Decadent Chocolate Brownies


There are days that all a girl really needs is a spoonful of chocolate. Not just a Hershey kiss, but an intense shock of soft, gooey, deep, dark, decadent chocolate with a light vanilla finish. On those days, I revert to my childhood pleasure of homemade brownies. 

After years of working from various recipes, I've found this particular grouping of ingredients creates my favorite flavor and texture profile.

Decadent Chocolate Brownie Recipe
4oz. Unsweetened chocolate 
3/4 C butter
1-3/4 C sugar (caster sugar is best, but regular baking sugar works fine, too)
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
1 C flour

Additions (any and all will work):
1/2 C toasted walnuts
1 C chocolate chips
1/2 C dried cherries, reconstituted in 1 C hot water, water discarded

Oven to 325. Butter and flour (or cocoa, see below) one 8"x8" square pan. 
The Mise


First, I gather my mise en place a.k.a. the ingredients. The great thing about brownies is they really are the simplest of treats. Butter, sugar, eggs, chocolate, vanilla, flour and a sprinkle of salt are all you need. The suggested additions are nice-to-haves and I used none of them today.

Any good recipe will tell you to melt the butter and chocolate over a double boiler on medium low heat, but I like to melt the butter first and add the chocolate once the butter is almost all melted. And, I break the chocolate up as much as I can before tossing it in. You can also melt butter and chocolate together in the microwave. For that, follow the directions on your chocolate wrapper or box.
By tossing the chocolate into the warmed butter, it can melt on contact as opposed to heating simultaneously with the butter. If you ever make ganache, it's the same concept as heating the cream and adding the chocolate to that. But, I digress.
Instant melt.
Almost all incorporated.

Once the chocolate is all melted in, take the mixture off the heat and let it cool about 5 minutes. Then, add the sugar.

Make sure the sugar is nearly dissolved before adding the eggs. In fact, stirring the sugar in can take up to 5 minutes by hand (which I recommend) and can feel a little like a workout. 

The eggs should be at room temperature and make sure to break them into a measuring cup first to eliminate any chance of shells making their way into the batter.
For brownies, always add the eggs one at a time, fully incorporating each egg before adding the next. Once all the eggs are nicely mixed in, add the vanilla and salt.

Another tip - I learned this from Joanne Chang in her excellent baking book Flour - is to always fork-fluff your flour before measuring it into the cup. It lightens the flour to its intended consistency. Once the flour is mixed in, one naturally takes a bite. 
The reason I do it to begin with lies in the melty goodness of this spoon's contents.

Really, I cannot help myself.
Now the batter is ready to go into the pan. Rather than use flour, I add a tablespoon of cocoa on top of the buttered pan. 

You'll want to distribute this evenly across the bottom and sides of the pan like so.
Pour the batter into the pan.

And bake. These took 32 minutes at 325.
Here comes the hard part: waiting for these puppies to cool down enough to slice. Brownies have to cool at least most of the way to room temp before you can cut them. You can either leave them on the counter about an hour or put them into the fridge roughly 30 minutes.

If you want your brownies to be in perfect little squares, you probably have to wipe down your knife between slices. I just use a paper towel for that.

These brownies are indeed rich and are intended to be eaten in smallish quantities. But, if you wanted to cut the richness, you could always top them with a scoop of Vanilla Haagen Dazs!
Voila!

Okay, well, my work here is done. Enjoy and please let me know how yours turn out!

My beautiful little tester.

 






2 comments

  1. Love that you added a pic of you licking a spoon, that is exactly like me when I bake! It is just so tempting. These brownies look fab x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ha! Always licking the spoon - after the batter is in the oven. of course!

      I don't know why I didn't see your comment sooner. Thank you for commenting!

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