Friday, January 29, 2010

Cute as a Brownie Button

The first time that I made these, it was for my seven-year old campers at Camp Yomi, and I feel like that is the best possible use for these. I don't mean that as a slight - it's just that these brownies are cute and simple and manageable, perfect for little kids. Yet they also can be sophisticated when arranged prettily on a dessert plate.

This time around, I just made them for fun, because they're also fun. It's fun to pop them out of their little pan holes. It's fun to dip them in white chocolate and give them a little twirl. It's fun to eat them! (And you don't have to feel guilty because they're so small.) Taste-wise, they're good, though nothing that special, but I kept them in the fridge, where they attained a fudgy consistency that compounded the richness of the white chocolate. Yum!

Brownie Buttons
from “Baking From my Home to Yours” by Dorie Greenspan

Grated zest of 1/2 Orange
1 teaspoon Sugar
1/4 Cup plus 2 Tablespoons Flour
Pinch of Salt
1/2 Stick (4 Tablespoons) Unsalted Butter, Cut into 4 Pieces
2 1/2 Ounces Bittersweet Chocolate, Coarsely Chopped
1/3 Cup (Packed) Brown Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract
1 Large Egg

For the optional Glaze:
2 Ounces White Chocolate, Finely Chopped

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly butter two miniature muffin pans, each with a dozen cups, and place them on a baking sheet.

If you’re using the orange zest, combine the zest and sugar in a small bowl, rubbing them between your fingertips to blend: set aside. Whisk together the flour and salt.

Melt the butter, chocolate, and brown sugar in a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan over very low heat, stirring frequently with a heatproof spatula and keeping an eye on the pan so that nothing overheats or burns. When the mixture is smooth, remove from the heat and cool for a minute or two. Stir the vanilla, egg and the zest into the chocolate mixture. When the mixture is well blended, add the flour and stir only until it is incorporated. You should have a smooth, glossy batter.

Spoon the batter into 16 of the muffin cups, using about a teaspoon of batter to fill each cup 3/4 full. Put 1 teaspoon of water in each empty cup.
Bake for 14-16 minutes, or until the tops of the buttons spring back when touched. Transfer the pans to racks to cool for 3 minutes before carefully releasing the buttons. Cool to room temperature on the racks.

To make the glaze: Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Stir constantly and don’t leave the chocolate for even one minute- white chocolate scorches easily. As soon as the chocolate is smooth, remove from the heat.

One by one, dip the tops of the buttons into the chocolate, twirling the buttons so that you get a little swirl at the center of each one and the excess chocolate drips back into the bowl. Refrigerate the buttons for 15 minutes to set the glaze.

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