Wednesday, November 13, 2013

salted espresso brownies.

People (myself included) are very particular about their brownies.  Are nuts sacrilegious or a necessary addition (and are walnuts the only acceptable addition)? Should a brownie be a 2-bite sized indulgence or a palm-sized behemoth?  Can a brownie be cakey and soft or is fudgy and dense the only way to go?  It's truly exhausting reading and researching and trying to decipher what kind of brownie each recipe makes (is your definition of fudgy the same as my definition?!). I almost gave up on the search because sometimes my job actually requires me to do work and not just research my latest craving but then I found this gem of a recipe and all was right in the world.  

This is a fudgy, chocolaty, gloriously perfect (in my world) brownie.  It's dense and oh so rich, the kind of thing that begs for milk.  The espresso powder manages to both balance out the flavors and also make the coffee and cocoa flavor more apparent (so magical). The salt helps to cut the sweetness which is what moves this from a kid's snack to an adult's treat.  This is the kind of thing I would love to finish a dinner party with especially when served with scoops of vanilla ice cream and hot fudge.  

Salted Espresso Brownies
Recipe adapted from Leite’s Culinaria who got it from David Lebovitz

The salt and espresso powder are my own addition because it just felt right.  Here, the make a good brownie amazing.  

Makes 9 – 12 brownies

6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted or salted butter cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
¼ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon instant espresso powder
¼ - ½ teaspoon flaky sea salt (smaller amount if using salted butter)
½ - ¾ cup chocolate chips (I am firmly in the more is better camp)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

Line an 8-inch square pan with 2 long lengths of aluminum foil or parchment paper, positioning the sheets perpendicular to one other and allowing the excess to extend beyond the edges of the pan.   Lightly butter the foil or parchment. 

In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir by hand until it is melted and smooth. (Note, this can also be done in the microwave just watch it carefully so you don’t burn the mixture.)

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs by hand, 1 at a time. Add the flour, salt and espresso powder and stir energetically for 1 full minute—time yourself—until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. (This is crucial in the making of these brownies. You must stir them "energetically”. You also must make certain you stir the batter for a full minute. It may appear to separate a few seconds into stirring, and it may appear grainy midway through, but when you stir with vigor for a full 60 seconds--and we do mean a full 60 seconds, along the lines of "One Mississippi, two Mississippi..."--you'll end up with a batter that's rich, thick, satiny smooth, and glossy as can be. Therein lies the difference between dry, crumbly brownies and the world's best brownies.) Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, about 22-25 minutes. Do not overbake. (Check at the 22 minute mark). 

Let the brownie cool completely in the pan—this is the difficult part—before lifting the foil or parchment and the block of brownie out of the pan. Dust the brownies with powdered sugar if using. Cut the brownie into squares. (The brownies will keep well for up to 4 days and can be frozen for up to 1 month.).  

1 comment:

  1. These look amazing!! I want to make these one day for sure. Espresso AND Brownie... oh lord!