Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Dark Shadows

Dark Shadows - made November 6, 2016 from Baking Style by Lisa Yockelson
After Halloween, I always make brownies. Not that I need an excuse to make brownies but the timing is always good since that's how I use up leftover Halloween candy. I don't get a lot of kids trick or treating in my neighborhood. Some years I don't get any at all. I think that's a combination of not many kids in the neighborhood and/or I often don't get home from work early enough to make my house a worthy stop on Halloween night.
I've learned to buy a bag or two of candy just in case and I've also made a habit of making brownies shortly after Halloween to use up that candy. I'm a chocolate snob so I don't really eat Halloween snack size "grocery store" chocolate (see, told you I was a chocolate snob) unless it happens to be baked into a rich, fudgy, dense brownie.

Which is exactly what this is. The original recipe called for a full 9 x 13 pan of brownies but I didn't need that many so I cut the recipe in half and baked it in an 8" x 8" pan. Which is what I usually do when cutting a 9 x 13 recipe in half since I didn't want the brownies to be too thin. For these brownies, however, I think I could've gotten away with using a 9" x 9" pan. The 8" pan made the brownies a bit thick. Nothing wrong with that but you need to be careful about baking brownies that are too thick. The corners and the top will be done first and you risk overbaking a crust on the top and drying out the corners while the middle is still raw.
I don't like a crust on my brownies so next time I would bake in a slightly larger pan or, stick with the 8" pan but scoop out some of the batter and bake it in an individual ramekin for my own "molten brownie" dessert, served warm with vanilla ice cream. In case you need ideas....
2 cups unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1 cup unsifted bleached all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsifted bleached cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled to tepid
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted and cooled to tepid
8 large eggs
2 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1 3/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
seeds from 1 small vanilla bean, scraped clean
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13" baking pan with foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Sift together the cocoa powder, all-purpose flour, cake flour, baking powder and salt. Toss the chocolate chips with 3/4 teaspoons of the sifted mixture in a small bowl.
  3. In a medium-size mixing bowl, whisk the melted butter and melted chocolate until combined.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, beat the eggs just to mix. Add the superfine sugar and beat for 30 seconds to mix but not add volume. Blend in the light brown sugar. 
  5. Blend in the melted chocolate-butter mixture, vanilla extract and vanilla bean seeds, mixing slowly with a whisk until thoroughly incorporated. 
  6. Add the dry ingredients and whisk slowly into the mixture until just combined, scraping down the sides with a rubber spatula to keep even-textured. The batter will be thick. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Scrape batter into prepared pan and smooth top with flexible palette knife.
  8. Bake for 40-44 minutes or until just set and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely before cutting and serving.

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