Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Absolutely Off the Hook Brownies
I remember the first few times I made brownies. I must have been 10 or 11 years old and I was using a box brownie mix from the grocery store. I'd already been regularly baking cakes so I felt pretty confident that I would be able to do this without a problem. I followed the box directions to mix up the batter and put it into the oven as stated on the box. Then, I checked the brownies to see if they were done at the given time. I thought it made perfect sense to test them using a toothpick as I had done for cakes. Well, the toothpick didn't come out clean when inserted into the brownies. So, I continued baking them until the toothpick finally came out clean.
If you've had any experience with brownies, you might know how they turned out. After they cooled down, those brownies could have been used as hockey pucks! Yes, that's how hard they were... I quickly learned that it's more about the baking time and not necessarily about how done they look.
On top of all this comes the eternal debate of what type of brownies you like. Fudgy or cake-like? Semisweet or dark? With nuts or without? Do you like any additional flavorings? It goes on and on.
Well, these brownies are from a tried and true recipe from the King Arthur Flour website. They are fudgy, but not gooey. They are not quite cake-like, but form a nice compromise. There's also a nice kick from some added espresso powder. No, they don't really taste like coffee, but the coffee actually intensifies the chocolate flavor. As for nuts? Not this time for me. Chocolate chips? Any way to add more chocolate is always great for me!
In a nutshell, these brownies are rich and chocolaty enough to satisfy the die-hard chocoholic. At the same time, it's hard to restrain yourself from eating just one! If you're fortunate enough to have leftovers, they actually get even better after a day or 2!
Unsalted butter - 1/2 cup (1 stick)
Sugar - 3/4 cup (for mildly sweet)
Eggs - 2
Dutch process cocoa powder - 1/2 cup + 2 tbsp
Salt - 1/2 tsp
Baking powder - 1/2 tsp
Espresso powder - 1/2 tsp (or coffee powder 1 tsp)
Vanilla extract - 2 tsp
All purpose flour - 3/4 cup
Chocolate chips (semisweet or bittersweet) - 1 cup
1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8 x 8 pan or line it with parchment paper that's lightly greased. I find it easiest to cut the parchment so that it sits flat on the bottom, but has long sides that extend beyond the height of the pan. This way, you can use the parchment to lift the brownies out.
2. Place the butter in a microwave safe medium bowl and melt in the microwave.
3. Now, add the sugar and mix into the butter. Place in the microwave and heat it for about 15 seconds to slightly melt the sugar. Whisk the mixture together well.
4. At this point, add in the salt, espresso powder, baking powder, cocoa powder and eggs. Whisk until combined.
5. Lastly, add the flour and chocolate chips. Mix until fairly well combined. Pour into prepared baking pan.
6. Bake at 350 F for 25 to 30 minutes until the edges of the brownies pull slightly from the pan. Insert a toothpick and you should get just a few moist crumbs remaining on the toothpick.
7. Now, place the pan on a cooling rack. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (if you have the parchment paper lined as above stated) and then remove from the pan. Otherwise, cool completely in the pan. Once fully cooled (by either method), cut into pieces and enjoy!
The second picture is off to the June edition of CLICK at the Jugalbandi blog, where the theme is "stacks." Click here for more information.