Friday, April 19, 2013

Friday Food Day: Classic Brownies

Friday Food Day is a feature I try to do every Friday. Mostly to keep me on my toes, trying new things, but also to share with you my findings! Have fun!

Ok, I'll admit it: At one point in my life, I didn't think it was possible to make brownies 'from scratch.' I literally thought that brownies from the box were considered from scratch..I mean, you are adding stuff, right?! Doesn't that count?!

This is why when I found one (or several) recipes for brownies on Smitten Kitchen, the love of my foodie heart, I was elated! I sifted through her recipes that she's hilariously finagled and found this one she calls 'Classic Brownies.'

I cannot stress this enough: this recipe is DELICIOUS. And easy! I'm now requested to bring these brownies where ever I go and, in fact, have made them three times (for three different events) this week alone. I can officially say I'm sick of making them. But they're so freaking good! And easy! (Did I say that?!)

I haven't changed anything in this recipe except that I didn't use cake flour the first time, specifically because I didn't have any. They turned out well, so I continued 'screwing it up.' I also don't use nuts, only because my kids would declare mutiny and someone would find me locked in the attic or something days later. I can also vouch that her freezer storage idea is just divine.

One last thing, if you haven't done so yet, you should peruse Smitten Kitchen's site. Not only is she hilarious, I've never been disappointed with her recipes. And how often do you read a recipe site and laugh out loud?! She has things meticulously cataloged and also has a fun 'Surprise Me!' button, which can only lead to good things. Enjoy!

I'm copying and pasting directly from her site, as she has written it:

Classic Brownies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Be sure to test for doneness before removing the brownies from the oven. If underbaked (the toothpick has batter clinging to it) the texture of the brownies will be dense and gummy. If overbaked (the toothpick comes out completely clean), the brownies will be dry and cakey.

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
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, 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 on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
  5. 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 few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)

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