Monday, January 21, 2008

Special Brownies

...ehem, not THOSE special brownies, but still pretty special. I found this recipe and made them for a birthday party, about half actually made it to said party.
They are very good, moist but not super chewy, with a heavy chocolate flavor. The edges were pleasantly crisp but not super hard and dried out (a brownie killer in my book).
I didn't use the espresso powder (didn't have, couldn't buy) so I substituted cinnamon and a little cayenne hoping for a little extra punch. Maybe I should have used more because I couldn't taste it, or maybe I just didn't notice because I didn't make non-spiced brownies for comparison. So if you are a timid spicer, don't worry about this amount, it's pretty tame.
Also of note: I only had 5 eggs for the double batch I made, so I substituted meringue powder and water (as directed on container) for the remaining three and they still turned out great!

Spiced Brownies
Adapted from: King Arthur Flour Recipes
Makes 24 2" brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa (I used mix of Hershey's Special Dark and Droste)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon espresso powder (optional)
1 tsp cinnamon (or 2 if you like)
dash cayenne powder
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans (optional but in my book totally necessary)

Preheat oven to 350F and grease a 9x13" pan.
In a small saucepan melt the butter over low heat. Stir in the sugar off the hat to melt as much as possible. Return to low heat and stir often until shiny but NOT bubbling.
Transfer to large mixing bowl and mix in vanilla, espresso powder, spices, cocoa, salt and baking powder with electric mixer. Beat in eggs one at a time until well combined, then stir in flour and nuts until just combined.
Pour batter into pan, spread into corners and smooth out top, put pan in oven, lick spoon/spatula/bowl clean. Seriously the best brownie batter I've ever put in my mouth...did I just say that out loud?
Bake 28-30 min until toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs. Let pan cool before cutting.

Tips for cutting pretty brownies: just wipe your knife clean with a damp paper towel after every cut, and cut in a downward motion instead of just dragging the knife through. Another way to do it would involve flipping the pan onto a cutting board, hoping the brownies fall out in one piece, then use a pizza cutter. I'll try that next time.

No comments: