Thursday, September 27, 2012
Chocolate is a necessity. A nibble in the afternoon or a square or two after dinner adds just the right touch of sweetness to the day. Sometimes, though, getting that chocolate fix demands I bite into something a bit more rich and indulgent. At those times, I whip up a quick batch of brownies to hit the spot.
Ah, brownies: cakey, gooey, frosted, plain or everything in between, there is always a place for them. I love brownies with an intense chocolate flavor and a smidgen of flour, landing them squarely in the fudge-style camp.
These velvet brownies are a bit elegant, like a chocolate confection, with a dense, smooth texture. The batter is thick and voluminous, almost like a frosting or chocolate mousse. Eggs are whipped full of air and then mixed with butter, unsweetened chocolate, espresso powder, vanilla, sugar and flour. The finished brownies are not very sweet (think of a dark chocolate bar) and with each nibble more rich chocolate flavor emerges. Cut into small squares, they are little chocolate morsels to savor.
These brownies certainly hit that need-a-chocolate-fix spot. And I love that they are quick and easy to make with quality ingredients. I like my treats to be less sweet, but you can increase the sugar a bit if you prefer. A sprinkling of flaky sea salt on top would complement the chocolate nicely, too.
P.S. October is almost here, which means it’s time for October Unprocessed! Andrew Wilder created this fun challenge which gives us the opportunity to think about our food choices and how we can “un-process” the way we eat. I was inspired last year by the recipes and discussions from the month long challenge and can’t wait to learn more. I’m delighted to be writing a guest post on Andrew’s website for this year’s October Unprocessed challenge, as well. Come join me in taking the October Unprocessed pledge!
Makes 1 - 9x13 inch pan (the brownies can be cut quite small to feed a crowd)
8 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate bar or discs, roughly chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) organic butter (preferably pastured for those Omega 3s – the pastured butter I use is lightly salted)
1 tablespoon espresso powder
8 eggs, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon kosher salt (increase to 1 1/2 teaspoons if using unsalted butter)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons vanilla
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan.
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the unsweetened chocolate, butter and espresso powder together over very low heat, stirring often. Remove from the heat and set aside to let cool to room temperature.
In a standing mixer, use the whisk attachment to beat the eggs on high speed until they are pale yellow and thick, about 2-3 minutes (you can also use a hand held electric mixer). In a separate bowl, stir the sugar, kosher salt and flour together. Add this mixture to the eggs and whisk until mixed. Pour in the cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla and mix on a high speed until the batter is airy and thick, about 3-4 minutes.
Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. The brownies will puff up a bit and a tester should have a couple of moist crumbs on it (be careful not to over bake). Remove from the oven and let cool. The brownies will keep for a few days on the kitchen counter well sealed.