Monica E. Smith

Monica E. Smith

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Dangerous Brownies

I ask you, "Who does not like a brownie?".

I was watching the Food Channel the other day, and got a sudden craving for a chocolaty, chewy brownie. Maybe it was all the food cooking on TV that enticed me (I'm very impressionable in that way); but, maybe, it was also the suggestion from my husband planted in my brain the day before: "I...want...brownies". No, it wasn't a command, but one of those moments that overtake you and your desires are simply, unknowingly, blurted out loud in a hypnotic state. Either way, the seed was planted. I was tired of all the hundreds of brownie recipes I had tried that left me feeling less than pleased--too sweet, too crumbly, not chocolaty enough--and the craving not satisfied in the least. So, I set out to create the perfect brownie.
The brownie recipe, below, is one you can truly make your own. I'm the type of cook who adds a little of this, a bit of that, and just a pinch of something else. I find it very creative and satisfying.

In this recipe the kind and amount of chocolate and amount of sugar is up to you, as my measurements for those ingredients are estimates. So, my suggestion is to taste your batter. A good cook always tastes her food. I give you the perfect brownie:

Preheat oven to 350°. Line an 8 X 8 baking dish with parchment and grease it (I always use a butter blend or margarine type product, as I find that pure butter burns the bottom too easily).
10 TBSs unsalted butter
approximately 2 oz, combined, bittersweet and semisweet chocolate (I use about an oz of each)
approximately 1/4 cup unsweetened, dark cocoa
1 cup sugar (add a little more if you prefer sweeter brownies)
2 eggs
pinch of salt (I like Kosher--I like the larger crystals and find the flavor not to be so "in-your-face" SALT! It simply enhances the food)
1 heaping tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 tsps. vanilla
3/4 cup flour
about 1/2 cup each, vanilla chips and walnuts
Melt the chocolate with the butter. Add and whisk it into the sugar. Add the eggs to the sugar mixture and whisk until fully combined. Add the cocoa, salt, espresso powder and vanilla and whisk, again, until well combined. Add the flour and gently mix it in, just until combined. Mix in vanilla chips and walnuts (or other goodies of your choice) and spread the batter evenly into the prepared baking dish.
Bake in a CONVECTION OVEN for approximately 20 minutes (I have a toaster oven with a convection setting that cooks wonderfully). You may need more time if using a regular oven. The brownies are done when an inserted toothpick is slightly covered with moist crumbs when removed. (you do not want the batter to be runny on the toothpick, or cover it like a paste). If using a regular oven, check the brownies with a toothpick at the 20 minute mark to see if they need more time.
Cool about 15 minutes on a rack. Remove the brownies from the baking dish with the parchment and place that on the rack until completely cooled. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, cut into desired size and TRY not to eat the entire pan! You will find these brownies taste/feel as though they have icing inside. They are satisfyingly chocolaty, without being overly sweet. The powdered sugar on top truly enhances the flavor of these brownies because they are not super-sweet.

Is it a brownie? Is it a molten dessert? Is it fudge? If you have a chocolate craving to be satisfied, these brownies are up to the task. Enjoy.