When I told a few people my plans for Sunday, everyone seemed worried. “Isn’t that really hard to make?” they’d ask, referring to the baklava I said I would spend the morning making. I’d been tasked with making baklava—the Mediterranean dessert made of layered phyllo dough and nuts—for my dad’s wedding reception, to go along with the Armenian food that would be catered for the event. Though I’d warned that I’d only made baklava one time before with not-so-great results, I welcomed the challenge, and hoped I’d have better luck and be able to positively contribute to the celebratory meal. Continue reading
When I saw the cover of February’s Bon Appétit, I knew the editors were speaking directly to me. The cover of the latest issue proclaimed “Best-Ever Brownies,” with the warning: “You will eat the entire tray.” The delicious-looking brownies exploded from the page, calling to me, and since had every ingredient I needed already at home, it was just a matter of time before I baked them.
But I spent a good week debating. After all, with that kind of warning, I was scared. I certainly didn’t want to eat the entire tray. Then again, if I did, wouldn’t I only be following instructions?
I’m usually a lazy brownies-out-of-the-box kind of girl, with the exception of Blondies, which is the brown sugar version I most often make. But the technique of the recipe reminded me of the Blondies (soon to be featured on the blog), since it started with melting the butter over the stove. The recipes featured in the cover story were all about using unsweetened cocoa powder to make better chocolate desserts, and considering my love for dark chocolate, I had to give one a try.
I cut the original recipe’s sugar down a bit, but not enough to change the consistency of the batter. I also substituted pecan pieces for the original recipe’s walnuts, and ended up having to add 15 minutes to the original recipe’s baking time.
Browned butter brownies
Recipe adapted from the Bon Appétit recipe for Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
- 1 cup sugar
- 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons water
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 large eggs, chilled
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
- 1 cup pecan pieces
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line an 8”x8”x2” pan with aluminum foil, allowing the foil to hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch. Coat the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir constantly for about 5 minutes and remove from heat when butter stops foaming and small browned bits begin to form on the bottom of pan.
- Immediately add the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, water and salt.
- Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes. Then add eggs, one at a time, stirring until each is combined into the batter.
- Add the flour and stir until combined, about 80 strokes.
- Add the pecan pieces, and pour into pan.
- Bake about 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean (with only a few crumbs attached).
- Allow to cool in the pan, and remove by lifting the sides of the foil. Cut into 16 squares. Store airtight at room temperature.
Verdict: I did not eat the entire tray. I ate three brownies; two right after the batch came out of the oven when the brownies were still warm and gooey, then one later once they had cooled (I had to make sure the final result was the correct consistency, right?) The brownies were excellent, and now I can never go back to making brownies from a box. They were that good.
As promised, they were the perfect blend of crispy top and fudgy center. But the brownies were so rich and chocolatey, I don’t think I could have eaten the whole tray if I tried. It was like my daily lunchtime dessert of one Dove dark chocolate square—satisfying, and just the right amount. Unlike milk chocolate which just leaves me wanting more, the brownies were like the dark chocolate in that one small serving satisfied my chocolate craving. Lucky for me (and everyone else with whom I could now share the brownie tray), I was more in danger of finishing the entire carton of milk.