Wednesday, June 9, 2010

The Best Brownies

Alright, so I (Emily) know that I've been doing the bulk of the posting lately, and that the vast majority of said posts have involved baked goods of some sort or another. Allow me to take this moment to explain.

On July 1st, I am leaving the Twin Cities to spend two weeks with my family in Georgia.

On July 14th, I am leaving Georgia to spend two years with a bunch of strangers in China. (I'm one of 30 international teaching fellows who will join up with 30 Chinese teaching fellows to form the China Education Initiative's 2010-12 cohort. Eek!)

China doesn't really do the whole baking thing, and when I studied abroad in Beijing my junior year I remember my friend's Chinese roommate was unable to handle the sweetness of dark chocolate. In other words, in a little over a month I'm going to have to begin finding some way to compensate for my lack of baking delicious things on a regular basis. For the time being, I'm baking up a storm.

These particular brownies came about because I found a ghirardelli 100% cacao bar for $2.50 and couldn't resist, so I decided to make something extra special and went on a quest for "The Best Brownies." Of course, after half an hour's pouring over both cookbook and internet recipes, I didn't find anything that struck me as the ultimate chocolate treat. So instead of being reasonable and picking out one of what were probably several close seconds, I decided to have a baking adventure and make it up as I went along. It's quite simple and amazing. Also, I was so excited I forgot to take pictures, but it looks like a brownie when it's done. Trust me.

Chewy Chocolate Fudgy INCREDIBLE Brownies

  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate (1 ghirardelli baking bar)
  • 4 tsp. cocoa powder
  • 2 sticks butter (1 cup), softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 4 eggs, at room temperature
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 2 TBS cocoa powder
  • 2/3-3/4 cup chocolate chips
  • a pinch or so of salt
  • Melt the chocolate and 4 tsp. cocoa powder together. I used the double boiler method. Let it cool for at least 8-10 minutes.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F
  • Cream the butter and sugars together until well blended. You shouldn't see any "spots" of butter. Depending on how soft the butter is, this'll take anywhere from 1-5 minutes
  • Stir in the eggs one at a time, then add the vanilla extract.
  • Gently whisk or stir in the melted chocolate.
  • Stir in the baking powder and flour, then add the 2 TBS cocoa powder. Everything should be smooth and a rich brown.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips.
  • Pour the batter into a well-greased 9"x13" pan. It should be thick. You will need a spatula to get out the last of it. Spread the batter evenly, and sprinkle a little bit of salt over the top.
  • Bake for 25 minutes, checking after about 20. When a toothpick comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it, they're done.
  • Let the brownies cool in the pan, placed atop a baking rack.
In terms of cooling times, you can eat them as soon as 10 minutes after they come out of the oven, but I'd say wait at least half an hour. These brownies honestly didn't hit their peak until day 3--when they tasted almost as though they were spiked with some kind of liqueur, they were so flavorful and chocolaty. Truly amazing.

Oh, and you'll need some milk. Or water. Or ice cream. Or something!

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