Saturday, February 6, 2010
Dark Victory Brownies
Dark Victory Brownies - made February 6, 2010 from The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle
It's been a tough week. If ever I needed baking therapy, now is the time. I had all sorts of baking plans lined up this weekend just to get myself back on an even keel. But even I didn't expect to wake up at 2:30 am this morning and not be able to fall back asleep. I listened to the rain pounding on my roof for awhile (try 2 hours) then when it tapered off, I thought the silence would induce me back to slumber. By 5 am, I had stopped kidding myself and was in the kitchen pulling out butter and chocolate to begin my day.
This is from another awesome baking book called The Good Cookie. Tish Boyle was the editor for Chocolatier magazine (the only one I read cover to cover) and has a ton of great recipes in her books. I'd made this one before and chose to make it again because I had some sour cream I wanted to use up before next weekend. It's a pretty straightforward, "plain" brownie but I melted some caramels with whipping cream and layered that in the middle of the brownie. You can choose to do that or leave it plain - either way works. This picture is from a previous time I had made the brownie so don't look for the caramel in this one. This brownie takes add-ins pretty well and in the past I've added in chopped up candy bars, M&Ms, caramel, etc. It's easy to make, rich and fudgy - everything you could want in a brownie.
One time I gave this recipe to someone who wanted an easy brownie recipe but she said it didn't turn out very well. On quizzing her, I found out she used the pre-melted Baker's chocolate from the grocery store and I think Hershey's cocoa. Plus she might've baked it too long. Remember, you don't want the toothpick to come out clean - by then, it's too late and the brownie is overbaked. I use Valrhona, Lindt or Trader Joe's bittersweet chocolate (the solid kind that you melt yourself) and Pernigotti cocoa. Quality of ingredients really does make a difference.
Oh and true confession time. I accidentally forgot to put in the vanilla extract in this batch. I had the teaspoon out and the vanilla out so I don't know what I was thinking (or not thinking). I blame it on lack of sleep. But I just ate a taste test piece and the brownie was still okay without it. Regardless, don't do what I did though and please don't forget the vanilla.
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate
14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder, sifted
1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 cup pecans, coarsely chopped (optional)
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil so that the foil extends 2 inches beyond 2 opposite sides of the pan. Grease the foil.
2. In the top of a double boiler over barely simmering water, heat the bittersweet chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally until melted and smooth. Transfer to a medium bowl.
3. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the cocoa powder and sugar until well blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Beat in the sour cream and vanilla extract. Add the flour and salt and mix just until blended. Stir in the pecans.
4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs clinging to it. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely.
5. Using the foil as handles, lift the brownies out of the pan. Cut the brownies into 16 squares.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days or refrigerate for up to 2 weeks or freeze up to a month.