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A few months ago, I blogged about how the copy of "Bakewise" by Shirley Corriher I had bought off eBay had been stolen when the mailman left the package by my garage door. It soured me on getting "Bakewise" which had nothing to do with the book but I had looked forward to getting it for so long and having it ripped off like that left a bad taste in my mouth literally. But the seller, upon hearing what had happened to my package, sent me another brand-new copy (this time to my office address so there'd be no repeat chance of another theft) free of charge and even offered to refund me my shipping cost of the original package. Which was an amazing affirmation of the goodness in people and one for which I was exceedingly grateful.
I'm way overdue in trying out recipes from my new copy of "Bakewise" but to rectify that, I tried one of the brownie recipes last night. Oh. My. If you've followed my blog with any regularity, you'll know how much I prefer brownies for quick and easy baking, not to mention my enjoyment of rich, fudgy brownies in general.
You might even recall that I was in ecstasy over Rosie's Award Winning Brownies from the "Rosie's Bakery" baking book. Hmm, move over Rosie, Shirley has won me over and taken first place in the Best Brownie I've Ever Eaten category. This was dense, fudgy, chocolaty but not overwhelming in a sickly sweet way. It was just good.
The funny thing is, most brownie recipes are very similar but this one was different enough that I didn't expect it to be so good. For one thing, in my experience, the best-tasting, fudgiest, richest brownies start with unsweetened chocolate. This one has almost all semisweet and what wasn't semisweet was sweet chocolate. Immediately I thought it would be an overly sweet brownie and not be rich-chocolate tasting enough. Not so. For another thing, it uses confectioners' sugar more than granulated sugar, another unusual ingredient that I thought would make the brownie more cakey than fudgy. Wrong again. Which goes to show Shirley Corriher is smarter than I am and knows her brownies.
In typical fashion, I omitted the nuts from this and left the brownie plain. Didn't even add chocolate chips. But I did chop up some Snickers bars and cover half the brownie pan with them after they had finished baking. The recipe calls for baking the brownies for an hour but I took mine out after 45 minutes as the toothpick in the edges came out clean and towards the middle came out with moist crumbs. Then I turned the oven off, topped half the brownie with the chopped-up Snickers and left them in the hot oven for a few minutes, just long enough to soften the Snickers so that when I took the brownie out of the oven, I could smear some of the Snickers into the top of the brownie with a small spatula. Genius.
I brought these into work for a staff meeting and they were a hit. My boss even poked me in the shoulder during the meeting to gesture to the brownie he was eating and gave me a thumbs up. Success.
(See next page for recipe)
The best fudgy brownies ever
1-1/2 cups pecans
1-1/2 cups plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces, divided
Nonstick cooking spray, optional
12 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 ounce German’s Sweet Chocolate
4 large eggs
3 large egg yolks
1-1/2 cups dark brown sugar, packed
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups spooned and leveled bleached all-purpose flour
Arrange a shelf in the middle of the oven and preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.
Spread the pecans on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. While the nuts are hot, stir in 2 tablespoons of the butter. When cool, coarsely chop and set aside.
Line a 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan with parchment sprayed with nonstick cooking spray or Release foil (nonstick side up), allowing overhang on both long sides to make removal easier.
Place the remaining 1 ½ cups butter around the edge of a microwave-safe glass bowl. Place the semisweet and sweet chocolate in the center. Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave on 100% power for 1 minute, stirring at least 2 times, and then 15 seconds more, stirring 1 time. Or, place the chocolates and butter together in a stainless-steel bowl. In a large skillet, bring water to a simmer. Set aside until the water is no longer steaming. Place the bowl of chocolate and butter in the hot water, being careful not to get water or steam into the chocolate. Stir the chocolate every few minutes until melted.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs with a fork just to blend whites and yolks. With a minimum of hand stirring, stir together the eggs, egg yolks, brown sugar, confectioners’ sugar, granulated sugar, corn syrup, vanilla and salt.
By hand, with a minimum of stirring, stir together the egg mixture and the chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out. Soak cake strips in water and wrap around the outside edge of the pan as directed.
Place the pan on the arranged shelf and bake until brownies just begin to pull away from the edge of the pan, about 1 hour. Err on the side of undercooking rather than risk drying out the brownies.
Cool completely in the pan or a rack. Remove the brownies from the pan, using the parchment or foil overhang to help lift out the brownies. When completely cool, wrap the brownies well with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Place the brownies on a cutting board and move the parchment or foil. Place another cutting board on top and turn over so that the brownies are right side up. Trim the edges and cut into 2-inch squares. Wrap individually in plastic wrap and store refrigerated.
Carol Ramos blogs at The Pastry Chef's Baking.
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