Sunday, October 6, 2013

Frosted Fudge Brownies

Frosted Fudge Brownies - made September 20, 2013 from
When a brownie turns out the way I want, I love taking pictures of it - can you tell? I have a slight obsession fixation with trying to get people to bake brownies properly so I want to show what I think a "properly baked" brownie looks like.  I don't know why but nothing makes me cringe more than a dry brownie.  Except maybe a dry brownie made from a box mix but don't even get me started on that or this post will never end.  My tendency to underbake things doesn't work with cakes or cupcakes but it serves me well when it comes to brownies and cookies.
The most common comment I get from people after they've tried one of my brownies is "how do you get it so moist???" like they've never had a moist brownie before.  I can usually gauge by the level of surprise in their voice how much of an overbaker they are. Overbakers think the toothpick test means the toothpick has to emerge "clean".  I always advocate to bake the brownie only until the toothpick poked in the middle comes out with moist crumbs, not raw batter, and in most cases, not clean.  Clean is okay if the corners are that way but the middle yields moist crumbs on the toothpick.  If you bake it until the toothpick comes out clean in the corner, edges and middle, chances are you've overbaked the brownie.
Why?  Because chocolate sets when it cools.  Those moist crumbs you see on the toothpick from the middle might look too raw to you while the brownie is hot in the oven and, if you take it out and try a piece then, it might be too mushy and gooey.  Actually, it probably will be more like thick hot fudge than a brownie.  But once that brownie cools, you get moist, fudgy brownie bliss. I've done this with every brownie recipe I've tried and the only ones that have failed are the ones I've inadvertently overbaked.  Okay, there might have been some I've underbaked too much but the great thing about underbaking is you can always pop it back into the oven and bake it a few minutes longer to rectify the mistake.  But you can't unbake an overbaked brownie.

This recipe is from Godiva so of course they list their brand of chocolate but this worked perfectly fine with Valrhona that I bought at Trader Joe's. I only had a sliver for the taste test because I was baking this for Zoe's bake sale but it seemed like a good standard fudgy brownie.
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1/2 cup lightly packed light brown sugar
5 bars (1.5 ounces each) GODIVA Dark Chocolate, chopped (I used Valrhona)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 8-inch square baking pan with aluminum foil so that foil extends 2 inches beyond two opposite sides of pan. Lightly butter bottom and sides of foil-lined pan.
  2. In medium saucepan, combine butter pieces, brown sugar and chocolate. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until butter and chocolate melt and mixture is smooth. Transfer to medium bowl.
  3. With wooden spoon, stir in granulated sugar. Stir in eggs, one at a time, until there is no trace of yolk. Mix in vanilla extract. Add flour and salt and mix vigorously until mixture is shiny and smooth. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with rubber spatula
  4. Bake brownies for 35-40 minutes or until cake tester inserted into center comes out slightly moist. Do not overbake. Place pan on wire rack and let cool for 45 minutes. Using two ends of foil as handles, lift brownies out of pan. Invert onto cooling rack and peel off foil. Let cool completely (brownies will be frosted on smooth side). 
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1.5 ounces dark chocolate
1.5 ounces milk chocolate
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
pinch of salt
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  1. Place butter and chocolate in medium saucepan. Heat over very low heat, stirring constantly, until butter and chocolate melt and mixture is smooth. Transfer to bowl of electric mixer. On low speed, add half of confectioners' sugar, salt, then half of heavy cream. Blend in remaining confectioners' sugar and remaining heavy cream. Beat in vanilla extract. Beat frosting on medium speed for 30 seconds or until smooth and shiny. 
  2. Spread frosting over uncut brownies, smoothing the top.  Garnish with nuts, toffee or M&Ms as desired.  Cut into 9 squares and serve at room temperature.

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