Wednesday, February 6, 2013

"Sweethearts": Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Brownies!  The very word conjures up images of my first attempts at baking from a box mix.  Duncan Hines, Betty Crocker.  The best brownies always came from a box, growing up.  Nowadays, I like to make my own. Callebaut is my favorite cocoa powder; I use it in a lot of my cooking and baking.  It has a lovely, smooth and heavily chocolate flavor, thanks to the dutch process of adding alkaline powder (potassium sorbate) to raise the ph of the cocoa and make it less acidic.  It mellows the chocolate and allows deep flavor and color to come through in sauces, candy, and mousse/puddings, where typical American style cocoa does better with baking in cakes and cookies.  When I make my Texas Sheet Cake, I use American cocoa for the cake and Callebaut for my icing.  It really does make a difference, and is delicious!

For brownies, I like to add chunks of bittersweet chocolate (Ghiradelli 60% cacao chips) to the batter.  The brownie is sweet enough on its own; what I try to accomplish by adding chips/chunks is change the texture and deepen the chocolate flavor.

If you have a heart-shaped cookie cutter, you can really come up with a cute way to surprise your loved one, whether it's your hubby, boyfriend, kid, teacher, or friend!

(my recipe is adapted from a 1983 issue of Sunset magazine)

  • Dark Chocolate Chunk Brownies

  • 1 bag of Ghiradelli bittersweet 60% cacao chips
  • 1/2 cup (1/4 lb.) unsalted, organic butter, cut into 1/2-inch chunks
  • 3  extra-large eggs 
  • 1 cup sugar 
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • Preheat oven to 325*F. 
  • In a small saucepan, combine half the chocolate chips and the butter. Heat over low heat until chocolate is melted. Stir until mixture is smooth. Turn off heat. In a bowl, with a wooden spoon (not a mixer! you don't want cake!), beat eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla until smooth. Add chocolate mixture and stir until well blended. Add flour, about a third at a time, stirring after each addition just until blended. Add remaining chocolate chips and mix just until chunks are evenly distributed.
  • Scrape batter into a 9" square pan lined with parchment paper (overlapping on sides so you will be able to take brownies out later to cut). Bake in a 325° regular (or 300° convection oven) just until surface develops a thin crust and a fingertip pressed very gently in the center leaves a soft impression, 20 to 25 minutes; take care not to overbake. Cool completely in pan on a rack, at least 1 hour. Lift brownie out on parchment, peel off parchment, and set brownie on a board. Cut into shapes.  My heart cookie cutter is big, so I can only make 4 large hearts and then I cut the rest into small bite-sized squares.  Dust powdered sugar lightly on top and place in a wax-paper lined tin or small basket to give to the lucky guy, gal, or kiddo! 

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