Now that the search box functionality is working again, if you were to search for "brownies" on my blog, that would probably render you the most prolific search results. The majority of what I make seem to be brownies. Can't help it. Brownies are so easy to make and I love baking and eating them. And the last recipe only made an 8" pan and I needed more than that to take to my nieces' graduation party. So I looked for another brownie recipe to try.
You might have heard of Michael Recchiuti Chocolates. He has a little store at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, amongst other places. He came and spoke at my class graduation in Baking & Pastry Arts at the Culinary Institute of America in St Helena. One of my classmates mentioned he was famous for his homemade marshmallows. Not being a fan of marshmallows, I haven't ever tried them but that didn't stop me from acquiring his cookbook shortly thereafter.
This brownie recipe is interesting in that it has you melt half the unsweetened chocolate into the batter and then cut up the other half into chunks and basically add them to the brownie batter as you would chocolate chips. I have to admit my skepticism with that plan. I've tried unsweetened chocolate before and even mistakenly used them once as chips in a cookie recipe many years ago when I was a fledgling baker and didn't know any better. Yuck. It's bitter and there's no good mouthfeel to it at all, not even with the high end unsweetened chocolate. So I skipped that part of the directions and instead, added my favorite Nutella crunch topping to dress up these brownies. Overall, these were pretty good. The brownies themselves baked to a nice thickness and they were fudgy-moist, all you can ever ask for from a good brownie. Use a high-quality unsweetened chocolate and you won't be sorry. These went over pretty well at the graduation party yesterday.
5 ounces 100% unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped, divided into halves
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) unsalted butter with 92% butterfat, cut into 1-inch pieces
2/3 cup (3 ½ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
3 (6 ounces) extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract, preferably Madagascar Bourbon
1 ¼ cups (9 ounces) granulated cane sugar
1. Preheat the oven to 325⁰F. Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and liberally coat the paper and the pan sides with flavorless vegetable oil.
2. Put 2 ½ ounces of the chocolate and the butter in a medium stainless-steel bowl and set over a pot of simmering water. Heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter melt and are fully combined and the mixture is smooth. Lift the bowl from the pot. Set aside.
3. Sift the flour and salt together into a bowl. In another bowl, combine the eggs and vanilla extract and whisk together by hand until blended. Whisk in the sugar.
4. Whisk the egg mixture into the chocolate. Add the flour and the remaining 2 ½ ounces chocolate to the batter and, using a rubber spatula, mix well.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Spread it evenly with a small offset spatula.
6. Bake on the middle shelf of the oven until the top gives slightly to the touch and a skewer inserted into the center of the brownie comes out with some batter clinging to it, about 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack, then cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold.
7. Run a table knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the sides of the brownie, and then slide the brownie, still on the paper, onto a work surface. Using a ruler to guide you and a sharp knife, cut into sixteen 2-inch squares. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.