Brownies are rich, delectable treats which every chocolate fan will love. I still recall my very first time baking brownies. A schoolmate of mine came by with a box of delicious, fudgy, crumbly brownies and won over the hearts of the entire class. The taste still lingers, the memory etched firmly in my mind.
It's been a year since I last baked brownies. I've always wondered why the top of my brownies always turned out hard while the centre and bottom remained moist. This has always been attributed to the high sugar content in this little brown bites. The mystery was eventually solved when I bought myself a new non-stick brownie baking pan. The secret lies in the even distribution of the heat in the oven. The disposable aluminium trays that I'd been using just couldn't serve this purpose well. And boy, did my new investment serve me well. It definitely did.
Scouring through my brownie recipes, I was torn between replicating the brownies I had in school versus the classic brownies recipe in my new baking bible. Eventually, I chose the latter. I've been coveting this book for a pretty long time after reading all the raves and reviews on it. I got it as a gift, thanks to a lovely boy who remembered how much I wanted this. It's really a lovely read, the recipes clear and detailed with little tips by the side to guide bakers along. I just can't wait to try out the rest of the recipes in this book.
These brownies turned out very well, just like how I'd like them. Fudgy, not cakey, with a deep chocolate flavour. The type of chocolate used is central to its taste. In this case, I used high-quality Swiss chocolate in a dark chocolate and milk chocolate combination. In classic brownies, dark chocolate rules. I firmly believe in that. This version was made to please the tastebuds of non-dark-chocolate lovers, hence the adaptation.
The espresso powder that I used for the first time, really adds to the "kick" in these brownies. Strongly recommended, though optional.
The recipe yields 16 brownies, firm on the top yet not rock hard like how it used to turn out for me, while the inside is moist, rich and fudgy. My love for brownies has just been rekindled with this very experiment.
adapted from Baking from my home to yours (by Dorie Greenspan)
5 tablespoons unsalted butter
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 ounces milk chocolate
1/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder (optional, but recommended)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour
1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8" square baking pan with foil, butter the foil and place the pan on a baking sheet.
2. Set a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Put the butter in the bowl, top with the chopped chocolates and stir occasionally until the ingredients are just melted. Remove the bowl from the pan of water.
3. With a whisk, stir in the sugar. The mixture will turn grainy. Then add the eggs, one at a time and stir till well incorporated. Add the vanilla and give the ingredients a vigorous whisk before gently stirring in the espresso. Slowly incorporate the salt and flour and mix till just incorporated.
4. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top with a rubber spatula.
5. Bake the brownies for 30 minutes or until the top is dull and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool the brownies to room temperature.
6. When the brownies are completely cool, turn out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares, each about 2 inches wide.
Yields 16 brownies.