Monday, June 1, 2009

Mmmmmmm. Brownies.

When it comes to dessert, I really don't discriminate. Well, unless it's something overly eggy (bread pudding? no thanks) or too squishy (pudding? flan? blech). I love chocolate treats best and as much as I love a fancy dessert, I think that brownies are the ultimate sweet. Dense, fudgy with a crackly top that splinters when you sink your teeth into it, ah nirvana.
Don't let Betty Crocker fool you - it's every bit as easy to make brownies from scratch. Really. To prove it, here is Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies recipe. It's a great standby because these are all the kinds of ingredients already in the pantry and fridge. I like to use Hershey's Special Dark cocoa and then throw in Oreos that have been chopped into quarters. Don't cut them any smaller because they'll get lost in the gooeyness.

Makes 16 large or 25 smaller brownies

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
(natural or Dutch process)

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 cold large eggs

1/2 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Position a rack in the lower third of an oven that has
been preheated to 325 degrees. Line the bottom and
sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil,
leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt in a medium
heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of
barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until
the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot
enough that you want to remove your finger fairly
quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl
from the skillet and set aside briefly until the
mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs
one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one.
When the batter looks thick, shiny and well-blended,
add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any
longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the
wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if
using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges
slightly moist with batter, 20-25 minutes. Let cool
completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and
transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16
or 25 squares.

° From "BitterSweet" by Alice Medrich (Artisan)


Natasha Rao said...

I am making these when the hubby gets home...I have always wanted to make real-homemade brownies! No more boxes for me anymore:)

Kcookski said...

Homemade tastes soooo much better, too. Throw out the boxes!

Natasha Rao said...

Made these yesterday---first homemade brownie ever and it was AMAZING!!!!!!!!!!