Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Baking Brownies: Or That Time I Used a Pound of Butter

I'm shocked you can't see them glistening from the butter.
I wanted something mega-chocolatey to provide a "healthy" alternative to my Maker's Mark Cupcakes this weekend, so I decided to find the most ridiculous brownie recipe possible. Shockingly, the recipe came from the Barefoot Contessa and not the Butter Queen Paula Deen (busting rhymes, dat's just how I roll). Normally, I'm not a huge fan of brownies, but these practically fudge desserts won me over and made me a believer (which is important since I'll likely have to meet my creator soon from the clogged arteries).

Modified from the Barefoot Contessa
Servings: 20-30 brownies
Time: 60 minutes

Now there's that shine I was talking about
1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
2 tbsp instant coffee granules
2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1-2 cups chopped walnuts

The finished batter
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F.
  2. Butter and flour a 12" x 18" x 1" baking sheet. Using a different size will cause the cooking time to vary.
  3. Melt the butter, 1 lb of chocolate chips and unsweetened cocoa in a metal bowl over simmering water. Allow it to cool a little.
  4. Stir the eggs, coffee, vanilla and sugar together in a large bowl. Make sure not to beat the eggs.
  5. Add the warm melted butter and chocolate to the egg mixture and stir. Let cool to room temperature.
  6. Sift 1 cup of flower together with the baking powder and salt and add to the cooled mixture. 
  7. Toss the walnuts and remaining chocolate chips in 1/4 cup of flour and add to the batter.
  8. Pour the batter into your buttered and floured baking sheet and cook for 20 minutes.
  9. Hit the baking sheet against the oven rack after 20 minutes to help remove air from between the pan and batter.
  10. Bake for an additional 15 minutes or until the toothpick test comes back clean. This is a tricky test because melted chocolate from the chocolate chips could provide a false negative result.
  11. Let cool then cut and serve.
Fortunately all the calories and fat were baked off in the oven. Yup, I'm pretty sure that's how science works.
Once I got past the absurdity of these brownies, I was ready to get down to business and help them fulfill their destiny. The first thing I noticed is the awesomely flaky tops (that's the butter at work). This leads to a surprisingly fudge-like center (again the butter) that stopped me in my tracks. On top of these two wonderful consistencies at play, you get a fantastic kick of coffee to go with all that wonderful chocolate which will help you stay awake as your body tries to shut down and go into a sugar coma.

Interestingly enough, the first piece to go was a center piece and not a corner.
I can only assume that everyone else agreed that these were some of the most delightful brownies ever judging by their rapid extinction (although the cinnamon cream cheese Maker's Mark cupcakes managed to move at warp speed).  Luckily, what would've obviously been an otherwise lame party (I mean seriously a party without brownies and cupcakes? Who would want to go to that?) was once again saved by my baking (and my always sweet dance moves).

My plan to move up in my company by giving all my coworkers heart disease continues!

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