Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ultimate Chocolate Brownies

Ultimate Chocolate Brownies - made January 22, 2010 from The Craft of Baking by Karen DeMosca and Mindy Fox

One of my favorite bumper sticker-type sayings is "I'd give up chocolate but I'm no quitter." Darn right. Quitting is for the weak :). Or those trying to lose weight and eat healthier. Aka people I should emulate but don't. I got this baking book from my friend Terri for Christmas and, as always, I had to try out the brownie recipe in it.

This recipe had relatively little chocolate compared to the amount of butter so I wondered how chocolatey it actually would be. The directions said to bake it for only 20 minutes but at 20 minutes, there was still raw batter on the toothpick I inserted close to the center so I left it in for a total of 30 minutes. You can tell from the picture that it's still pretty fudgy. This is a straightforward, basic fudgy brownie. After the chocolate and butter have melted, mixing it up took less time than for the oven to preheat. I made this Friday before work and had it out of the oven and cooling before I even took my 8 am conference call. How's that for quick and efficient? If you're ever pressed for time and want to make a quick batch of brownies, this one's pretty good to make.

My friend Kendra asked if I had a brownie recipe made with cocoa and I thought I did but in checking around, most of them are either made with unsweetened or semisweet chocolate and some also added cocoa and some didn't but I don't have a recipe I use regularly that's just cocoa. I think it's because most of those recipes tend to be for cakey brownies while I prefer mine dense and fudgy. As I've said before, if I wanted cakey brownies, I'd make a chocolate cake. However, if you're ever inclined to do a substition, for every 1 ounce of unsweetened chocolate that a recipe calls for, you can substitute 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of shortening. I've never tried it since I'm never without unsweetened chocolate (seriously.....never) but that's what my baking books say.

12 tablespoons (1 ½ sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for the pan
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 ½ cups sugar
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 heaping cup semisweet chocolate chip

1. Preheat the oven to 375˚F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan and line the bottom with parchment.
2. Bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Put the butter and the unsweetened chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over (but not touching) the simmering water. Stir the mixture frequently with a rubber spatula until it is completely melted and combined. Remove the pan from the heat but keep the bowl over the water to keep the mixture warm.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla. In another bowl, sift together the flour and salt. Pour the warm chocolate mixture over the egg mixture and whisk together. With a rubber spatula, quickly fold in the flour mixture. Fold in the chocolate chips and immediately pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan, spreading it evenly.
4. Bake for 10 minutes. Then rotate the pan and bake until the brownies are shiny and cracked on top, 10 minutes more. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let it cool completely. Then cut into 1 ½-inch squares.
5. Keep the brownies at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 3 days or frozen, well wrapped, for up to 1 month.

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