Thursday, June 16, 2011

Rich Homemade Brownies

Brownies. They seem so simple, but they're one of the best desserts in the world. Rich, dense fudge with just enough flour to allow it into the bread family... bliss. This is my second attempt at homemade brownies, and the first was too bad to discuss. After hearing several people say they'd never had a homemade brownie that was as good as the ones from the box, I decided to end my search. You know, the one that included one recipe so far. Then my friend Elizabeth (one of many Elizabeths in my life) gave me this. She's a reliable recipe source because she knows when something is worth repeating. These brownies are perfect. They're rich, moist, and satisfying. Also, they come together easily and bake up beautifully. The bottom line is that these are a win.

This is my fiftieth recipe post, and I can't think of anything better to share than a favorite from a friend. The giving of a recipe is special in that it provides regular reminders of others in the middle of what could otherwise become routine. I don't know what Elizabeth was doing yesterday afternoon, but I was in my kitchen thinking of her and counting myself blessed to have her in my life. The Lord has used her in many ways I won't discuss here, and my simple decision to make a batch of brownies made me stop and thank Him for her friendship.

Rich Homemade Brownies

2 sticks unsalted butter
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour (1 tbsp. is for tossing with chocolate chips.)
1/4 tsp. salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Melt butter and unsweetened chocolate together, stirring regularly. Transfer to a large mixing bowl, and let cool 10 minutes.

Whisk sugar, eggs, espresso, and vanilla in separate bowl, and add to chocolate mixture. Whisk in flour (minus 1 tablespoon) and salt. In a small bowl, combine chocolate chips with 1 tbsp. flour, and toss to coat. Fold into brownie batter.

Spread mixture in prepared 9x13 pan, and bake 25-30 minutes or until a tester comes out with crumbs but not wetness.

(For a version with nuts, fold in 6 oz. chocolate chips and 1 1/2 cups chopped nuts.)

You can see here why brownies from a box are so popular. Granted, if I'm using brownies as a base in a recipe for something else, I probably won't go to the trouble or expense of making them from scratch. But when I just want brownies that can stand alone in all their glory without begging for a topping of marshmallows and chocolate (Mississippi mud) or nuts, chocolate and graham crackers (s'mores), I'll skip the box. Here, flour's in a Measuring Cup, and I've got salt, vanilla, and espresso in Adjustable Measuring Spoons and Measuring Spoons. Eggs are in a 2-Cup Prep Bowl, and everything is on the Large Cutting Board. I'm going to use the 1.5-Qt. Saucepan for melting my butter/chocolate mixture, and a Stainless Mixing Bowl with the Stainless Whisk and Mix 'n Scraper will be where the magic happens.

Baker's chocolate is so easy to chop, and it makes me feel like I'm really doing something in the kitchen. I'm using the 5" Santoku Knife to cut this up, and the Handy Scraper makes it easy to transfer from the Large Cutting Board without missing or melting most of it. See how there are light spots on the chocolate? That happens if it's been opened a while, but it doesn't change the taste of texture. An expiration date, however... that would change the taste or texture, so pay attention to that. This discoloration is no big deal. Trust me 'cause I googled it.

While my chocolate is cooling a bit, I mixed up the rest of the ingredients and got them ready to go. The espresso/sugar concoction is in the Small Stainless Mixing Bowl, and my chocolate chips are tossed with flour in a Dots Pasta Bowl from the Simple Additions Collection.

I love how the Mix 'n Scraper ensures all my batter goes into the Rectangular Baker instead of the dishwasher. For anyone who argues against scraping out the bowl because she wants to lick the batter out herself, let me just say there's plenty on the scraper that can still be enjoyed. And that's a little friendlier to the hips instead of the 1/4 cup that was clinging to the Stainless Mixing Bowl a second ago.

After baking, I wasn't sure what I was going to get. Would the brownies be dry? Would they fall apart? How would they taste? Did I just waste my time and money? Then this happened. I'll give you a second to take it in.

This is the texture of a perfect brownie in my book. Look at the Rectangular Baker in the background, and pay special attention to the brownies' edges. They're not hard and gross! Thank you, Stoneware!

One more picture? Ok.

I highly encourage you to try this recipe if you're interested in rich, satisfying brownies. Then share the recipe with a friend so he or she will think of you when making them for years to come.

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  1. Those look delicious - it's a shame Northern Ireland ovens can't kick out 350 degrees though :P

    -Andrew (from Rathfriland)

  2. Andrew! Great to hear from you! Ha ha... I believe you need to set your oven to 177 Celsius, but check me before doing it! See you when I'm there in a couple of weeks!