Monday, February 13, 2012

cocoa brownies - recipe #6 of 7 days of sweets

Brownies out-of-a-box are SO easy to make so why bake them from scratch??? Well, these brownies are just as easy and delicious and you will thank me, the sophisticated gourmet and many others for sharing this recipe. Apparently these brownies have been all over the internet for quite some time. Where have I been? Under a rock because there is no way that something this good and easy goes under my nose without recognition. PS.....You're in for a minor workout and a major reward.

Best Cocoa Brownies
taken from the sophisticated gourmet via Alice Medrich's Bittersweet via Epicurious

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 10 slices
1 1/4 cups natural cane sugar or granulated sugar
3/4 plus 2 tablespoons (82 grams) cocoa powder ***I use the darkest, richest, highest quality Valrhona cocoa powder but any cocoa powder will taste just fine. You can also do a combination of cocoa powders. The pic below has a combo of Valrhona and organic Dutch processed cocoa powders.***
1 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt ***Do not use regular table salt. But if that's all you got, reduce the amount to 3/4 teaspoon table salt***
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (62 grams) whole wheat pastry flour, whole wheat flour, or all-purpose flour ***I used regular whole wheat flour***
2/3 cup toasted walnuts or pecans optional

Position rack in UPPER THIRD of your oven and preheat to 325°. Line bottom and sides of a 8 x 8 baking pan.

In a microwave safe bowl, melt butter. Add sugar, cocoa powder and salt. Mix with a wooden spoon or spatula. Mixture should be warm.

Stir in vanilla extract. Add COLD eggs one at a time. Stirring vigorously. When mixture is thick, shiny, well blended and smooth, add flour all at once. Stir until you can't see any flour, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes. 

***Yes, 40 stokes!!! A pre-workout before consumption. 40 vigorous strokes is almost impossible (but can be done, just use your muscles) because the batter gets super thick. I haven't tried this, but using your Kitchen Aid stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for the mixing process may make "beating vigorously" a lot easier****** 

Stir in nuts, if using. Spread out into pan.

Bake 20 - 30 minutes until toothpick inserted into center comes out slightly moist. ***All ovens are different. I baked my brownies for 35 - 40 minutes** Cool completely in pan. 

Carefully remove brownies from pan and remove parchment paper. Cut into squares or for Valentine's Day, use a heart shaped cutter.

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