Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Baked Brownie.

A few months back, I threw out this crazy idea that I didn't like brownies. I know. But you all got on my case and blew up my Facebook with all your awesome-sounding brownie combinations and the next thing I knew... I kind of wanted one. Like... a brick-sized brownie. In my face. Immediately.

This is the part where I tell you how absolutely decadent and rich and fudgey these thick, crackly-topped brownies are.
How I wanted to eat them straight out of the oven with a spoon because I have no patience.

How I was temped to dip a strawberry in the batter and consider it a healthy snack (I mean, it's mostly fruit, right? And it's not technically a brownie... yet.)

Seriously. These things are dreamy. If you haven't jumped on the these-are-the-best-brownies-ever bandwagon, it's probably imperative that you do that soon. Maybe even today. (Psst. If you're looking for a more cakey brownie, these are still my favorite. Because technically... it is cake. And cake will always be > brownies.)
But instead I thought I'd do a behind-the-scenes look at how these brownies went down. Because sometimes you need to keep it real... and I'm pretty sure that's what happened when I went about making these.

(If by "keeping it real" you mean "God is laughing at me today.")

The facts: Last Saturday morning I woke up and knew two things for certain: Somehow I needed to cram all 444 pages of The Help into my brain because I can't stop reading it and I need to know what happens next and sidenote, I really want a caramel cake, and two: I needed to make brownies. I just did.
Then my life went a little like this.

1:15 PM: Finally decide on a recipe. The Baked Brownie. It's famous, right? Oprah loves it. America's Test Kitchen loves it. I need bittersweet chocolate. To the store!

1:30 PM: Stare at the chocolate aisle with a completely vacant expression. Was it unsweetened chocolate I needed? Bittersweet? Semisweet? Dark chocolate? How many ounces again? Thank God for smartphones. Google that thing. 

1:31 PM: Why isn't the Internet on my phone working.

1:32 PM: No, really. 

1:33 PM: Why are there so many types of chocolate? 

1:34 PM: Seriously?   

1:35 PM: *shakes phone*

1:36 PM: Give up. Drive home & google the recipe on my computer. Bittersweet! I want Ghiradelli cuz I'm feeling fancy. Head back to the store.

1:43 PM: This. 
1:44 PM: Buy chocolate ice cream instead. Head across town to the other grocery store. 

1:47 PM: Curse my life. A bird's flown into a power pole and the intersection lights are all out. Sidenote: The power's out over half of the town. What? That's a powerful little bird. Traffic cops are everywhere and it's total mass confusion. Wonder if the ice cream's melting. Wonder if I'm going to be stranded here forever. Wonder if I have a spoon in my purse.

1:57 PM: Finally. Get to the grocery store. Grab the chocolate and run. 

(Relax. I paid for it.)

2:15 PM: We're doing this! Brownies! Mix the flour, melt the chocolate, stir stir stir, add the sugar, add the brown sugar...



*slams spoon down*

Brown sugar? 

2:16 PM: Swear profusely. 

2:17 PM: Make homemade brown sugar.

All I got to say is I hope stress burns calories.

The Baked Brownie 

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (I used regular unsweetened cocoa powder)
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghiradelli 60% cacoa bittersweet chips)
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch glass baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

Place the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large saucepan (or using a double broiler) over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the  and add the sugar and brown sugar. Whisk until completely combined, then remove pan from stovetop and allow to come to room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 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 rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is still 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 lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.

Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. 

Makes 24 brownies.

Source: Brown-Eyed Baker.
Crackly top!