Sunday, February 7, 2010

Essence of Chocolate Squares

Essence of Chocolate Squares - made February 7, 2010 from Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson

I posted on my friend Kendra's blog ( that Baking by Flavor was one of my favorite baking books. This recipe is only one of the reasons why. Stare at that picture for a second. See how moist the brownie part looks? Then topped with luscious fudge frosting. Not only that but the frosting is almost of equal height as the brownie! How could that not completely seduce you into a chocolate coma? This is a two-brownie recipe - meaning with most brownies I make, no matter how well they turn out, I'm fine having one piece and giving the rest away. With this one, I'm likely to eat 2 pieces before letting the rest go.

The only drawback is these don't make good care package brownies because the frosting gets all mashed up. But no matter - you should make it yourself :). Once you take the brownies out of the oven, make the frosting and spread it over the warm brownie. You don't want to frost it like you do a regular cake because the frosting will start to melt (that's the point). Instead, drop it in large dollops over the brownie and cover the top quickly. There's plenty of frosting for cover. Then let it sit. Some of the butter might separate out because the frosting will get too warm over the cake. That's okay. Blot it with a paper towel and let it cool completely. Then workout like a fiend before you consume a piece. This brownie isn't for the faint of heart or the calorie conscious.

1 ¼ cups unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons unsweetened, alkalized cocoa
¼ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ pound (16 tablespoons or 2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
4 large eggs
2 cups vanilla-scented granulated sugar (or use regular granulated sugar - vanilla scented is if you have a piece of vanilla bean and let it steep in the sugar canister for a few days)
1 ½ teaspoons intensified vanilla extract

Dense chocolate frosting for topping the fudge chocolate layer
3 ¾ cups plus 2 tablespoons unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ pound (8 tablespoons or 1 stick) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
2 ounces (2 squares) unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid.
¼ cup milk
2 tablespoon (light) table cream
1 teaspoon intensified vanilla extract

9 x 9 x 2” baking pan

1. Preheat the oven to 325˚F. Film the inside of the baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
2. Sift the all-purpose flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt onto a sheet of waxed paper.
3. Whisk the melted butter and melted unsweetened chocolate in a medium-size mixing bowl until thoroughly combined.
4. Whisk the eggs in a large mixing bowl to blend well, about 1 minute, then add the vanilla-scented granulated sugar and whisk slowly for 1 minute, or until just combined. Whisk in the tepid melted chocolate-butter mixture. Blend in the vanilla extract. Sift over the dry ingredients and mix until all particles of flour are absorbed into the batter, using a whisk, wooden spoon or flat wooden paddle.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth over the top with a rubber spatula.
6. Bake the cake layer for 35 to 37 minutes or until just set. Cool the cake layer in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes while you make the frosting.
7. Place the confectioners’ sugar and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk the melted butter and melted unsweetened chocolate in a small mixing bowl until thoroughly combined. Add the milk, light cream, and vanilla extract. Using an electric hand mixer, beat the frosting on moderately low speed until creamy and completely combined. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl two to three times to keep the frosting even-textured. Do not beat the frosting on high speed or it will become airy and fluffy instead of creamy and dense.
8. Immediately and carefully, place large dollops of the frosting evenly over the surface of the hot bar cookie base and spread it, using a flexible offset spatula. Spread it smoothly and lightly, to keep the bar cookie layer intact.
9. Let the sweet cool in the pan on a rack for 3 to 4 hours, or until cooled and completely set. The cooling time is especially important in hot, humid or damp weather. Cut the cake into four quarters, then cut each quarter into four squares, using a small, sharp knife. Remove the chocolate squares from the baking pan, using a small, metal offset spatula.

Freshly baked, the squares keep for 4 to 5 days.

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