It’s been a long time since I’ve tried a brownie recipe with chocolate (as opposed to cocoa powder only), but I guess it has also been a long time since you have heard from me. So I’ll start with the new year first!
First, we have moved–and we only just found the wire I need to upload pictures online, so I apologize for the lack of photos of the house. The house is amazing–it is bigger than anything I have ever lived in as an adult (i.e., that I was paying for 😉 ) and it seems like I can find a space for anything at the moment.
Of course my mom took one look at the boxes in the garage and opined that we needed to build an addition, so check back with me in a week or 2 and see if I am still feeling so spacious.
But in the meantime, everything from the last house has been put away, which means that my kitchen is fully functional, but also that I am still unpacking kitchen/dining stuff that was packed away at the previous 2 residences. I still have not found all my cookbooks, for example, or teacups (does anyone still use teacups? I am strictly a ginourmous mug girl, but I hold on to the matching teacups in case someone’s grandmother comes to dine I guess). We are also still waiting on various stuff, both in the kitchen and in the rest of the house. We chose to move in as soon as it passed occupancy rather than wait for it to be totally finished as we did not want to move in the middle of John’s semester, after classes had started. So I am missing a hood, some cupboards where they messed up the fridge, and my desk in the kitchen is not very functional as it is waaaaay too high. And we are missing some doorknobs and doorstops, which I find kind of random, but whatever.
Let’s face it: without pictures you are all getting kind of bored anyway. So on to the brownies.
Every Christmas I get loads of cookbooks, through gifts and gift money. One in the latter category this year was Baked, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, which I had become intrigued by after reading about it on Smitten Kitchen. Apparently they are quite famous for their brownies, which have been raved about by everyone from Oprah to America’s Test Kitchen. But that was not what sold me on making them–it was actually the picture.
Every chocolate-based brownie I have seen looks fudgy. I know some people love this, but if it seems kind of wet and reminiscent of brownie batter to me, then it is not my thing. I discovered earlier this year that I really love cocoa-based brownies, which are chewier, apparently because they get their fat from butter, as opposed to cocoa butter. Anyway, the Baked picture looked very chewy, not so wet and fudgy. And plus they are famous, so I had to give them a try.
They are as advertised.
A little fudgy but really chewy. Absolutely fabulous. Definitely the best chocolate-based brownies I have ever made. I think mine might be a little underbaked, but they are still quite good.
The Baked Brownie
Adapted from Baked, Matt Lewis & Renato Poliafito
1 1/4 cups AP flour
1 t salt
2 T cocoa powder (I used Scharffenberger–quality is important here, they like Valrhona)
11 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used 70% cacoa)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 t instant espresso
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 t vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 X 13 pan with nonstick spray and line it with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Set aside.
Put a large, heatproof bowl above a saucepan of simmering water and place the chocolate, butter and espresso powder into it. Whisk it smooth as it melts. Turn off the heat but leave the bowl over the water and add the sugars to the chocolate. Whisk it smooth again. Remove from the saucepan and set aside to cool to room temperature.
Whisk 3 of the eggs into the chocolate mixture. Only whisk until smooth. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk smooth again–do not over-stir. Whisk in the vanilla. Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and, using a spatula, gently fold it together. When just a few spots of flour are visible, scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the top.
Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating front to back halfway through. Begin paying attention toward the end–you do not want overbaked brownies. Mine took about 32 minutes. They are done when a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let the brownies cool completely before cutting into squares.