Friday, July 8, 2011

Organizing Chaos Part 4 - Fudge Brownies

Fudge Brownies – from “The Weekend Baker”

Brownies. Some people hear that word and it brings back fond memories of their grandmother’s sweet dessert and their mouths start to water. I am not one of those people. Neither my grandmother nor my mother ever made these when I was growing up and, even if they did, I don’t think I would have gotten very excited about them. Don’t get me wrong, I love most desserts but brownies are just kind of “okay” for me. I’m not drooling.  For me, I never really came across an occasion to make brownies and as a result, I’m really bad at making them. There, I admit it. It’s out there for the whole world to read. I’m kind of embarrassed that I’m not good at making them; after all, I did go to pastry school. However, I went to The French Pastry School where we made French desserts, not American desserts.

So, each time I see a brownie recipe, I give it the old college try. It must be some sort of mental block because they never turn out. But, this time, I got it. I finally made brownies that taste good and don’t have that weird crust that sits on the top. 

12 tablespoons (6oz or 170 grams) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
¾ cup (2 ¼ oz or 64 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch process), sifted if lumpy
1 ½ cups (12 oz or 340 grams) granulated sugar
¼ teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
¾ cup (3 ½ oz or 99 grams) all-purpose flour
½ cup topping (choose from semi-sweet, peanut butter, or white chocolate chips; coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans)

1.       Position an oven rack on the middle rung. Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of an 8 inch square baking dish. I used parchment paper as a liner to help remove the baked brownies.
2.       Put the butter in a medium saucepan and set over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the butter is melted. Slide the pan from the heat and add the cocoa powder. Whisk until the mixture is smooth. Add the sugar and salt and whisk until blended. Add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition just until blended. Whisk in the vanilla with a second egg. Sprinkle the flour over the chocolate mixture and stir with a rubber spatula just until blended.
3.       Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly. Scatter the topping evenly over the batter, if using. Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small, gooey clumps of brownie sticking to it, about 32 minutes. Don’t overbake or the brownies won’t be fudgy. Transfer the baking dish to a rack to cool.

Storage: Cooled uncut brownie may be frozen for up to 1 month

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