Silky Bittersweet Brownies are refined and creamy brownies made completely with bittersweet chocolate, no cocoa powder. They are the perfect easy end to a sophisticated dinner. Affiliate links have been used to link to items I am discussing in this post.
I really hope this post is coherent. I have been battling back spasms for the last 4 days and finally hit urgent care today. Now I am on heavy duty pain killers and muscle relaxers and if this post was not due today, I would not be writing. Or typing. Or thinking.
Which would be a shame because everyone loved these brownies.
The theme for this month’s Creative Cookie Exchange was A Cookie Table for Thanksgiving–the idea being that it might be fun to switch things up a bit and serve cookies instead of pie. Or it might be that for whatever reason you need a last minute dessert, in which case cookies work well. I chose these Silky Bittersweet Brownies because they are easy and decadent, and since I want chocolate after Thanksgiving–because I always serve prime rib when it is my turn to host. Yep you heard that right. I really do not like traditional Thanksgiving food, and I especially dislike turkey. And for me something decadent and chocolate is how you finish that kind of meal.
Which is not to say I do not love pumpkin and cranberries and all of the other traditional autumnal sweets. Bring them on! But if I am getting gussied up and serving an epicurean feast? Give me chocolate.
I mentioned these Silky Bittersweet Brownies were a huge hit. So huge in fact that after I made my sixteen brownies, I photographed them and announced (to my family and to my sister in law and her two kids, who were visiting) that each person could have one brownie. I explained that I knew people would want brownies later also, so we would save a second brownie for later after dinner.
The next time I checked the pan there were six brownies remaining. In case you don’t feel like doing the math, that means three extra brownies were consumed. And between four kids and three adults no one ever did admit to swiping those brownies! Needless to say all the brownies disappeared instantly after my sister in law left and I no longer needed to worry about not having enough.
These Silky Bittersweet Brownies are very closely adapted from Alice Medrich’s Robert’s Brownies My Way (which in turn were adapted from Robert Steinberg, cofounder of Scharffen Berger) in her The Artisanal Kitchen: Holiday Cookies: The Ultimate Chewy, Gooey, Crispy, Crunchy Treats. The book would make an excellent stocking stuffer, as it is a small, cute title in the Artisanal Kitchen series. The brownies do not have much going on in them except a good bittersweet chocolate of around 70% cacao (I love Scharffen Berger or Guittard). It sets them apart from any other brownie I have made–my gold standard for everyday brownie baking uses only cocoa powder (and also came from Ms. Medrich) and the others I have tried use a combination. The combination brownies–those with chocolate and cocoa powder–always taste underdone to me. These were creamy rather than fudgy to me, and everyone loved them.
Closely adapted from Alice Medrich. The better of a chocolate you use, the better your results will be. Be sure that the cacao percentage is right around 70%.
- 6 T unsalted butter
- 8 oz bittersweet chocolate, around 70% cacao (chopped if you are using a bar, but wafers do not need to be chopped)
- 6.5 oz (1 scant cup) sugar
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/2 t vanilla paste (extract can substitute, but I wanted to more intense paste for these brownies because they were envisioned as the end of a sophisticated meal)
- 2 eggs, cold
- 1.75 oz (1/3 cup plus 1 T) AP flour
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Take an 8-inch square pan and place it in a large section of foil. Lightly mold the foil to the pan, then remove the pan and place the molded foil inside of the pan. Press the foil evenly into the pan and set aside.
Heat a large skillet with an inch or two of water over medium heat. When it is barely simmering, reduce the heat to low and place a large heat-proof bowl inside the skillet.
Add the butter and chocolate to the skillet. Stir frequently with a silicone spatula, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl, until the butter and chocolate are completely melted and hot to the touch. Stir smooth and remove from the heat.
Stir in the sugar, salt and vanilla. Once again stir smooth.
Add the eggs, one at a time, and stirring each one in immediately.
Scrape the sides and bottom again, and then stir in the flour. Continue to stir briskly until the batter is smooth and cohesive--it should be pulling away from the sides of the pan. This is a case where stirring a little too long is better than under-stirring--make sure the batter is truly coming together.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan (no greasing necessary). Smooth the top to evenly distribute the batter, but allow some ripples to remain.
Bake for 30-35 minutes (27-33 minutes on 325 F convection), until a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan comes out with only a few moist crumbs. The top will have a thin crust.
Cool completely on a cooling rack, and then use the edges of the foil to lift and remove to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares.
It’s cookie season! And I know everyone is thinking pies for Thanksgiving, but sometimes time gets away from us and we need something faster. Or maybe you just want something different, like a cookie tray for Turkey Day.
You can also use us as a great resource for cookie recipes. Be sure to check out our Pinterest Board and our monthly posts (you can find all of them here at The Spiced Life). You will be able to find them the first Tuesday after the 15th of each month! If you are a blogger and want to join in the fun, contact Laura at thespicedlife AT gmail DOT com and she will get you added to our Facebook group, where we discuss our cookies and share links.
If you are looking for inspiration to get in the kitchen and start baking, check out what all of the hosting bloggers have made:
- Apple Cranberry Jammers from All That’s Left Are The Crumbs
- Cinnamon Pumpkin Cookies from Food Lust People Love
- Cranberry Crumble Bars from Karen’s Kitchen Stories
- Cranberry White Chocolate Sugar Cookies from Queenbeebaker
- Silky Bittersweet Brownies from The Spiced Life
- Maple Walnut Spice Cookies from What Smells So Good?
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