Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Anatomy of an Outrageous Brownie

 My name is M. and I'm a Chocoholic!!!
But I think I can live with that!!! Please tell me if you're not addicted as well. And if you claim not, I dare to say YOU LIE!!! Let's face it,  if you are to be addicted to something (and most of us are) it should be this wonderful thing called Chocolate. So far, the longest living woman Jeanne Louise Clement of France, who lived well passed 122 years, attributed her good looks and health to port wine, olive oil and chocolate, which she ate every week in amounts of no less than 2lbs!!!  Two pounds every week???!!!! Piece of brownie....I mean cake, I can do that!!!
With great variety of chocolates available these days, it seems to be easier then ever. And some of us, seriously obsessed, treat it like finest scotches or wine, knowing its percentages, origins, plantations, cuveé(s), grand cru(s), premier cru(s), textures and aftertastes.
If you decide to splurge on that highly priced chocolate bar you should also know how to enjoy its every bite. First carefully break off a small piece, smell it, notice all the aromas..... then let it sloooowwwly  dissolve in your mouth.... instead of wolfing it down, brace yourself!!! I know it's hard but this way you will get so much more for your buck. And if you can pair it with ruby port or red zinfandel wine, you're right there....in a place called chocolate heaven!!! To me high quality chocolate can be easily compared to jazz, it will  crazily play all your taste buds, whereas not so great one will leave you with just a dull tap. But enough.... I think I've already proved my chocolate insanity, let's talk about some outrageously tasty brownies here.

shopping list+anatomy poster and some directions:
  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 ounces unsweetened, good quality chocolate
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules or brewed espresso
  • 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar, I usually use only 2cups
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3 cups chopped walnuts +1/2cup cocoa nibs(optional but you will love it!!)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake!!! I can not stress this enough if you want some soft, chewy brownies.  Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares

adapted from Ina Garten's "Barefoot Contessa", original recipe from NY's SoHo Charcuterie Restaurant

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