Sunday, April 20, 2014

Sweet Anna's Fudgy Brownies

Fudgy Brownies - made April 11, 2014 from Sweet Anna's
I was doing a care package for one of my nieces and I keep various brownie recipes pinned on my pinboard for just such an occasion. I also wanted a brownie recipe that used cocoa since I was going to test out my new can of Tcho cocoa powder.
So far I'd been enjoying the Tcho chocolate products I'd bought for baking; they seemed to be good quality and I like that they're focused on sustainable chocolate sourcing. I've tried their baking chocolate, both milk and semisweet and, for this recipe, I broke open their cocoa powder. I judge cocoa powder by the darkness of the powder. The darker the powder, the more chocolate flavor I associate with it. The lighter, the more processing and less flavor. Sadly, I was disappointed that Tcho's cocoa powder was as light as Hershey's and Trader Joe's. I've been spoiled by Pernigotti cocoa which is a luscious dark cocoa powder packed with tremendous chocolate flavor. It's hard for me to bake without it.
Pernigotti and Tcho cocoa powders
You can see what I mean by the picture above. The darker cocoa is the Pernigotti and the lighter is the Tcho. There's a similar contrast between Pernigotti and almost all of the other cocoas I've tried: Hershey's, Trader Joe's, Ghirardelli, even Scharffenberger. For this brownie, I decided to "cut" the Tcho and Pernigotti cocoa powders together: 1/4 cup Tcho and 1/2 cup Pernigotti to try and make the best of both worlds. Not to mention stretch out my Williams-Sonoma-expensive Pernigotti a little further. I do find when a recipe calls for 3/4 cup of cocoa powder, using all Pernigotti makes it a little too dark chocolate for me so tempering it with a lighter cocoa helps balance it out.
This was a good brownie, nicely chocolaty. It was definitely fudgy although it has a softer texture than a more dense brownie has. I think that's due to the relatively higher proportion of liquid to dry ingredients, considering the butter is melted rather than creamed into the batter and water is also added. It was also a little more fragile than some of my sturdier brownie recipes. Not a deal breaker but you should handle with care, especially if you're sending through the mail like I was.
3/4 cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
2/3 cup butter, melted and divided (cut the butter first into 1/3 cup + 1/3 cup then melt separately)
1/2 cup boiling water
2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil, spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the cocoa and baking soda. Stir in 1/3 cup melted butter until smooth. Stir in the boiling water until the mixture is smooth and thick.
  3. Stir in the sugar and eggs with the remaining 1/3 cup melted butter. Stir in the vanilla and salt until just smooth.
  4. Add flour and chocolate chips and stir until just combined.
  5. Spread the batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with moist crumbs. Do not overbake. Cool completely.

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