Thursday, June 16, 2011

Extra-dark Brownies

I think that it could be safely said that I’m something of a fussy eater.  I know what I like, and if I do, I can’t get enough of it.  If I don’t like something, or I’m not in the mood for it, I just won’t do it.  Many people (Momma Bear and the sisters included) would go much further, and describe me as being downright picky.  I think that might be overstating it somewhat, and I like the sound of fussy better.

What does any of that have to do with brownies?  A lot of things!  I am very particular about my brownies.  They can’t be too sweet, and I don’t want a shit-ton of icing on there.  Sugar rushes have their place, but not in my brownie, thank you very much.  Also, no brownie of mine should ever be in any way, shape or form, cakey and dry.  I mean, if I wanted something cakey, I’d eat a piece of cake.  And who in their right mind wants a dry baked good?  Not anyone I want to be friends with.  So about a month ago, when I found this recipe at The Kitchn, for dark, not-too-sweet brownies, I had to give them a shot.  Since then, I’ve made them about seven or eight times.  That’s a lot of brownies!  But they’re soooooo good!

The original recipe at The Kitchn is actually for sea salt and lime extra-dark brownies.  For me, the combination of lime and chocolate isn’t an especially pleasing-sounding one (that’s my fussy side coming out).  So, I’ve never actually made these as the original recipe suggests.  I have however made two batches with a tablespoon or so of instant espresso powder dissolved in just-boiled water, and that was lovely.  The batch best so far, which is the one I’m sharing with you, includes cinnamon and a touch of cayenne, my rift on Mexican hot chocolate.  This was one of the (evil) sister’s suggestions, and I’m eternally grateful for the idea. 

Another difference between my version and the original; I don’t chop the last two ounces of chocolate to stir into the batter.  I just melt all 6 ounces of chocolate together with the butter, and it makes for wickedly rich, fudgey brownies.  Just like I like them.  I use 70-85% cocoa chocolate here; Lindt or the President’s Choice 85% chocolate are both great, but I’m sure any bittersweet chocolate will be good.
One last note; DON’T OVER-BAKE THEM!!  There is absolutely nothing worse than a dried-out brownie.  Ok, there are much worse things, but you want these a little gooey still when they come out of the oven.  And while you may be tempted to sneak a bite when they’re cooling on the counter; don’t.  Let them cool completely, and you’ll get the full, mind-blowing effect of these.

Super-extra-sexy, extra-dark chocolate brownies
adapted from The Kitchn

Makes 16 2-inch square brownies
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 cup sugar

3/4 cup all purpose flour

1/4 cup Dutch process cocoa powder

Rounded 1/2 tsp cinnamon
Skant 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp coarse, flakey sea salt

Preheat oven to 325°F and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with tin foil, leaving the paper extra-long and hanging over two sides.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate over medium-low heat. Stir until smooth.
Remove pan from the heat and add the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, spices, eggs, vanilla and kosher salt.  Mix until combined.  Add the boiling water.  Stir to combine and pour into prepared pan. Sprinkle the sea salt on the top.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a tester comes out moist. It will not be perfectly clean, but it shouldn't be sticky either. Allow pan to cool on a wire rack for 15 minutes before removing brownies from pan.  To remove the brownies, just lift out the foil. Place the brownies in the foil on the wire rack. Cool completely and cut into 2-inch squares.

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