Having just hung up from a phone conversation with Pops, in which I whined about my flat stuck-to-the-foil brownies, I decided to try one.
You see, I’ve been so inspired by a recently-found local blog The Bitten Word, in which two fellows brilliantly document food magazine recipe successes and flops. It, along with Cooking After Five, is one of my new favorite food blogs. When Bon Appetit arrived in the mail yesterday, it was hard to resist
drooling gazing at the Best-Ever Brownies on the cover.
You may recall I have a baking phobia. Rightly so, from my past experiments. I am encouraged from those old tales that people can either cook or bake. One of the most brilliant pastry chefs with whom I worked (when I was a professional baker; ironic, I know) could not cook himself dinner. This made me feel better.
But these brownies! Ingredients in our cupboard! Moist chocolate-y goodness! Straightforward recipe! How could I not believe this would be my baking redemption?!
Spoiler Alert: My dessert came out distressingly flat and practically glued to the foil. Call me stubborn for resisting the nonstick pan spray?
Brown-Butter Cocoa Brownies
Bon Appetit, February 2011
Prep time: 20 minutes, Baking time: 25, Cooling time: longer than you’d like
nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 tbsp. unsalted butter (1 1/4 sticks), cubed
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp. unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces (though I instead sprinkled chopped peanut-butter chips over the top immediately over baking)
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325 F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray (I used cold butter, which was only somewhat-successful).
Have all the ingredients measured and ready to go for this recipe!
Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 tsp. water, vanilla, and 1/4 tsp. (generous) salt. Stir to blend.
Let cool 3 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes (or, okay, until it’s all mixed). Stir in nuts (if using),. Transfer to prepared pan.
Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. If you like my idea of adding peanut-butter: chop 2 tbsp. peanut-butter chips with a large knife, and sprinkle over brownies immediately after removing from the oven. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into four strips. Cut each strip crosswise into four brownies.
Can be made two days ahead; store airtight at room tempterature.
Okay, here’s the deal: there’s aren’t the brownies you can eat from the pan. They really need substaintial time to cool, and once they do… oooooooooooooooooooooh my. Rich and fudgy, you need to taste for yourself.