Sunday, November 1, 2009

Good Old Fashioned Brownies

I volunteered to make brownies for my son's pre-school Halloween party. I always panic when I have to bake for a large group. This time, I wanted to make two pans full of brownies and naturally, I only had enough semi sweet chocolate to make one pan. I called my mother in law in a panic to see if she had any on hand and thankfully, she showed up on my doorstep bearing a bag of semi sweet chocolate chips. I had to keep the recipe simple. Not nuts of any kind were to be used, due to a student with allergies. As usual, I turned to my girl, Martha Stewart, for a suitable recipe. Two bits of advice - 1. It does matter what kind of chocolate you use in the recipe. For one pan, I used the semi sweet chocolate baking squares I had in the house. THAT pan was predominantly better than the pan made with the chocolate chips. Don't get me wrong, both pans were great, but the baking squares' pan had a little something extra. 2.  Your brownies will be cooked, just chewier if you only cook them for 30 minutes as opposed to 35 minutes. So, if you prefer the brownies chewier, shave off 5 minutes cooking time. Just check the brownies with a tooth pick to make sure that they are indeed cooked. Every oven is different, so my 30 minutes may be your 32 minutes. Served with a side of chocolate ice cream, these are sure to please.

Martha Stewart's Double Chocolate Brownies
Makes 9 large or 16 small squares
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for pan
6 ounces coarsely chopped good-quality semisweet chocolate
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process)
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper, allowing 2 inches to hang over sides. Butter lining (excluding overhang); set pan aside. Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa in a heatproof medium bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate are melted. Let cool slightly. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl; set aside. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and beat on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes. Add chocolate mixture; beat until combined. Add flour mixture; beat, scraping down sides of bowl, until well incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pan; smooth top with a rubber spatula. Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 35 minutes. Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes. Lift out brownies; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.

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