October 20, 2010 by buttermilkbaker
I have to first give credit to one of my very favorite bloggers, Brown Eyed Baker, for not only introducing this recipe into my life (to be clear: my hips do not thank you) but for inspiring me to start a food blog of my very own.
You see, I’ve been admiring all you floggers (is that a term? It should be.) from afar over the past several months, but have always thought “No way, no how. Not. Me.” But after following the first few Project Food Blog challenges, I realized that maybe it’s worth a shot. The BF (we shall call him “Boy”) thinks this will last no longer than my stint over at Yelp! (I think I posted 10 reviews in one day, only to stop entirely 3 days later)…and, to be fair, I can’t blame him.
However, there is a big difference between reviewing restaurants you go to once or twice and writing about the one thing that brings us all together: food. Let’s face it, we have to live with it. It’s not always easy—in fact, it’s often really, really hard. I work everyday to find balance in my eating: a happy medium between overindulgence (ugh) and deprivation (double ugh), too much and too little, not healthy enough and, yes, sometimes even too health-conscious.
I think these brownies are a great starting point for this blog because they epitomize my food perspective of the moment: indulge on something worthwhile, something wholly laden with butter, sugar, and chocolate, and do so sparingly.
Of course, if you’re feeling a little low (or a little naughty), go ahead and scoop some vanilla ice cream on there. And some nice hot fudge, if you please. What? Nobody’s looking. (The culprits pictured below. They made me do it.)
This fudge sauce is unbelievable. Got it at Whole Foods. Check it outtttttt. And the froyo?It actually tastes like ice cream. It’s true. I swear it does. So that makes this whole shindig guilt-free…right?
So here you have it: what Brown Eyed Baker herself has professed to be the end-all-be-all homemade replacement for box brownies. You know the ones. Yes, these have that perfect crackled top, that dense chewy texture, and that deep, deep chocolate flavor. I used Hershey’s Special Dark Cocoa and subbed all of the chopped chocolate from the original recipe with generic dark chocolate chips, and they came out fabulously. Boy requested nuts, so I also added nuts (what can I say? I’m a pushover). I’ve added these edits below in bold.
Go ahead, dig in.
Recipe (adapted from Brown Eyed Baker, from Cook’s Illustrated, March & April 2010 issue)
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional; I omitted this)
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons boiling water (I nuked mine for 2 minutes)
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (I used 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips)
4 tablespoons (½ stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2½ cups (17½ ounces) sugar
1¾ cups (8¾ ounces) all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces (Again, I used about 1/3 cup dark chocolate chips)
1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving about a one-inch overhang on all sides. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve. Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.