownie mix in bulk from Costco, you're not making brownies in the best possible way and I weep for you.
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Unread 01-29-2018, 07:13 AM
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Re: Brownie Recipes - The Great(est) Debate

As with most chemistry (baking), the results hinge upon timing. If the grapes were dried after the brownie mix was acquired, then that's no good at all. These brownies are only tasty if the raisins are all-purpose, previously prepared and boxed for multiple possible uses. When raisins are dried and sold to a brownie maker specifically for that bit of bakery, the brownies will not be as sweet*.
Raisins need time to cure.

It should also be noted that the non-brownie-eaters often have the most visceral opinions about what constitutes a good brownie for others to eat.

Personally, I like my brownies topped with a big serving of ice cream. And I have been known to enjoy both raisins and chopped nuts in my ice cream...sometimes.

*it should be noted that home-dried raisins don't abide by these rules. They may be dried at any time in the brownie-making process, without affecting the quality of the brownies. Homemade raisins are iterative.
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Last edited by Taylor : 01-29-2018 at 07:33 AM.
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