Top 100 Cake Blog

Top 100 Cake Blog

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Brownies (yet again)

I often consider brownies the lowest common denominator of American desserts. There's no challenge, no joy of victory (and also rarely the agony of defeat).

But they have a lot going for them. Brownies are simple enough for a child to make, require no advance preparation (softening butter, letting dough rise, etc.), need only the most basic of tools (heat source, bowl, pan and spoon), and use ingredients available at the corner bodega.

They are perfect in any season -- summer for picnics, winter for an after school or lunch box snack. And they are also very quick to make and are sturdy travelers. So quick, in fact, that I began a batch just hours before a flight, intending to take them as a gift for my mother who loves all things chocolate.

Plus, who doesn't love a good brownie! I have literally dozens of vintage brownie recipes (like this one, probably from the 1950s), so it has been a longtime favorite in the American kitchen. This one is quite good, not the knock-yer-socks off brownie, but simple, direct, flavorful and rather addicting.

Get started by creating a double boiler -- just a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Place the butter and chocolate in the bowl and heat until they melt.

While that mixture is cooling, beat the eggs and sugar well, then add the chocolate and vanilla.

Sprinkle on the flour and baking powder and mix to combine. Add the nuts.

Pour the batter into a greased (or parchment lined) 8 x 8 inch pan.  You can also line the pan with foil -- lining makes it easy to lift the brownies in a single cake from the pan. I also sprinkled some sea salt on the top before baking. I'd recommend this -- salt really enhances the flavor.

Slice and enjoy!

Production notes: I halved this recipe, and have written out the instructions below.


Preheat oven to 375F
2 eggs
1.5 ounces unsweetened chocolate
3/4 c. + 2 tbs. sugar
4 tbs. butter
6 tbs. flour
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 t. vanilla
1/2 c. chopped walnuts
Sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

Place chocolate and butter in a bowl, and place the bowl atop a saucepan with a couple of inches of water in it. Heat mixture until it is melted. Remove from heat.
In a bowl, beat eggs, add sugar in thirds, beating well after each addition.
Add cooled chocolate and butter.
Add vanilla.
Add sifted flour and baking soda and stir combined.  Add nuts.
Pour into greased 8 x 8 cake pan. Sprinkle some sea salt on the top if using.
Bake about 15 minutes.

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