May 25, 2015
Brownies are the ultimate cheap trick; it takes less than five minutes to throw the classic recipe together, they bake in a flash – and everybody loves them. As far as I’m concerned, there is no such thing as a bad brownie.
But having so few ingredients means that it's remarkably easy to improve the recipe. Replace ordinary ingredients with spectacular ones and you end up with something rich, dark and deep that lingers in your memory long after the last crumb is gone.
But it's not all about ingredients. When a recipe is this simple, technique can also change it enormously. In this version, I double the ingredients in the classic recipe and use a stand mixer to whip the eggs and sugar into a frenzy. The result is a taller, denser brownie with a deep fudge-like interior and a crackling meringue-like top that crunches when you take a bite. (Stir by hand, and you’ll end up with a denser, thinner brownie that some people prefer.)
However you choose to make it, this is a brownie that combines sweetness with the rich sophisticated complexity of chocolate – a little bite of childhood wrapped in a very grown-up package.
2/3 cup (5 ounces) unsalted high-fat butter (like Plugra)
5 ounces unsweetened excellent chocolate (I used Dandelion Camino Verde from Ecuador)
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 organic eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose white flour, sifted
To prepare the pan, butter a 9X9 square pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the bottom again and lightly dust the pan with chocolate or cocoa powder.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Melt the chocolate and the butter over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Stir in the vanilla.
Beat the eggs and salt in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat on high for about 10 minutes, until the mixture has turned quite white. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating on low until just mixed.
Gently stir in the flour until it just disappears.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350 degrees.
Bake for 40 minutes; the brownies will be quite fudgy and a toothpick should come out not quite clean. Cool on a rack.
Invert the pan, remove the parchment paper and invert again onto a cutting surface.
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