The devil is in…the Brownies.

I can deal with an “ok” cookie, as long as it isn’t stale.  I love cookies and can’t resist them. But brownies and I have a special relationship.  They are my heroin. They DO make bad days better, and good days excellent. That is just the way it is. But there is no room in my life for “ok” brownies.  I have noticed that there is a divide – not quite an Obama/Romney divide (don’t get me started), but a gap nonetheless between those who like brownies cakey (gasp), fudgy (my usual) or chewy (sometimes those work too).

Essentially the difference is mostly about the egg to chocolate ratio.  I combined a few good recipes, and came up with the following:

1 stick butter (1/2 cup) – use the foil to grease the pan

8 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped

1 cup sugar

¼ tsp salt

2 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large eggs, at room temperature

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

A handful of chocolate chips ( ah, how big is that handful? At least a blue glass worth )

and the magic ingredient….1 tbsp espresso coffee powder

Heat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square pan, line the pan bottom with parchment, and then butter the sides.

In a double boiler over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate (not the chips). Remove the pan from the heat; cool slightly. Stir in the sugar and then the vanilla and salt. The mixture will be somewhat grainy; this is okay. Whisk in the eggs stirring each time until blended. Add the flour and espresso powder, stirring just until thickened and smooth, 30 to 60 seconds. Stir in the extra chocolate chips.  Pour into the prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs (not wet batter) clinging to it, 30 to 35 minutes. I LIKE UNDERBAKING THEM A BIT!

Set the pan on a rack until cool. Run a dull knife around the inside edge of the pan and then invert the pan onto a flat surface and peel off the parchment. Flip the baked brownie back onto the rack to cool completely. Cover and place a weight on top. (really – I’m not crazy – this “densifies” them).
Refrigerate a few hours or overnight. (These freeze really well.)Cut into squares with a sharp knife.

You can double this and bake in a 9 x 13 pan.

The verdict: Life is good!  A fudgy/chewy kinda great in fact!

That ugly looking fleck is a yummy chocolate chip. Mmmm.

For those of you who need an ultimate “cheat” recipe, and a non-dairy version, here is the 5 minute version:

1 package brownie mix
1 Tbsp. espresso coffee powder
1 bittersweet chocolate bar, chopped
1/2 bag semisweet chips

Follow the directions for chewy brownies ( using 1 egg )
Underbake by 5+ minutes (depends on your oven)
Cool completely, cover and place a weight on top.Refrigerate a few hours or overnight.

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