Saturday, June 19, 2010
If you've been reading food blogs at all over the past year or so I'm sure you've heard about THE Baked Brownie (aka. Oprah's favorite brownie). Its praises have been sung by The Today Show, Martha Stewart and America's Test Kitchen. They don't have any nuts, chocolate chips or frosting and that's because they don't need any such frills. Nothing fancy, nothing showy. Just pure bliss.
As you can see, they are fantastic, at least by my son's standards. Extremely chewy with a crinkly, papery top. My supervisor said these were "the closest thing you can get to fudge without it being fudge!"
This recipe is a must-try. Even if it's just so you brag and say "I've tried the BAKED Brownie recipe". So far I have made it with both dark chocolate as called for in the recipe and with milk chocolate because it's what I had on hand. Both were wonderful. I have been tempted to add walnuts but right now I'm so happy to have 'discovered' these that I'd rather not mess with a good thing!
The recipe is found in Baked: New Frontiers in Baking along with other winners like Lemon Lemon Loaf, Peanut Butter Crispy Bars and Malted Milk Ball Cake.
The "Baked" Brownie
9 x 13 inch pan | Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.
Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.
A great brownie is easy to make, but here are a few pointers: (1) Use a dark unsweetened cocoa powder like Valrhona. A pale, lightcolored cocoa does not have enough depth. (2) Make sure your eggs are at room temperature, and do not overbeat them into the batter. (3) Check your brownies often as they bake. An even slightly overbaked brownie is not a Baked Brownie.