07 December 2010

Brownies Ever After (or How I fell in Love with the New York Times Recipe for French Brownies)

As a chocolate lover who has carried an emergency bar of 85% dark chocolate in my purse for the past ten years, it's not surprising that I've frequently been let down by brownies that claimed decadence, darkness and delight, but delivered sweet bread with a hint of cocoa flavor.

Yet, I knew my brownie soul mate was out there; I just had to look a little bit harder, try a little bit more. I knew what I wanted in my brownie: something lighter than a flourless chocolate cake, but richer and more chocolatey than any brownie I'd ever met.

Well, it finally happened. I'm pleased to announce I met my brownie match. They're everything I was looking for: a chocolate dessert that isn't too serious and knows how to have fun, but is still full of meaning in a dense, dark, buttery, rich and full-of-flavor sort-of-way.

I present to you: French brownies. We met at the New York Times website in a recipe adapted from “Baking: From My Home to Yours,” by Dorie Greenspan. We've been together for dinners and breakfasts, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health, and they've always managed to make me smile. I hope you'll be as happy together as we have been.

Recipe notes:
  • The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate, but I only had unsweetened on hand. The next time I make this recipe (if my non-healthy self wins out this will be tomorrow) I'll use unsweetened again, and might even cut a tablespoon of sugar. 
  • I used whole wheat white flour and egg whites (again all I had on hand) and the recipe turned out well.
  • I don't have a double boiler, so instead heated the butter and chocolate in ramekins in a pasta drainer over a large pot of simmering water.

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