from Cook's Illustrated (March/April 2004, p.24-25)
These brownies almost melt in your mouth, they are so soft. I dare say, chocolate at it's best.
1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine.
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
You will also need:
13x9-inch baking dish
Nonstick cooking spray
A double boiler set-up of some kind: A large heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of almost-simmering water (I use a Pampered Chef batter bowl over a small sauce pan with about 1/2 inch of water in it)
A heatproof (silicone) spatula
A good whisk
Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees.
Line the baking dish with foil. Cut 14-inch length of foil and fit into width of baking dish, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of the pan; allow excess to overhand the pan edges. Cut 18-inch length and fit into length of pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with non-stick cooking spray.
If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
(But let's get real here... why would you EVER want to mess up a good brownie with nuts?)
Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
Melt chocolate and butter in your double-boiler set up, stirring occasionally (with your heatproof spatula), 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 three additions, folding with spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30-35 minutes (my oven takes about 40 minutes).
Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours (Who can wait that long? Not me.), then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve.
Store leftovers (Yeah, right!) in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.
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