TWD: French Chocolate Brownies


*Note to self: Let brownies cool before taking pictures, they would look less messy!

Wow. Just wow. With all due respect to Ina’s Outrageous Brownies, these French Chocolate Brownies have trumped and become my all-time favorite brownie recipe. Many thanks to Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook for choosing this week’s recipe – what a fantastic job you did!!

These brownies were created in a pretty non-traditional way in terms of brownies. The eggs and sugar were whisked together in the stand mixture, and then the dry ingredients were added, followed by the melted chocolate/butter combination. In truth, Dorie states that when she created these she was aiming for a chocolate cake, not brownies. But wow, did she nail the brownies! These are dense, moist, insanely chocolatey, and just about everything you could want from a brownie. I couldn’t stop eating pieces off of them each time I walked into the kitchen!

This recipe says it yields 16 brownies, and after cutting these into 16 pieces I’m convinced that Laurie was right – these are French-size brownies, not America’s super-sized variety that we’re used to ;-)

Oh, you will note there are raisins in the recipe, pretty a-typical for a brownie. I skipped these as I only had a handful of raisins left and wanted to hoard them for my oatmeal ;-)

Recipe and some process photos after the break…

French Chocolate Brownies
(Source: Dorie Greenspan “Baking: From My Home to Yours pages 92-93)

-Makes 16 brownies-

Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them-it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated-you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds-the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.


(This batter was almost like a mousse when it was done being mixed, and very light in color)


(Look at all of those air bubbles!)

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.


(These brownies ended up with a thin crispy layer on top and rose significantly during baking and then subsequently caved in after cooling slightly!)

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside-good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

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40 Responses

  1. Your brownies look wonderful! Every Tuesday morning, I gain 10 lbs just blog hopping! LOL!! I agree, this are awesome!

  2. Nice that you liked them! Hope you enjoyed your oatmeal too!

  3. And that’s why the French are so skinny – I’ll stick with my American sized portions though!

  4. Wow…. holy fudge! Those do look amazing and I’m always on the look out for brownie recipes. Thanks for sharing!

  5. You know, I love your messy photo. I like my brownies warm so I expect them to look a little ragged. Everything look so yummy!

  6. I wouldn’t change a thing. I like the warm brownie look! So pretty!

  7. I kept eating pieces every time I walked into the kitchen too. I couldn’t help myself, they were so good!

  8. I’m there with you…Ina’s brownies are hard to resist, but there is something special about this recipe. I think your opening photo looks fantastic…not messy at all!!!!

  9. For me as a European the size was just right ;-)… Your step by step pictures are great and in the first picture the brownies don’t look messy.

    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  10. These look absolutely amazing! I would love to dive into one right about now (topped with ice cream perhaps).

  11. They look great Chelle!

  12. Good to hear that you liked them so much, I did too. Love your batter photographs.

  13. i must agree with you. this is a reallie good recipe! in fact it could be top on my list as well!

    Good job on the brownies!

  14. Ok, ok, I think you’ve all just about convinced me to give these another go – I’m still a bit too traumatized yet, but I’ll get there for sure. Your brownies look awesome!

  15. The mousse-y batter is so unique!

  16. Wow, yours really caved in – perfect excuse to load them up with fruit or ice cream! :)

    They look delicious!

  17. They look wonderful even though they caved;)

  18. these were so easy to keep eating the crumbs and fallen pieces off of…i have a little container with just the crumbles…YUM!!! yours look fab!

  19. I am going to have to make up for not trying these! They look great even if they were warm when you cut them.

  20. Yum your brownies look delicious and fudgey! I patiently waited to cut mine until the next morning (which usually I don’t do) so they wouldn’t be so messy when I cut them.

  21. Yours look so moist and fudgy! Yum!

  22. I keep sampling mine as well. =) If you get a chance, try them with the raisins–they’re surprisingly good. In fact, the one thing I’d change is to add more raisins next time.

  23. Hahaha… I didn’t let my brownies cool before photos either!
    Yours still look great though! :)

  24. usually i think dorie’s serving sizes are outrageously big (whole pies & cakes that only serve 6!), but i agree that she was skimpy on the portions for these! yours look really good inside, and the batter–OMG!

  25. omg chelle these look awesome. brownies are easily one of my favorite desserts and i love trying new recipes. i need to try this one!

  26. WOW! And trumping Ina’s brownies is huge! I agree!!

  27. p.s. you’ve been tagged :-)
    Check out my blog!

  28. I never thought I’d have a go-to recipe for brownies, but I think this is it.

  29. Job well done, they look great!

  30. Wow, chelle these look awesome! I thought they were delicious too!

  31. Your brownies look fabulous! So fudgy.

  32. HAHA! Thats hilarious about “french size brownies”! I was thinking the same thing when I was trying to cut 16 when there was clearly only 9! Great job! :)
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  33. I must be fully European-ized, cause I cut my pan into even smaller pieces! LOL! ;-)

  34. They look fudgey and delicious!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  35. Mine also had a mousse like texture. I am glad to know someone else’s turned out that way. I know I whipped the eggs too much, but I like it the way it turned out, so I will probably whipp them again the same amount of time.

  36. I don’t know… you fresh from the oven brownies darn near have me drooling on my keyboard. Great job!

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  38. Yum! Your brownies look freakin’ amazing and that’s saying a lot since I wasn’t a fan of them. I’m glad you liked them!

  39. great job! your brownies look so moist and fudgy!

    i’ve seen such a variety of crusts…some paper thin like regular brownies and some really thick like mine…yours looks in between kinda :)

  40. I love the way your brownies look. I’ll definitely make these again, also.

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