Saturday, July 3, 2010
I'm a Believer
I admit, this picture won't win any awards. What can I say, I'm a baker, not a photographer. But, these brownies definitely could win. They're called "The Best Cocoa Brownies" by Alice Medrich and are absolutely deserving of that title.
I've been wanting to make this recipe for quite a while now, especially since I've read so many rave reviews about it on numerous blogs. However, what with finals, moving to another state, and studying for a BIG exam that's coming up, there just hadn't been much time. But, since I volunteered to bring a dessert for my ward's Break the Fast activity after church tomorrow, I figured there's no time like the present.
This recipe starts off with melting butter in a double boiler, then adding sugar and cocoa powder to form a warm chocolaty bowl of pure heaven. That chocolate goo alone is irresistible. You'll be hard pressed to continue on past that step, but use all your will power to press on because the result is even better. You then let the mixture cool for a while before adding the eggs. After all, the last thing you want is scrambled egg brownies. Once it's cooled down a little, you add the eggs, then the rest of the ingredients and pour it all into a pan. Word to the wise, if you're using foil to line your pan, make sure you grease it, or that you use non-stick foil. Believe me, you'll know why you should if you don't do it. Then, bake it all up and prepare to be wowed.
I put mine in the fridge to cool them down faster. That, as well as a knife dipped in warm water, made them easier to slice. Then, I took a taste. And another. And another. They were *small* tastes. The brownies were to die for. Crackly tops, and perfectly rich, fudgy middles. One is definitely enough to satisfy even the largest chocolate craving. I will never use a box mix again! These are ten times, a hundred times better and just as easy and quick to make with ingredients that I'm sure you have in your kitchen right at this moment. Plus, there's no need to go out and buy a block of expensive chocolate to melt down for the batter. Nope, these are that fudgy from cocoa powder alone. Who could have ever thought such a miracle was possible? Not I. But, as my post title says, "I'm a believer now." And if you make these, you will be too.
Best Cocoa Brownies (from Smitten Kitchen and Alice Mendrich's Bittersweet)
10 Tbsp. butter
1 1/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. + 2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (any brand is fine)
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. flour
chocolate chips or nuts (optional - trust me, these brownies can stand alone)
Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment paper or non-stick foil.
Melt the butter in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water. Add the sugar and stir till combined. Add the cocoa powder. Take off the heat and let cool slightly until it is no longer hot. Add the vanilla. Add the eggs and stir vigorously. When the batter looks shiny and well-blended, add the flour and stir till you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon (I didn't really count). Add chocolate chips or nuts, if using. Spread in the pan.
Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, about 25-30 min. Let cool completely on a rack (but I threw mine in the fridge to cool them down faster). Slice into 16 squares.