Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Fudge Brownies

As much I love my old stand-by brownies, I can't help but wonder sometimes if there's an even better brownie out there (you've heard that old expression the brownie is always chocolatier in someone else's pan). So I tried this recipe from King Arthur (the flour people) because they said it achieves the perfect balance between fudgy and cakey. Their claim: they'll be ultra-moist without crossing the line into gooey/underbaked. Well, I'm happy to report, the claims are true. And even though an argument could be made that even bad brownies are good - great brownies should be so memorable that you often think back fondly about how fudgy and sublime they were and wonder how and when you can get your hands on more of those little chocolate blocks of nirvana on a napkin. (I'm good - I have some in my freezer. You're on your own.)

Yield: 2 dozen

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups double-dutch dark cocoa or dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips

1.      Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan
2.      In a saucepan over low heat, combine the butter and sugar. Heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat just until the mixture is hot (about 110° F to 120° F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
3.      Crack the 4 eggs into a large bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth.
4.      Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
5.      Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6.      Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.
7.      Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.

melted butter and sugar

If it looks like a lot, that's because I made a double batch.

For some weird reason, I started melting the butter in a bowl
over simmering water (a double boiler) instead of a regular pot.
So I just went with it (I wasn't willing to transfer the mixture
to a pot and then clean the bowl and pot too).
sifting cocoa powder into the eggs
espresso powder
cocoa powder etc. added to the eggs
The recipe says to mix until smooth, but it's pretty
thick. That's about as "smooth" as I could get it.
adding the butter/sugar mixture

It looks like a hot mess, but it comes together.
adding flour and chococlate
batter in pan

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