Sunday, January 24, 2010

Stress Baking: The Baked Brownie

My husband claims that I do something called stress baking.  When there is a lot going on, and I am stressed out, I bake.  I guess it is better than stress eating or stress shopping, since I send most of the baked goods to my husband's office, but I think he might be right about the stress baking.  There is a lot going on in my life right now, a lot of which I can't control, so baking it is!

I recently got the Baked cookbook (ok, I do engage in some stress shopping, but it is mostly books) and they claim to have the best brownie in America.  I have never been there to taste the version in their bakery, but they have the recipe in their book, so I decided to make them. 

This was, hands down, the most complicated brownie recipe I have ever made.  I am the "put everything in a bowl and stir" kind of girl and these brownies were definitely not those.  It involves melting, putting things in side bowls and folding things with a spatula.  That being said, since the purpose of making them was stress relief, it was better that they took a long time.  

I don't know how these were supposed to look (they were less shiny on top than other brownies I have made) but they smelled really good.  I didn't taste them the day I made them and I sent most of them to my husband's office, but I ate one out of the freezer.  It was good, but I'm not sure if it is better than other brownies out there.  Maybe that is because it was frozen?  Not sure.  I'll have to do a taste test when I am patient enough to let them defrost.   

Here is the recipe:

The Baked Brownie from Baked – New Frontiers in Baking
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan. 
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt and cocoa powder. Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature. 
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey. 
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. 
Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve. Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

1 comment:

  1. It's nice to know I'm not alone in stress baking. You should see the things coming out of my kitchen right now! I'm curious if you like the brownies defrosted. I haven't tried them but the book is sitting on my shelf.


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