Monday, June 2, 2008

TWD - French Chocolate Brownies -- Erin's Take

BROWNIES! I do not have a sweet tooth… except when it comes to brownies. My favorite dessert is a brownie sundae. If fact, at my wedding I requested brownie sundae’s in addition to the wedding cake. (And, by the way, they were a huge hit.) Brownies just bring back some wonderful memories. Growing up my friends used to come over all the time to play board games and watch movies. My parents, being as wonderful as they are, always welcomed everyone into our house, never minded how late they stayed, and never came downstairs to tell us to quite down when we were involved in a very competitive game of monopoly.

(As a side note, I am an extremely competitive board game player. In fact, over one game of monopoly my best friend Jenn and I got into an argument and didn’t talk to each other for over a week. For the life of me I can’t imagine what in the heck what monopoly move would cause us to not talk for a week. Although as I type this I think it might have involved her colluding with our friend Matt on how to screw me over some property).

Anyways… usually sometime during those long nights of board games my mom would always make a batch of fresh brownies for us to munch on … and always sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. I am almost 30 years old and my friends and I still reminisce over board game nights with my mom’s brownies. When I have kids I imagine doing the same thing for them and their friends hoping that they will carry the same memories with them as they grow up.

As I was saying… this week’s Tuesday’s with Dorie’s recipe was French Chocolate Brownies. So of course, given my love of brownies, I had to make these. I made a few changes to suit my preferences. First, some fellow bakers mentioned that beating the eggs and sugar together for a long time will give the brownies a cake-like consistency. As far as I am concerned, cake-like brownies should be a federal offense. There is just no excuse for ruining such a wonderful combination of sugar, eggs, and chocolate by making it into a cake. So, instead of beating the eggs and sugar together for 2 minutes as the recipe called for I reduced it to 1 minute. Next, I do not like raisins. They are gross. So, I left them out, as well as the rum. Last, I didn’t have bittersweet chocolate so I substituted 4 ounces of semi-sweet and 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate.

The brownies baked for exactly 55 minutes, and then cool completely in the pan.

The result was pure heaven. Chocolaty, fudging awesomeness! Often people ask me if it is worth making brownies from scratch when a box mix can be put together in a fraction of the time. After this recipe the answer is a resounding yes. In fact, I may have to keep a steady supply of chocolate in the pantry so I can make them whenever the urge presents itself.

I took the batch to a friend’s house for dessert. Served them with vanilla ice cream and a fresh rhubarb sauce. In fact, I have been eating these for three days straight with the remaining brownies 

Please check out how my fellow TWD Baker’s succeeded with their brownies quest.

French Chocolate Brownies
- makes 16 brownies – (I cut mine into 9 large brownies)
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden (I left this out)
1 1/2 tablespoons water (Left this out)
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum (Left this out too)
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.


Bumblebutton said...

Oooo, rhubarb sauce! Yum! And anytime you wanna come over and play Monopoly I'm in. We've been teaching my 7 year old how to play in the ruthless business world way!

Prudy said...

I'm a sucker for rhubarb. What a good idea. Yum!

April said...

The brownies look great! And the rhubarb sauce sounds delicious!

Gretchen Noelle said...

Glad you made these to suit your tastes!

Christine said...

Oh rhubarb! Good choice!

Anonymous said...

Lovely looking sundae. Nice going!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

That rhubarb sauce is calling my name!