Saturday, June 20, 2015

Top Favorite: Essence of Chocolate Squares

Essence of Chocolate Squares - made multiple times from Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson
I’ve posted about this brownie before and called it the brownie version of Texas Fudge Cake because you make the frosting while the brownie is baking, pour it warm over the hot brownie and let it set, similar to the cake. It’s more rich than its cake brethren though but worth every single freaking calorie. I like to make this when I just need a shot of chocolate and mainlining it isn’t possible. This comes close.

The key to this is (of course) underbaking it or at least baking it until it’s just barely done. Meaning the toothpick test near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs but not raw batter and the corners come out clean. If the middle comes out clean too, yank it out of the oven NOW. 
This also freezes really well but with the warm summer temps upon us, I don’t recommend it for care packages through the mail unless you want a melted frosting mess to greet your recipient upon arrival. Save this for a winter care package instead.
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 granulated sugar
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. Line a 9 x 9" baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray 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 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking pan. Smooth over the top with a rubber spatula. 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. Frosting: 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. 
  8. 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. 
  9. 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. 
  10. Let the sweet cool in the pan on a rack for 3 to 4 hours, or until cooled and completely set.  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.

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