I had about 20 mins until a cousin dropped in for dinner and I had a sudden urge to bake brownies.
So while I waited for T to navigate the end of day traffic I grabbed a bowl and some simple pantry staples and whipped up a batch of these delicious, decadent brownies. We had some warm from the oven after dinner with ice cream and I ( hesitantly) wrapped up the rest for him to take back.
Did I say one bowl is all I used? One bowl in which to melt butter in the microwave and mix up the other ingredients with a spoon. No need to break out my fancypants stand mixer. I see myself baking these many, many more times.
Best Cocoa Brownies
Recipe source: Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet from smittenkitchen here
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 5 ounces or 141 grams) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups (9 7/8 ounces, 280 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 7/8 ounces, 82 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt (or a heaping 1/4 teaspoon flaky salt, as Deb suggests)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (66 grams, 2 3/8 ounces) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
( I used my silicone cupcake molds instead)
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. (I just put it all in a medium size Pyrex bowl and microwaved it 10 seconds at a time until the butter was melted, as Deb also suggests is ok.)
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me and Deb at least 10 minutes longer to get them set and for the bottom to get a little crisp -just the way I like it :) . Let cool completely on a rack. (Deb goes further and puts her's in the fridge or freezer for a while; to get them to cut with clean lines.)
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
As you may have noticed I used my mini cupcake molds filled about one fourth instead since I didn't feel like messing around with lining. I placed the molds on my digital scale to make sure I was spooking equal amounts of batter- about 50 gms into each so they all were the same size and bake evenly. I got exactly 16 two bite size brownies. The easiest way to spoon the batter is to use two spoons one with the batter and the other to scoop it into the mold. Sometimes I use an ice-cream scoop.
Verdict: Rich, decadent without being overly so, crispy outsides and chewy on the inside as all good brownies must be. Alice and Deb certainly don't disappoint! The reason they are real winners are that they take so little time, effort and ingredients to make ( not to mention fewer dishes to clean!). A definite keeper recipe that will be made often- everytime I'm craving my chocolate fix :) And oooh the possibilities- nuts, choco chips, orange extract, cheese, caramel, peanut butter cups....some body stop me!
Am sending these brownies over to Divya for her brownie event!