Every snowy day, I always crave chocolate….. Which is all your fault Mama.
Not one snow day went by when I was a kid that my mom didn’t reward our re-entry into the garage from a day of sledding, soaked ski pants and snow caked boots in tow, with a mug of hot chocolate. The same little kiddie mugs every time, and if we were lucky, she might even throw a sprinkling of mini marshmallows atop the steaming mixture of chocolate (she kept the “junk” food in low supply). The best was when she got really creative and brewed up a saucepan full of homemade hot chocolate… If I still lived with you mama, I would love to have a mug waiting for me when I get home from work today!!
However, what I do have waiting might still serve to satisfy the craving. Well maybe.
This month’s issue of Bon Appetit (February 2011) features a larger than life serving of what they have determined are “the best ever brownies”.
What does Aly do when she sees a claim like that? She takes out the butter, flour, and sugar and gets the ovens warm.
Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 1/4 cups sugar
- 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, chilled
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
- 1 cup walnut pieces
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.
Taken directly from the Bon Appetit kitchens, I figured if they were “the best ever”, I shouldn’t have to do anything but follow the recipe exactly. The 8×8 pan that came out of the oven could certainly satisfy a craving for brownies, but by no means do I feel that they earn the “best ever” stamp in my kitchen. Even when they were fully cooled for a couple of hours, they still felt like they were missing that little zing! that a dessert should have.
Some adaptations I might suggestion.
1 cup of HIGH QUALITY cocoa…. I used Hershey’s as we ran out of ghiardelli, big fat mistake
1 extra tablespoon of flour…. I might also suggest substituting cake flour for the all purpose. I prefer the consistency
Toast the walnuts before mixing them in…. It will capitalize on the nutty flavor, getting rid of the raw taste of the nut
Add 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips…. Just because I say so. Double the chocolate? Yes, please!
At any rate, what Bon Appetit features on their cover definitely has potential to be an easy solution to stop people from buying boxed brownie mix. With a few simple steps, and still just one bowl (or in this case, saucepan)….
there can be a plate of brownies waiting for you on any snowy day!