Sunday, February 6, 2011

America's Test Kitchen Chewy Brownies

I seem to be on a quest for the "perfect brownie" (among other recipes). This past weekend, my husband turned to America's Test Kitchen and they happened to be making the "Ultimate Chewy Brownie". We were definitely intrigued with the recipe and wondered how we would like this version.

There have been a few recipes that I have tried lately that have that one (or more) questionable ingredient that almost makes me ditch the whole thing. Anyone who knows me knows that I do not (and never have nor will) drink coffee of any kind. So, when I saw that the second ingredient in this recipe was Espresso, I was initially turned off. But, would we be missing out by not trying this recipe? After all, it's the Ultimate Chewy Brownie from their test kitchen! I decided to forge through and went to the store for Espresso and the rest of the ingredients. I will say that while making the batter (especially the very beginning), I was very turned off by the coffee aroma and was very skeptical about the finished product.

I'm a little quirky- I can be uber patient on some things, but not so much on others. And waiting for brownies (or other food) to cool, is not a strong point of mine. I mean, why do I need to wait???? This recipe says to let the brownies cool 2 1/2 hours!!! What?!? So, being the rebel that I am on occasion, my husband and I tried the first bite after about 20 minutes of cooling. Our initial reaction? We both came to the conclusion that maybe we don't know what a good brownie tastes like. I won't deny that I was disappointed after following the directions to a T. Not that this was bad by any means, but it didn't wow us at all. I left the remainder on the rack to finish cooling. When I went back into the kitchen to put them away, I couldn't help but take a little bite. did WOW me then! It's like the whole texture of the brownie changed as it completely cooled. I don't think I have tasted enough recipes (hint, hint) to proclaim this the "Ultimate" brownie, but it sure was good! It is very rich, chocolaty and chewy!

Ingredients (24 brownies or 48 bite sized)

1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa (I sifted the cocoa)
1 1/2 tsp instant espresso (optional)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp boiling water
2 oz unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 tsp salt
6 oz bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch pieces


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with foil and spray with cooking spray.

Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water in a large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted.

Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled).

Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous.

Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated.

Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.

Scrape batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350 degrees until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs. Bake about 30-35 minutes.

Transfer pan to wire rack and cook 1 1/2 hours. Using foil, lift brownies from pan. Place on wire rack and cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into squares and serve. Store any leftovers in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.


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