Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Bittersweet Brownies

Baking is a precision sport. Unlike cooking where I can and often substitute and change ingredients on the fly, I don't when I bake. Baking takes thought, exactness and has small window for error. If you know me it takes an immense amount of concentration on my part to keep to a recipe. I want to use healthier ingredients. I want to dirty as few dishes as possible. I only have 1 size baking pan. Obviously, I'm not a baker. That person you work with that has everything neat and clean on the desk with folders at 90 degree angles- that's your baker.

When I made these brownies I was blown away by how amazingly good they were. Because of my huge fear of ruining anything with $3 worth of butter and $5 worth of chocolate in it I really didn't mess with this recipes. So I have yet to healthy this up with whole wheat flour or egg white substitute. Maybe if I buy bulk butter and find a cheaper chocolate source.

Like any good baker you are only as good as your ingredients. If you want good brownies get good chocolate, if you want great brownies get great chocolate.

Bittersweet Brownies
Yield: 16 2-inch squares
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 25 to 30 minutes

8 oz. 70% bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
6 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into several pieces
3 large eggs
1 cup sugar
Scant 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp. vanilla dust (or substitute 1/2 tsp vanilla extract)
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon (1.2 ounces) all-purpose flour

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat to 350˚F.
Line bottom and sides of 8-inch square baking pan with foil.

Place chocolate and butter in heatproof bowl and set in pan of almost-simmering water.
Stir until mixture is melted and smooth and quite warm.
Remove from the pan and set aside.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, salt, vanilla extract and vanilla beans with a hand-held mixer on high speed until the eggs are thick and light colored, about 2 minutes.

Whisk in the warm chocolate.
Fold in the flour.
Scrape the batter into the lined pan and spread evenly.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.
Cool in the pan on a rack.
Invert the brownies on rack and peel off the foil.
Turn right side up on cutting board and cut into sixteen 2-inch squares.

Note: These brownies are sticky, gooey and hard to cut warm. Expect a mess unless you want to refrigerate them, which I don't. Brownies are sooooooo much better warm.

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