Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Bittersweet Brownies

It's snowing outside which is great, but I don't have much faith that it will actually snow enough to get to stay home tomorrow... I can hope... but the roads will probably be clear by morning. I nearly didn't bake tonight because of the snow and the possibility of staying home, but then I realized that it would be really, really weird for me to go in to work without some sort of baked goods. Therefore, I picked a recipe that was quick, easy and that would hold up for an extra day just on the off chance that work was a no-go.

I also had to pick a recipe that didn't include much flour since I am tragically almost out of all-purpose flour (I have whole-wheat, whole-wheat pastry, spelt, oat, rice, wheat germ, cake, and bread flour -- but virtually no all-purpose... what is the world coming to?)

I have made the Dorie Greenspan classic brownie recipe before -- one of the first I made from the new book -- and it convinced me that I had found the perfect brownie. I'm a fudgie brownie kind of girl, and don't like much to interfere with the pure, dense, rich chocolate experience. Cakey brownies are a waste of time and space, and if you have to put frosting on it -- you might as well call it cake.

The bittersweet brownie recipe in the book is quite good -- I think I like the classic recipe just a bit more, but only by a smidgen. The bittersweet recipe has a tablespoon of espresso powder which shines through loud and clear. It's not exactly distracting, but I did spend a minute or two trying to figure out just what that flavor was (and I made the silly things.) However, the brownies are full of chocolate flavor and yummy, rich, gooey goodness -- so I'm not exactly complaining.


2 sticks (8 oz) unslated butter, cut into 16 pieces
9 oz good quality bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolate and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted -- you don't want them to get so hot that the butter separates. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.

With a whisk, stir in the sugar. The mixture might get grainy, but it will even out. Whisk in the eggs one by one, then add the vanilla and whisk enthusiastically to smooth the batter. Finally, gently whisk in the espresso powder, slat and flour, stirring only until incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.

Bake the brownies for just 20 to 22 minutes, or until the top is dull and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the brownies to room temp.


Ben said...

Melissa's such a pessimist... if we DO get tomorrow off I'm a gonna drive over and make you hand over one delicious-sounding bitersweet brownie or pelt the outside of your house with (non-damaging) snowballs...

Anonymous said...

i'm sure they were very good....of course, i wouldn't know...

-bitter jb