Thursday, August 2, 2012

Brownies

Whenever I have a craving for brownies I want them to be fudgy (not thick & cakey), chocolaty and taste utterly decadent.  I tend to gravitate toward recipes which have the least amount of ingredients, because brownies made at home don't need much to be really good.  Chocolate that is readily available at any supermarket is my main concern, although I do on occasion seek out an imported chocolate just to see what it tastes like.  Eggs, butter, flour, sugar and some vanilla extract is all you need to make a batch of these bar cookies.  Certain recipes will ask for unsweetened, bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, while others may have a combination of them.  I've even tried those which call for the addition of cocoa powder & espresso powder.  They're all very good and truly delicious.

For this recipe I used one of America's favorite semisweet chocolate chips, because they can be found just about anywhere one shops for groceries.  I truly believe that everyone should be able to bake delectable brownies at home without having to hunt for specific ingredients at specialty stores.  To this delicious, straightforward batter, I added a pinch of cayenne pepper to round out the sweet flavor of the chocolate.  Yes, that's right, cayenne pepper!  My friend Darlene from New York City who happens to be an avid baker & reader of the blog, suggested I add a pinch of it when she heard I was experimenting with a recipe.  I'm glad I did.  Are you interested to see?  Well then, let's start baking. 


Delicious brownies piled high. 

The Ingredients
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips (1 cup), {170 grams}
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter {85 grams}, cut up
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar {135 grams}
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cups all-purpose flour {95 grams}
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • pinch of cayenne pepper
Note: the picture above shows premelted chocolate & butter.

With racks centered, preheat the oven to
 350° F (177 ° C)

In a medium-sized heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water, add the chocolate chips and cut up butter.  Stir until everything is completely melted.  You don't want to see lumps of anything. 

Remove from the heat and set it aside to cool to room temperature (this may take 10-15 minutes).  If you want to speed up the cooling process, wipe the outside bottom of the bowl with a cool, damp towel.  It's important to cool it down. 

Spray the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square {20 cm}, light-colored, aluminum baking pan with baking spray (or butter it).  Line one side with parchment paper leaving a good 1" of over hang.  You can use aluminum foil instead of parchment paper if you wish.

As soon as the chocolate has cooled, add the granulated sugar and mix until completely combined.  You'll notice the mixture turn grainy.  That's how it should be.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix each one until it is emulsified into the melted chocolate & sugar mixture.  Add the vanilla extract; mix well.
Add the all-purpose flour, fine sea salt and pinch of cayenne pepper
Gently stir everything until the flour has been absorbed into the batter.  This will only take about 30 seconds or so.  Don't overmix or you'll end up with cakey brownies!
The finished batter is thick & rich.  Spread it evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven for 30-35 minutes.
The middle should feel set when you touch it.
Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

As soon as the brownies are cool, carefully lift the entire square out of the pan from the ends of the parchment paper onto a cutting board.  I like cutting the brownies into 16 individual pieces (four by four).  If you want to serve them a la mode, cut them into 9 squares (3 by 3).  It's up to you!


Here's a side view of the fudgy edges and crackly tops.  The hallmarks of a good brownie.

Brownies can be stored for up to 2 days in an airtight container.

If you're having guests, stack them on a nice cake stand (this one is early American) and let everyone have one. 



Whether you choose to add nuts to the batter (I would add up to 1/2 cup) or completely omit them like I do, the key to getting good-textured brownies is to avoid overmixing and overbaking the cookies.  I always use a wooden spoon or a silicone spatula (never a whisk) when making brownies and I always stop mixing as soon as I see the last bit of flour fully incorporated.  A good, reliable timer at the ready and a preheated oven set at the right temperature will guarantee you wonderful brownies.  You don't need me to tell you that a warm brownie with a scoop of your favorite ice cream on top is a nice way to enjoy one on any given day.  One square is enough to satisfy most chocolate cravings, but if you happen to wolf down 2 or 3, I won't tell anyone! 

2 comments:

  1. Hi David, I just stumbled upon your blog and I'm glad I did! Your food looks delicious and I happen to really love fudgy brownies too! (I don't like cake.) I have a lot of spare time this summer and I've been trying to make food and desserts, so I will give this a try! ^^ x -- tabitha

    ReplyDelete
  2. Tabitha, that's great that you found the blog! I hope you stick around and try a few recipes. You know, a friend just made those brownies and she says her family LOVED them! Here's to success in the kitchen for you.

    ~David

    ReplyDelete

Thank You for Posting!