Jun 30, 2008

Classic Brownie

I am still on the search for the perfect brownie. So far, I think there are three that I like.
  • Brownies from Alice Medrich's Cookies and Brownies
  • Best ever Brownies from Baking with Julia
  • this one...Classic Brownie from Cook's illustrated

If I had to choose a favorite of the three, I think I will definitely choose Alice Medrich's brownies. But what I learned from the brownies from Cook's illustrated is that having the nuts on top instead of incorporating it in the batter makes the nuts taste much better. The nuts tend to get soggy when it's inside the batter. Having the nuts on top makes the brownies much better. What I will do next time is make the Alice Medrich's brownies with the nuts on top...we'll see how that works. Here's the recipe in the mean time:

Classic Brownie
from Cook's illustrated March and April 2004

1 cup (4oz) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium
1 1/4 cup (5oz) cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped fine
1 1/2 sticks (12 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into six 1 inch piece
2 1/4 (15.75 oz) cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325°. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8 inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 x 9 inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edge. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick baking cooking spray.

2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, about 5-8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk to combine flour, salt and baking powder in medium bowl. Set aside.

4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn. When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in 3 additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using them) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes. Cool pan on wire rack at room temperature about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.



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