Ok. I am still not a chocolate girl, but there are three chocolate items that have the power to stop me in my tracks if done well...
1) Chocolates with fruit creme centers (raspberry, orange or lemon only - oh, and they had better be the good chocolates - not the ones on the endcap at the grocer)
2) Pretzels dipped in dark chocolate (it should be the mini's - and a partial dip is preferred to a full-on dip)
3) A really good, fudgy brownie. Not one of those dried out cake brownies. It has to be fudgy. It has to have a crackly top.
Nuts? I can take or leave. Ribbons of caramel weaved through the surface - nice, but not mandatory. Chocolate chips? No, thank you. Make it good, make it fudgy and I am there with you. Anything else - there had better be a quart of ice cream to cover it up... And some caramel sauce.... Just sayin'
When Bon Appetit declared to have "the best ever" brownie recipe in its February issue, I knew that I had to give it a try to see how it worked. I was very intrigued by the use of browned butter. Because browned butter makes everything taste better - I couldn't wait to see what it would do in this application.
Since my 8" square pan was tied up with something else, I gave a 9" round springform a whirl. And you know what? I will probably never use a square pan again for brownies (although next time, I might try an 8" round springform to get a thicker brownie).
So, how did these brownies pan out? They were pretty gosh, darn good - fudgy, creamy, easy. I really don't know what else to say, but YUM...
Cocoa Brownies w/ Browned Butter & Walnuts
Bon Appetit - February 2011
Nonstick vegetable oil spray
10 Tbs (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnut pieces (optional, in my mind - I did use pecans because I had them in the freezer already)
Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F.
Grease 9" springform pan. Coat with nonstick spray.
Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously (~60 strokes). Stir in nuts, if using. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on rack. Using a dull knife, cut around edge of pan to ensure brownies are not sticking to side of pan; release sides of pan. Cut into strips, wedges, whatever shape floats your boat...