Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Want to Come Over for Coffee?

Oh... I just love sweets. I wish I was one of those naturally thin people. I'd have sweets every day. My home would smell like chocolate & coffee all day long.

So, my little one is home from school sick today, so I have decided to do something productive... the laundry. Only... I have to go upstairs to do that.

It is cold up there.

Maybe I should just warm the house up a bit more by baking something first. There is a brownie recipe I'd like to try. Before I knew it, I was busy making brownies and haven't looked back. Of course, if I make something, I have to blog about it. SOOOOO..... I'm sitting on my butt with a big pile of laundry wondering where my intentions went.

Don't you want to come have some coffee and brownies???? Help me procrastinate!

I'm going to dig right in!

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Special equipment: An 8-inch square baking pan (I used a round, springform pan)

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. (I just sprayed PAM in the pan)

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. (I skipped this... I put the first four ingredients in the microwave for about a minute). 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.

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.
(ha! Are you kidding? I mixed it with my Kitchen Aid). Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan. (Didn't use nuts)

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack. (I cooked mine 26 minutes)

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

Chocolate note: Any unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well here. Natural cocoa produces brownies with more flavor complexity and lots of tart, fruity notes. I think it's more exciting. Dutch-process cocoa results in a darker brownie with a mellower, old-fashioned chocolate pudding flavor, pleasantly reminiscent of childhood.
I'll let you know later if they stand up to their name!

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