*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-
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.