Monday, April 20, 2009


The hubby and I dubbed the weekend as our Return to Normalcy. We put in a few intense nights last week, hauling all our basement belongings back to their rightful spots. Our upstairs is now blessedly clean and spacious. I laid down on the clean floor and rolled as best I could from one end to the other.

I like spacious.

And it's yet another busy week (are they ever not busy anymore?), including supper with my work team tomorrow night. It's a potluck, and I'm bringing a dessert, because I'm really only hungry for dessert anymore. My appetite is unpredictable at best and, well, just downright finicky otherwise. I have a 3-year-old's dream diet.

So brownies, it is. Now, while I'm completely a chocolate person, I'm not really a chocolate-flavored person. There's a big distinction. Chocolate chips are chocolate; chocolate frosting is not. Hershey's kisses are chocolate; chocolate cake is not. Brownies are a gray area for me. If they're cakey, frosted, light brown, or don't include chocolate chips, they're out for me. No question. But if they're dense, rich, fudgy, and full of extra chocolate, well, I'm all over that like cheese on a pizza.

This is, hands down, the best brownie recipe I have ever tried. It's a slight modification of a Barefoot Contessa recipe (which all seem amazing, to me), and while it takes some extra effort, these brownies are worth it.

They are, uh, not exactly good for you. But when viewing the quantities of ingredients, keep in mind that this makes a half-sheet pan (something in the vicinity of 12"x18"). Which makes it all OK. Right? Right.

Makes 20-30

4 sticks butter
2 2/3 c. plus 2 c. semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
1 Tbsp. instant coffee granules
2 Tbsp. vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. sugar
1 c. plus 1/4 c. flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 12"x18" pan with cooking spray.

2. In a large saucepan, melt butter, 2 2/3 c. chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate until thoroughly combined. Let cool slightly.

If you follow instructions well, you'll chop those big bars of unsweetened chocolate into smaller pieces before adding them to the pan. I'm too impatient to do this, and I regret it every time. They're always the last to melt, and you don't want to bite into a chunk of unsweetened chocolate.

3. In a large bowl, stir eggs (don't beat them), and combine with coffee, vanilla, and sugar. Add chocolate. Cool mixture to room temperature.

Be sure the lick the chocolate spoon thoroughly after you empty the saucepan. It's gooood. And messy. I got a bunch on my face, and the hubby took a pic with his cell phone so he can send it to our friends at his whim. Why? Because that's what the hubby does.

What? You never received the cell phone pic of me in a hospital mask with the messy hair when I was in the emergency room with an infection last year? You're the only one.

4. Add 1 c. flour, baking powder, and salt to batter. Stir to combine.

5. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 c. flour and 2 c. chocolate chips.

The flour helps them float better in the brownie batter, so they don't all sink. Neat, huh?

6. Add the chips to the batter and combine. Pour batter in pan and spread out.

7. Bake 20 minutes. Rap the baking sheet against the oven rack to remove the air pockets (making the brownies more dense). Bake an additional 15 minutes. Cool before serving.

Yes, I had to try one. It ... fell out of the pan.

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