Wednesday, March 16, 2011
baked! no-fail brownies.
until fairly recently, i'd never made brownies from scratch. i know -- i go on and on about how much i love to bake, but if someone had asked me for a brownie recipe, i would have looked away. then i tried making nigella's brownies, and -- this is hard to admit -- i totally screwed up. while the taste was perfect, i overbaked the edges, underbaked the center, and basically ended up with brownie goo. so needless to say, i was disappointed.
then, while reading the lovely olivia's blog, i saw that she had linked to a recipe on king arthur flour's website and hailed it as "failproof." since i needed a thank-you treat for a friend and knew he liked chocolate, i decided i'd try to do brownies again.
i'm really glad i did -- these brownies are, indeed, failproof. i ended up having to bake them for about 5 minutes longer than the recipe instructed, but they turned out perfectly moist and chocolatey. next time, i'm going to try them olivia's way -- with salted caramel running through them -- but for now, i'm so glad to finally have "my own" brownie recipe.
and here it is, adapted slightly from king arthur flour:
oscar-approved*, no-fail brownies
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups dutch-process cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder**
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips
in a medium-sized, microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. return the mixture to the heat or microwave briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°f to 120°f), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. (heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.)
while the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth. 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.)
spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan. Bake the brownies for about 30-35 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.
**oscar is my cat, showcased in the photo above.
*i didn't have espresso powder on hand, so i used instant coffee powder (which i also used in this recipe) and it was totally fine.