After preparing a bunch of different dishes for dinner, my first instinct is to mentally rank them, and then of course, to ask him to rank them. Whenever we go out to eat or even attend dinner parties, I mentally rate everything I taste, and then of course, ask him to do the same. I also keep several mental lists: favorite restaurants, favorite types of cuisines, favorite savory foods, and my favorite favorites list: desserts. Unfortunately, this is a difficult list to maintain because it changes frequently and often based on my moods (certain times of the month,etc.). Often times, I find two contenders on this list battling it out for first place: chocolate cupcakes and the ever-popular chocolate brownies. They both hold a special place in my heart, but today brownies is number 1 on my list.
The verdict? These brownies get an A (here's me quantifying again) for texture: they were very chewy and fudgy and not at all gummy. Unfortunately, they get a B+ for flavor. To me, these brownies did not yield a profound chocolate flavor, I actually found the chocolate level to be rather mild and disappointingly flat. I thought that they would improve over time, but 2 days later they were still a bit disappointing. Don't get me wrong -- they are not bad brownies, just not the sublime ones I was hoping for. Ok, so maybe it was my fault: I didn't add the optional espresso powder, and I'm not sure if the cocoa I used was Dutch processed. I will definitely try these brownies again with those changes, but next on my list is the Baked Brownie. If you've tried it, I'd love to hear how they turned out for you.
King Arthur's Fudge Brownies (adapted from here)
*1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
*2 1/4 cups sugar
*4 large eggs
*1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
*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 chocolate chips
1.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.
2. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
3. While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
4. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
5. Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.
7. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.