Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Triple Chocolate Brownies

Brownies - they're the ubiquitously loveable treat. Do you know a single person who doesn't love brownies? Whether they are fudgy, cakey, studded with nuts and the like, or pure chocolate decadence, brownies are a hit and welcomed most everywhere. So it behooves me that the perfect homemade brownie recipe is so elusive. By now, I'd call myself a seasoned baker and up until last week, whenever a brownie urge struck, I'd reach for that boxed mix that I have made a "staple" in my pantry.
Well, I now think I've found the perfect recipe.. And it's been sitting on my bookshelf all this time. It's really magical in the sense that it's great for both the cakey brownie lover as well as the fudgy brownie lover. Just a matter of minutes in the oven separates the two. The key to a fudgy brownie (my favorite) is to underbake the batter by just a few minutes. For the cakey brownie, you would bake it through entirely.

This recipe is from one of my favorite cookbooks, another staple in my kitchen: Baking Illustrated. This Triple Chocolate Brownie recipe is loaded with three kinds of chocolate - unsweetened chocolate, semi-sweet/bittersweet chocolate, and cocoa powder. I didn't use unsweetened chocolate, since I didn't have any. Rather, I used  a combination of semisweet and bittersweet chocolate. If you do this, make sure to reduce the sugar by 1/4 cup. And, of course, remember that the better quality chocolate you use, the better the resulting brownie will be.

These brownies are chocolatey and develop a nice crisp top which gives way to a rich and chewy interior. Pour yourself a tall glass of ice cold milk and you're good to go.
Time really does fly. It seems like just yesterday I was writing my opening post introducing you to my new blog. Well, next week marks the one year blogaversary of Leelabean Cakes! As you can see from my site, I've done a little revamp and I hope you enjoy the new layout. Come back next week to see what I have in store for the celebration of this blogging milestone!

Triple Chocolate Brownies
(adapted from Baking Illustrated)

5 oz semisweet, bittersweet chocolate (or any combination thereof)
2 oz unsweetened chocolate (I didn't use this ingredient. Instead, I used 7 oz of semi- and bittersweet chocolate)
8 T (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3 T cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1 1/4 c sugar (if you do not use unsweetened chocolate, use only 1 cup of sugar)
2 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt
1 c all-purpose flour
3/4 c chopped nuts, chocolate chips, or any other add-in (optional)

Preheat your oven to 350F. Adjust a rack in your oven to the highest rung in the lower third of your oven. Coat an 8" square baking pan with cooking spray and then line it will parchment paper that overhangs from two opposite sides of the pan, so the brownies will be easy to pull out. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray.
Melt the chocolate and butter over a double boiler until it is melted and smooth. Using a whisk, add the cocoa. Let this mixture cool for a few minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt until well combined (about 15-20 seconds). Add the slightly cooled chocolate mixture and mix to incorporate. Then add the flour with a wooden spoon or a spatula.
Pour the mixture into the prepared square baking pan and smooth the top with an offset spatula. Bake the brownies for about 27-29 minutes (for chewy brownies) and 35-37 minutes (for cakelike brownies). For chewy brownies, the readiness factor is a toothpick inserted into the middle of the pan with several wet crumbs on it. This will set up to a fudgy brownie when allowed to cool. The cakelike brownies will have just a few dry crumbs on your toothpick when inserted into the brownies.
After letting the brownies cool for about 2 hours (they must be at room temperature), remove the brownies using the parchment overhang. Transfer them to a cutting board and cut as desired. I made 16 brownies out of this batter.
These brownies can be stored at room temperature for up to 3 days or refrigerated for up to 5.

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