I made: Brownies

Just a general reminder: this is not a recipe blog, but rather a place for me to record my baking efforts and personal thoughts and notes as I make things.  For easier reference guides, please check the original links I post.

I have a vague hope of getting through all the recipes I’ve saved in my “want to bake” folders.  One of the earliest was this classic brownie, adapted from a Cook’s Illustrated recipe.  I can’t remember the last time I made brownies from scratch, if I’ve ever even done so.  Brownie mixes are pretty straightforward, and usually yield good results.  So to go to the effort to make it in a fancy way, it better be worth it.

How to make:

  • Prep: preheat oven to 325.  Line 13×9 baking dish with aluminum foil and spray.
  • Toast 1 cup chopped nuts on a baking sheet in oven.  (I used 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup pecans.)
  • Combine dry ingredients: 1 1/4 cups cake flour, 1/2 tsp salt, 3/4 tsp baking powder.
  • Potentially tricky part: melt 12 tbsp (1 1/2 sticks) butter and 6 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped, in a pan on the stove.  Hot take (lol): I know you’re supposed to use a “double boiler” in a stove chocolate situation.  However, I’ve always found that if you melt the butter first, chop chocolate finely, and keep the heat very very low, you can avoid the fussiness of a double boiler and just deal with the whole thing directly in a saucepan.  (Also, I didn’t have 6 oz of unsweetened chocolate, so I used about 3 oz of unsweetened and 3 oz of semisweet chips).
  • Once chocolate is completely smooth, remove from heat and add 2 1/4 cups sugar. (In theory I could have reduced the sugar, since I had semisweet chocolate… but I didn’t haha).
  • Add 4 eggs and 1 tbsp vanilla extract, whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Add dry ingredients in 3 additions, folding until completely mixed.
  • Transfer batter to prepared pan and smooth.  Sprinkle nuts on top.
  • Bake for 30-35 minutes until toothpick comes out mostly clean.  (I ended up going for a full 40 minutes.)
  • Remove and cool for at least 2 hours before removing from pan.  (This seemed like a lot… I was able to remove with no observed ill effects after about an hour.)

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OVERALL NOTES:

  • These are some good brownies.  My husband, who is generally a snob about chocolate and pretends he doesn’t like it, ate three of these and pronounced them edible.
  • The most annoying part was that it took a little more elbow grease than I wanted to actually mix it all together.  My arm hurt.

NEXT TIME:

  • I would DEFINITELY make these again.  I am happily taking a box to my advisor as a thank-you present, and I’m pretty pumped about how much her kids are going to like them.
  • Probably would be just as good without the nuts, I might try that next time.
  • I need to bust out my hand mixer.  I’ve gotten very dependent on the stand mixer, which is generally preferable.  However, for this particular recipe, given the amount of mixing in a saucepan on the stove, the electric hand mixer would have been perfect.

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