Chocolate symbolizes, as does no other food, luxury, comfort, sensuality, gratification, and love.
― Karl Petzke and Sara Slavin
Today is my husband’s birthday, and to mark the occasion, I chose to bake something chocolatey. I came across this recipe that I knew he would love, so move over birthday cake, and make room for birthday brownies! I wanted to bake a special treat and these certainly are!! These made-from-scratch brownies are utterly decadent, intensely rich and dense and are best eaten with a glass of ice-cold milk. I added a little bit of ground cinnamon since I know Chris loves a touch of it with chocolate.
This recipe is from Baked, a bakeshop in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn, NY. This cute little shop, which opened in 2005, now has a sister location in Charleston, South Carolina. So far, the bakeshop has spawned two cookbooks and a national line of mixes that is carried by Williams-Sonoma. Baked can even ship your order nationwide via their website. If that isn’t enough, the “baked” brownie has been named one of Oprah Winfrey’s favorite things. If Oprah deems it a favorite, then you know it’s got to be absolutely delicious!
These brownies were made the two best ingredients – lots of love and even more chocolate.
Happy birthday, Chris!
The “Baked” Brownie
Yields 24 brownies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate chips)
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon coffee extract (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper, with a couple of inches overhang in two sides of the pan to facilitate easier removal of brownies after baking.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, cocoa powder, and cinnamon. Set aside.
Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large heatproof bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water. Stir occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Remove from the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the saucepan. If needed, cool mixture to room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and coffee extract and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift out of the pan using the hanging edges of the parchment. Cut brownies into squares and serve. To cut brownies with a clean edge, place in the refrigerator for about 15 minutes to let the fudgy center firm up.
The brownies keep, in an airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days.
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.
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