Award winning Brownies
With halloween festivities fast approaching, my award winning brownies are a great, easy to make dessert. It can feed an army but is equally perfect for a nice party. This basic brownie recipe is from the original Barefoot Contessa Cookbook, Ina Garten, (pg 172/173), though it took only two times for my guests to reject the brownie as overly-sweet.
I had hope however, and started playing around with the ingredients. I’ve cut back on the overall amount of chocolate, substituted sweetened, salted butter (Tillamook) for unsalted, changed the type and the amount of salt slightly (small chunk Kosher), removed the coffee altogether, and am particular about the recipe size and pan. If this ISN’T chocolate enough for you, a) you have a bigger problem and b) you need to purchase her book!
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt the butter, 1 lb of chocolate chips and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water.
- Remove the bowl from the water, and allow to cool slightly. “Slightly” means that the mixture is warm to the touch, but not burning. (the reason? the mixture must be warm enough to melt down the sugar. If it becomes cold, the mixture won’t blend and the recipe becomes more like molten lava).
- In a large bowl, stir (do not beat, very important) together the eggs, vanilla and sugar. (the reason behind not beating? This is because over beating puts air in the eggs. The result is a brownie that is fluffy, more like cake, instead of a dense.
- Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
- In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder and salt.
- Add to the cooled chocolate mixture.
- Toss the walnuts and 6 oz of chocolate chips with ¼ cup of flour, then add to the chocolate batter. (very important—if the batter is too hot, the chips will melt and the entire recipe ruined. Make sure the batter is very cool but not hard)
- Pour into a baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, then remove, and rap the sheet against the shelf or counter. You can’t skip this step!! It forces the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.
- DO NOT OVERBAKE!! You will have hockey pucks instead of brownies.
- Allow to cool thoroughly. In fact, I like these warm, or better after they’ve been in the fridge.