Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: French Chocolate Brownies

This week’s selection was from Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook. When I saw the selection posted I went home to look up the recipe immediately. Everything looked good except the raisins. I love chocolate covered raisins but the thought of raisins in brownies wasn’t exciting me. Add that to the fact that I knew I’d be making these for guests who would probably not dig the addition of rum raisins and I decided to skip the raisins and the cinnamon. At some point I’ll probably make them again with the raisins just because I want to try flambé.

I used Ghirardelli 60% Caco Bittersweet Chocolate. I almost always use Ghirardelli for my baking needs because it’s not super spendy and I can chop it easily. It melted so nicely in my metal bowl and when I added the butter the smell of the chocolate and butter made me want to just dig in with a spoon. It was a fairly simple process to make them. Not too many steps and it all came together pretty quickly. I was using my 8” Pyrex square for something else so I used a 9” inch cake round to bake in. I thought that would be okay since in the recipe Dorie explains that the recipe was intended to be a cake at first. I baked them for about 5 minutes shy of the recommended time and they came out perfectly - with a crackled top. And the buttered foil helped them slide out very easily.

Since I had omitted the raisins I wanted to add something special to them on the side so I made homemade whipped cream (just heavy cream and super fine sugar) and raspberry coulis (raspberries, lemon juice, super fine sugar and a pinch of salt). The brownies alone were delicious, they were really light, not heavy the way some brownies can be. With the whipped cream and the coulis they were still great. Another thumbs up from my husband and from our dinner guests. A great recipe!

Next week it’s on to La Palette’s Strawberry Tart from Marie of A Year in Oak Cottage. I’ll be hitting the Memphis Farmer’s Market this Saturday for the strawberries.

French Chocolate Brownies
- makes 16 brownies -Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour1/8 teaspoon salt1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden1 1/2 tablespoons water1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces3 large eggs, at room temperature1 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.

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.

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.


Marie said...

Oh Yum!!! Your brownies look fantastic! I love the wedge shape to them! Welcome to the group and well done on your first challenge!!

kimberleyblue said...

Oh, I love the look of yours! And some raspberry coulis and mint? Pass it my way!

April said...

Looks delicious!

The Kitchen Vixen said...

wow gorgeous presentation!

Susie Homemaker said...

the round pan makes these look more special than just "brownies" - great job!

Christine said...

Your brownies look delicious!

Hygeian Stew said...

Everything is better with a bit of whipped cream on top. Looks great!

Rebecca said...

That first photo is ridiculously lovely. Good job!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

This is the first time I've visited your blog for TWD, so let me first say, welcome aboard! Your brownies look perfect, well done!

Mara said...

oooh i love the wedge shape...what a creative way to bake and cut them!! i did raspberry as well, with chambord! yummy!

Shari said...

Your wedge of brownie looks delicious with the splat of raspberry coulis. Delicious!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Jaime said...

beautiful plating! you ended up w/a much thinner crust on yours than i did!