Monday, May 14, 2012

brownies, revisited (espresso brownies with dark chocolate crust)

Nothing gets Bunny and I more excited for a Sunday at home watching tv than Race Day. We're rather addicted to motorcycle racing. We wake up at all hours if possible to watch the MotoGP premier class live, and we get excited for SPEED TV's schedules.

Wait, what does that have to do with brownies? Being that Bunny has spent the past year studying to be a motorcyle mechanic, we actually have friends who also like motorcycle racing. Recently, that meant that one of his classmates came over for an afternoon of GP and Superbike racing. When Bunny has his friends over I just can't help myself. Really I can't.

It would be downright mean if I didn't make them a snack. Not to mention that I'd been thinking about brownies the last few weeks. They'd creep up into my mind, all uninvited, and it was inevitable that I'd end up making them.

These are based on the same brownie recipe I've made in the past (which, by the way, is from Reader's Digest's Cookies, 1,001 Mouthwatering Recipes from around the World). Things are a little different this time. I didn't have any cocoa powder. I mucked with some proportions, added some walnuts, used real butter instead of margarine (butter's expensive, dude. but my mom sent me home with a couple of sticks so I'm using that up!) The butter and sugar rested longer than last time, because I was elbow deep in dishwater and almost done. I really don't know if that affected this at all.

I enjoyed the original recipe a million times better, but that's a product of my brownie tastes. This one was much more on the cakey side (which is perfectly acceptable, I just prefer fudgy). The nuts? I liked them here, but I don't think I'd have enjoyed them as much in the fudgyier version. Also, they tasted a little less intensely chocolate than I remember the original recipe tasting. The cocoa powder is worth it in the future.

The last note is the crust. There's none of that real crinkly crust I adore, but instead a fine layer of dark chocolate shavings, to play with the bitterness of the espresso.

My favourite bit? Sending a friend home with a doggie bag of brownies. They might get a little squished on the ride.

Espresso Brownies with Dark Chocolate Crust

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 1/3 cups sugar (of your choice. I like brown here, but white works.)
  • 1 1/2 cups chocolate chips, or coarsely chopped semi- or bittersweet chocolate (depending on your tastes)
  • 1 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • one esprsso shot, or 1 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350*F.
  2. In a sauce pot, melt butter and sugar until fully incorporated. (This is the most glorious twist on creaming butter I've ever experienced. Three months later this is still true, you guys!) 
  3. Remove from heat, add espresso and stir until combined. Let cool for 10 minutes.
  4. When slightly cool, add eggs and vanilla, mixing until combined and glossy. Add chocolate chunks, mixing until fully melted in.
  5. Stir in flour, baking powder and salt until everything is evenly distributed and you have a uniform consistency.
  6. Spread into 9x9 square pan (or, if you are lame like me a 9 inch cake pan), and bake for 30-35 minutes (32 was perfect for me), or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
  7. Eat them. Do not frost. (Frosting brownies had ought to be a crime. Save that for your cake.)

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