Friday, July 31, 2009

The BAKED Brownie

If you're like me and you're really into food porn, then you've seen these brownies in the blogosphere a zillion times. And if you're not a food porn addict, then you might have either heard Oprah talking about them or writing about them in her magazine. These are her favorite brownies, apparently.

Even though I have about a trillion recipes bookmarked, printed out, post-it flagged, I knew it was only a matter of time that this recipe cut line. I made these over Father's Day weekend.

These brownies are good. My favorite? Nah. These are very similiar to my favorite though. They are thin and chocolatey and fudgy and borderline gooey. But, at least now I can cross this off my list. Now, I have about a 15 other recipes from the Baked cookbook that I want to try.

My favorite Brownie Recipe:
1st: Rich and Dark Brownies
Runner up: Dorie Greenspan's Tribute to Katharine Hepburn Brownies

The Baked Brownie
Yield: 24 brownies

"The Baked brownie is a beautiful thing. It has won the hearts and minds of many people, been featured on the pages of O Magazine as a favorite thing, and won best brownie by the folks at America’s Test Kitchen and the Today Show. Our brownie really owes many kudos to our friend and superstar pastry chef Lesli Heffler-Flick. She created the original ultimate brownie for us. It is dense, chocolatey, and slightly fudgy, and we are forever grateful to her for letting us adapt her recipe.

Baked Note: A great brownie is easy to make, but you have to be aware of several factors. 1. Use a dark cocoa powder, like Valrhona. A pale, light-colored cocoa does not have enough depth. 2. Make sure your eggs are room temperature and do not overbeat them into the batter, and 3. Make sure you check your brownies often while baking. Once the brownies have been overbaked slightly, they have reached the point of no return."

Ok, now my commentary...
These are easy brownies to make and they are really good. But don't be like me and take their words too literally. You want to make sure that the eggs are mixed into the batter. Otherwise, you'll end up with cooked egg whites on top of your brownies. Not attractive or tasty, but luckily easily removable.

1 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
11 ounces quality dark chocolate (60-72%), chopped coarsely
8 ounces butter (2 sticks), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 ½ cups sugar
½ cup light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9x13x2 pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.

Configure a large sized double boiler. Place the chocolate, the butter, and the instant espresso powder in the bowl of the double boiler and stir occasionally until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and combined. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water of the double boiler and add both sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined and remove the bowl from the pan. Mixture should be room temperature.

Add three eggs to the chocolate/butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until just combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not over beat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle the flour/cocoa/salt mix over the chocolate. Using a spatula (DO NOT USE A WHISK) fold the dry into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour/cocoa mix visible.

Pour the mixture into the pan and smooth the top with your spatula. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes (rotate the pan half-way through baking) and check to make sure the brownies are completely done by sticking a toothpick into the center of the pan. The brownies are done when the toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

Cool the brownies completely before cutting and serving.