Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Chocolate Craving

Although I am very veggie conscious and try to creatively cram as much vegetable matter in my food as possible, there are moments when broccoli is not simply not enough. I was desperately craving chocolate the other day, but the only chocolate I had was nestle cocoa powder, and all of the stores had closed in my desolate area of Brooklyn. Taking inspiration from a blog posting, I checked out their link to Epicurious and found that I had the ingredients they listed, although my chosen brand of cocoa powder was far from luxurious! The recipe is below:

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar (I used brown sugar - it was the only kind I had)
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process) (I don't know if Nestle Cocoa Powder is natural or dutch-process - probably neither!)
1/4 teaspoon salt (I didn't put in that much - just a couple turns on my salt mill)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (It's optional, and so I didn't use)
8-inch square baking pan

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula.

Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.

Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.

Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

The result? Very chocolate-y and dense! The batter before adding in the eggs smelled so so good - it was extremely tempting to scrap the whole project, add milk to the recipe and have hot chocolate instead. But then again, there's the guilt of knowing that you are drinking liquid butter and sugar. Mmm... something to consider when it gets colder out!

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