Chocolate Brownies are an American dessert that is half cookie and half sheet cake. Often, brownies will be covered with a layer of chocolate fudge, but these brownies are so chocolaty that they hold their own without any special toppings.
For these brownies, I used John's Favorite Brownies recipe from the Scharffen Berger website. This recipe yields brownies that are moist and chewy when you first bit into them, but also feel like they melt in your mouth due to the high chocolate content.
Start by assembling 6 ounces (170 g) 70% cacao content chocolate (could be marked "dark" or "bittersweet"), 6 ounces (170 g) butter, 1 cup (125 g) all-purpose flour, 1-1/2 cup (300 g) granulated sugar, 3 large eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. [IMG]
Preheat the oven to 325°F (160°C). Butter a 9x13-inch pan. The pan can either be left as is, or dusted with flour or cocoa powder to help the brownies release after baking.
Break the chocolate into chunks. Cut the butter up and place both the chocolate and the butter into a double boiler or a metal bowl set on top of a pot with simmering water. Chocolate melts fairly easily, but can seize and burn when heated too high. Melting it over steam is an easy way to keep the temperature at a moderate level. Be careful not to introduce steam into the chocolate because too much water can also cause the melted chocolate to seize. [IMG]
Stir gently while the chocolate and the butter melt to help even melting. When all the chocolate and butter have melted, turn off the heat but keep the bowl over the hot water to keep the mixture warm and easy to work with. Stir to completely mix the butter and chocolate together. [IMG]
Lightly beat the eggs and the vanilla extract together. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the mixture and stir and fold until the eggs are blended into the chocolate. This step takes a little longer than the others because the egg will seem to try its best to stay separate from the chocolate. Using fast strokes to mix in the egg in the center of the bowl followed by a folding action to bring more egg into the center of the bowl works best for me. You also don't have to worry about the eggs curdling because the melted chocolate isn't that hot. Usually, when you introduce eggs to a hot liquid, you want to temper the eggs first (adding a little of the hot liquid to the eggs to help gradually bring the temperature of the eggs up) to prevent getting bits of scrambled eggs in your mix. With melted chocolate, this isn't a problem because the chocolate usually doesn't get hot enough. [IMG]
Add the flour to the batter and stir until all the flour is integrated. If desired, up to one cup of chopped nuts can be stirred in with the flour. [IMG]
Pour the batter into the buttered (and floured) baking pan. Using a smaller pan (such as an 8-inch square) will produce thicker and chewier brownies. The baking time may need to be adjusted to achieve the desired texture. [IMG]
The batter will be fairly thick, so you may need to help spread it with a spatula. Place the baking pan on a rack in the center position of the oven and bake for 35 minutes. [IMG]
To check if the brownie is done, insert a toothpick into the center of the brownie. It should come with with brownie crumbs on it and no batter. (If your toothpick comes up clean, then you might have over baked it. Remove, cool, cut, and call them Chocolate Brownie Cakes.) Let the brownies cool in the pan before cutting them into 2-inch (5 cm) squares. Because these brownies have a tendency to stick to your knife as you cut, use a little bit of (melted) butter on the blade to keep the brownie from sticking. If any chocolate does start to stick, wash the knife and reapply butter. If you don't, then more and more chocolate will stick to the knife and you'll end up tearing whole chunks of brownie up as you slice. [IMG]
Dark Chocolate Brownies (makes 24 squares)
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C) and butter a 9x13-in. baking pan
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I'm a music student on a budget (gadzooks!) and have been searching for some time for a brownie recipe that substitutes cocoa for (often expensive) chocolate. Has anyone found a recipe that's satisfactory? Obviously the same taste cannot be had, but surely someone must have figured out some decent ratios...
Posted: Tue Jan 31, 2006 6:35 pm Post subject: Party Idea
A great idea for a dinner party / party is to make brownie pops with a chocolate fondue.
Overcook the brownies just slightly so that they're firmer. Then use a cookie cutter to create small 1 to 1.5-inch round brownie bites, place them on long candy sticks, and serve them with a chocolate fondue (melt 12oz chocolate with 1/2cup heavy cream).
For every ounce of unsweetened chocolate, use 3 tablespoons of cocoa and 1 tablespoon of either vegetable shortening or butter.
I tried it and could not detect any difference in quality.
The reason being that chocolate is basically cocoa powder and cocoa butter which is a fat. So if you replace it with its separate components, there shouldn't be any significant difference in taste and flavor, hopefully.
Cayenne and other chiles have been added to chocolate for a very long time (think back to at least the previous inhabitants of the western world).
Some cayenne powder works great, as does many other chile varieties. Try what you're willing to go for.
Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 8:09 pm Post subject: Instant coffee granules
I haven't tried a spicy ingredient, but I find a tablespoon of instant coffee granues intensifies the chocolate flavour in various recipes, without giving the product an actual coffee/mocha flavour. Just mix the granules into your liquid ingredients to dissolve.
Joined: 18 Jan 2006 Posts: 6 Location: Grande Prairie, Alberta
Posted: Wed Feb 01, 2006 8:30 pm Post subject: Coffee and Chocolate
I've tried the instant coffee (espresso) in brownies before and I agree, it really brings out the chocolatey flavor without really giving it a coffee flavor. All depends on how much you put in, I suppose.
Joined: 10 May 2005 Posts: 1639 Location: Austin, TX (USA)
Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 1:45 am Post subject: Re: Cutting with buttered knife
I heard somewhere and can attest that using a pizza cutter works very well when cutting moist, sticky, brownies.
Yes, that's a great tip. To make this even easier, you can line baking pan with a sheet of parchment paper that is long enough to overhang the sides. After baking and cooling, pull up on the ends and lift the brownie out and onto a cutting board. Use a pizza cutter and section away!
Posted: Sat Feb 04, 2006 9:48 pm Post subject: My Version
I bought Baker's Unsweetened Chocolate squares. It didn't say 70% but there was no sugar. There were 8 blocks in the box. I don't like stuff left over so I was going to use all eight but I only used seven.
I am pre-diabetic on a hypoglycemic diet so I substituted Splenda for sugar and used whole wheat flour 50% and regular flour 50%. I added 1 1/2 cups pecans and 1 tsp of cayenne pepper.
My mixture looked dryer than yours, more like cookie dough. I used a spoon to flatten it.
They turned out a little dry and crumbly but good. I thought the raw mixture tasted more chocolatley than the cooked brownies. Next time I'll use 8 squares.