Tuesday, June 3, 2008

French Chocolate Brownies

This week's challenge from Tuesdays with Dorie, brought a delightful rendition of a fudgy French inspired brownie. TWD members weekly bake a gorgeous Greenspan treat, worthy of any high end bakery, but for at least half the cost. It's a great way to save pennies, celebrate life, and hone your baking skills. There's always plenty to share, so your neighbors are sure to grovel... Dorie's brownie of today called for flambeed rum soaked raisins, which were deftly omitted to make them more appealing to my two little charges and their cousins. I'm always making changes for mass appeal. I can't run the risk of eating anything alone.

Come to think of it, a good name for my baking blog could be "Half Nuts; a Metaphor for Family Life." Everything I bake around here has, well, you know...half nuts. I credit the kids for the splintered baking and the fractured insanity.

Now, after you try Dorie's fudgy brownie version, I must put a plug in for my own brownie. I like them fudgy and cakey because I'm hard to please, wishy-washy, a perfectionist, and greedy. I hope you'll love me in spite of all that. I've tried so many brownie recipes and I like almost all of them, but "Old Fashioned Buttermilk Brownies" remains my hands-down classic favorite.
Anyway you slice it, you can't miss with warm from the oven brownies made from scratch.

French Chocolate Brownies

Estimated Cost: about $6.00 (depending on chocolate price) for 16

Notes:I omitted the rum, raisins, and cinnamon, and added some walnuts sprinkled on top. I also baked it in a pie dish, since my 8 inch square is out on loan.


Ingredients
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)

1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden

1 1/2 tablespoons water

1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped

1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces

3 large eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sugar
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.
Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Coming Tomorrow:

Sesame Lime Pork Noodles; a Pork Chop Leftover Bonus

40 comments:

steph- whisk/spoon said...

oh...i was secretly wishing i'd put nuts on mine like you did!! and buttermilk in brownies--i'll have to check that one out, because i've never seen such a recipe!

Lisa said...

I want to try yout buttermilk brownies. The ice cream of your brownie really makes it look good!

Engineer Baker said...

I love the swirly pic on top - beautiful! And walnuts with these - yum!

Bumblebutton said...

I think I would have eaten your top photo as if it were soup! Yum!

April said...

They look wonderul!

BAKE-EN said...

You first picture is awesome. I wish I had thought to take a picture then. I love the concept of your blog!

Katrina said...

The nuts look so good! I love the 'half nuts' idea.

Catherine Wilkinson said...

LOL!!! "I'm hard to please, wishy-washy, a perfectionist, and greedy."

We must be soul sisters!

Yes, my house is half-nuts too!
Nice brownies!!!

Mary Kate said...

I wish I lived in the time of the "Jetsons" where you press a button a what food is displayed on the screen magically appears in real life and form. If so, I would have been having brownies for breakfast! The pictures were beautiful and I certainly love your brownies. Thanks Prudy for all the delicious recipes!

Nikki57 said...

I love the swirly pic!! Your brownies look fab

Anne said...

They look so good, as does your recipe! Great job-

Teanna said...

"Half Nuts; a Metaphor for Family Life."

Ha! I love it! I love that swirl!

Melissa said...

Love the 1st pic!

CB said...

Mmmm... walnuts! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Marie said...

Mmm.....nuts!!! Great addition! It's a good thing I can't get through the screen coz I'd be piggin out right now on your delicious looking brownies! WOW!

Kayte said...

Nuts for sure next time...yours look wonderful with all those gorgeous nuts sprinkled about.

Leslie said...

Prudy,
These are gorgeous. I loved the swirly chocolate picture. I wanted to tip the bowl and drink it.
I bought her book on Saturday and when I get my blog up and running will join the Tuesday Baking Club, too.
Everything looks delicious, and I always love your pretty blue plates.
Frances would love them too.
"One for plastic, Two for china, Three for yours and Four for Mine-a."

Michal said...

yummy. chocolate. now, which brownie to choose?
by the way, we are definitely half nuts around these parts, too!

Tracy said...

You Dorie people are killing me. I want to get that cookbook ... but first I have to at least make one thing out of Paris Sweets, which I own!

Catherine said...

Prudy,
These look so good! Your pictures are beautiful! I'm so excited to have your brownie recipe! I have so many recipes that I want from you that I can't possibly remember all of them, whenever I talk to you, so thankyou for posting all of them here!

And I love the blue plates too!
Five for tea and six for cakes
Seven for elephants, eight for snakes
Nines a trip to the candy store!

Leslie said...

Prudy,
Did you notice Catherine chimed in too to sing along.
Frances would be proud.

Clumbsy Cookie said...

Yummy! I'm allways ready for a brownie!

Christine said...

Love your first pic! Walnuts yum! That is what my hubby wanted me to add!

Heather said...

yuummm! The walnuts look so good with the brownie! Great job!

Mara said...

oh i love that first photo, so pretty...!! yours look amazing!

Rebecca said...

I'll have to try your recipe. Yum!

Susie Homemaker said...

how is it i haven't wandered onto your site before? you are great...and I can't wait to try your brownie recipe! (as well as a few other things you have posted here!

PheMom said...

Beautiful brownies! I love that first picture especially!

Veronica said...

Love your swirly picture!! I am so craving brownies!

Annemarie said...

I'll have to try your recipe. These were good, but if there is a better one out there...
I actually found your blog a couple of weeks ago (& LOVE it) & was happy to see you on the TWD blogroll!

Prudy said...

Leslie and Catte:
I loved the Francis song. I wish I could make you some brownies, although I really do love yours, Leslie. Especially your big red baking pan with half nuts for your picky eaters too. Thanks for the trick of putting them on top. Sailor has been begging for brownies since she saw this post. We made this batch last week when Roy's family was here and they disappeared. I'm baking like crazy because I'm teaching a cheesecake class to the Laurels.

Prudy said...

MK:
You know my buttermilk brownies are inspired by you! I'm so glad you enjoyed them so much when you were expecting Jake.

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

The brownie sundae picture had me drooling on my keyboard! I so need one of those right now!

Jayne said...

I love the swirl photo at the top of your post! And buttermilk brownies...that sounds like something I'd like to make....

Shari said...

The nuts on top look delicious!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

My Ice Cream Diary said...

Perfect for Father's day dessert. My hubby is a brownie junkie but I don't like chocolate so I almost never make them.

Sharon said...

I like that brownie, it looks great.

Emiline said...

Yum. These look great.

I like raisins...I just don't know about raisins in brownies. I'm going to have disagree with Dorie on this one.

Meg said...

I've made these a few times in the last couple of months and they are by far the best recipe I've tried. So moist, and they freeze really well.

Meg said...

Oooops, this comment was for your Buttermilk Brownies....