Friday, January 23, 2009

Baked: The Baked Brownie

About two months ago I bought a cookbook called Baked with the recipes from a bakery in Brooklyn with the same name. Everything looked stunning, but when I got to the recipe for The Baked Brownie, I knew I had to try it. This brownie has been lauded by everyone it seems, including Oprah and the Today show. I even ordered a special box of Valrhona cocoa powder to use.

And the taste? I will admit they are pretty rich. My coworkers loved them. But having tried Ghirardelli's recipe for brownies also, these don't seem that much more spectacular. With all the hoopla, I was, frankly, expecting a mind-blowing experience. Without the hoopla, yeah, these are pretty good brownies.

The Baked Brownie
From Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with parchment paper.  In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder together.

Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and whisk just until combined. Add the vanilla extract and stir until combined. Don’t overmix at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.  Add the flour mixture to the chocolate mixture and fold until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.

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