Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Cake of the Week: Fudgy Brownies

Mmm, I love looking at pictures of delicious food. Whether you’re into Photograzing or Tastespotting, or if (even better) Eat, Run, Read is your source for mouthwatering inspiration, we can all appreciate the value of a little food porn. 

For those of you who check my blog on a regular basis, you may remember a certain picture of Fudge Brownies that appeared in my "Things I Want" list (see right sidebar) a couple weeks ago.

I’m not even a huge brownie person (more cake and cookies), but these babies – damn. I want.

I’m still not quite sure where I stand in the epic debate of box vs. homemade brownies…but I can attest to the fact that these were easy, and delicious! I appreciate that they didn’t require special kinds of melting chocolate (which I never have) – just your average Hershey’s cocoa powder does the trick (which I always have, due to its prominent position in my favorite chocolate cake). I did white chocolate chips rather than semi-sweet, just because that’s what I had on hand. I made the brownies the same time I made cupcakes, so I dressed them up a bit with the extra frosting. YUM!

I guess the only issue with brownies is that they don’t look that impressive – they’re delicious, but they don’t deliver the same wow-factor as a layer cake or multi-colored cupcakes. Oh well. Refer back to the delicious part…

One more thing, mine didn’t quite equal the fudgyness of the original picture. I halved the recipe, and I recommend if you do the same, you should only cook them for 20 minutes. Mine certainly weren’t overcooked or dry, just cakier than expected.

Variations to dress up your brownies:

-       Frosting and holiday sprinkles!

-       Frost with white frosting, then melt ½ cup chocolate chips in the microwave. Drizzle melted chocolate over frosting, and swirl with a knife for a marbled effect.

-       Substitute mint extract for the vanilla and add crushed candy canes or York Peppermint Patties to the batter.

-       Make them in mini-muffin cups for bronwnie-bites.

-       Add a chocolate kiss (or white chocolate, or mint chocolate or caramel – whatever) to the middle of the mini-muffin cup and then pour the brownie batter over it before baking. 

- Peanut butter cups, nuts, chopped up candy bars - any and all of the above!

- Sidenote: If you're vegan, check out this recipe for amazing vegan brownies!

Fudge Brownies

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter
  • 2 1/4 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

1.Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9×13 baking dish.

2. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter completely. Stir in sugar and continue cooking for 1-2 minutes, stirring constantly. Do not allow sugar mixture to boil.

3.  Pour butter mixture into a large bowl or stand mixer, beat in cocoa powder, eggs, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.

4. Stir in the flour and chocolate chips until well combined.

5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until a tester comes out mostly clean. The edges should be set and the center should still look slightly moist, but not uncooked.  Cool on a wire rack.