TWD: French Brownies…Ooh. la. LA!

This week’s selection was chosen by Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook:  French Chocolate Brownies.  I decided to stick pretty close to Dorie on this one.  First, these brownies sounded good just from reading the recipe.  Secondly, I had significantly altered several of the recent recipes (no sticky buns at all, altered quintuple brownies instead of madeleines, Florida “tart” instead of pie sans coconut, etc.).  This week, I was ready to just sit back and let Dorie lead the way.

 I was also without my usual sous chefs.  Summer finally came to KC and we spent a LOT of time outdoors and in the water over the weekend.  They were worn thin by the time I got into the kitchen.  Frankly, that was fine this week.  As I suspect is true of many of us, I often use my kitchen — especially time spent with sugar, flour, butter and eggs — as therapy.  Sunday was a melancholy day and I was happy to be in my kitchen alone without directing traffic.  It was, however, a lonely bowl with no eager taste testers in sight.

I love raisins but wasn’t sure how they would fit into this recipe.  I was too curious not to fire ’em up.  And I am glad I did.  I thought they added a nice surprise.  My mom (of the infamous sweet tooth) loved the addition without even realizing they were raisins.  I did get a little flame but was not clearly quick enough with the camera.

 I love that crackly brownie crust.  YUM.

I topped them with some whipped cream and put them into little glasses inherited from my Great Aunt Adeline.  I love having pieces in my kitchen that remind me of loved ones and these brought a smile to my face.  The brownies were so good I took the left overs to work…way too dangerous to leave around the house.  They were so easy to make; they could easily become a regular in the brownie rotation. 

 Recent studies claim there is no “sugar high.”  Parents know better.

Next week: La Palette’s Strawberry Tart.  I love fresh berries!  For an overdose of chocolate brownie goodness check out the other posts here.

 French Chocolate Brownies

– makes 16 brownies –
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 4oz bittersweet and 2 oz semi-sweet cuz that is what I had)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

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32 responses to “TWD: French Brownies…Ooh. la. LA!

  1. Your brownies look wonderful! I , too, loved the ease of this recipe and thought they were absolutely delicious! My new favourite!

  2. Looks like they were thoroughly enjoyed! Yum!

  3. Too bad about not having sous chefs in the kitchen – these first nice days probably wear them out quite a bit! Beautiful brownies with a wonderful crackly crust!

  4. You’re right these are for sharing to keep one from eating them all by themselves! Love your aunt’s glasses, btw!

  5. I love your pictures. Your brownies look fabulous!

  6. I love your posts with your cute kids! Great job on the brownies!

  7. The brownie looks so fancy all dressed up like that – and it looks delicious!!
    I made mine without any “testers” either – the bowl looks so lonely!!

  8. Your brownies look great! I didn’t get the camera in time to catch the flame either. Oh, well. I was thrilled with this easy recipe after last week!

  9. That last picture is so funny! Sugar high is definitely real. Great job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  10. I want one topped with all the cream!!!

  11. Those glasses are really cool. Glad they were well recieved!

  12. I was on a sugar high after these. Yum!

  13. I’m afraid to leave mine at home too!

  14. Yummy! Sometimes I just go with whatever Dorie says and I am always pleasantly satisfied (it is fun playing around too!)

  15. How cute are these sous chefs??? I remember those days, these days my two little sous chefs are 15 year old teenage boys…still willing to sample anything, less time for “sousing” so enjoy it now!

    Your brownies look so sweet and fun in those dishes. Best part about checking all these blogs is seeing the displays, dontchathink?

    Thanks for the comment on my blog…gee I hope that guy at the liquor doesn’t remember me…LOL…may have to send in someone else to score my liquor for recipes after this…way less embarrassing.

    Enjoy!

  16. No sugar high? Hah! Glad they were enjoyed!

  17. ahh sometimes the original is the best!! i did a chambord and raspberry variation that was to die for…! Yours look fabulous!

  18. love the cups! your crust turned out so much better than mine

  19. That’s a great way to dress them up! They must have earned the kid vote!

  20. Your brownies look delicious! Great job!

  21. Nice job on your brownies! I know what you mean – its nice to have the kitchen all to yourself, but it is a little lonely when its not what you are used to.

  22. I’m with you on the sugar high. I actually couldn’t sleep last night because I ate these brownies around 8:30. Totally wired 🙂
    I’m glad you got in some kitchen therepy. Baking often does it for me as well.

  23. Way too dangerous to leave at home…especially in those gorgeous glasses. Great post – so glad I dropped by!

  24. Beautiful stemware and the humble brownie becomes ultra-chic!

  25. I’m all about baking as therapy. =) And wow, a bowl and spatula that you could like yourself–that doesn’t happen often around here. My toddler hasn’t caught on to that yet, but my 5yo is constantly wanting to “help” in the kitchen.

  26. Tasty looking brownies, glad they were enjoyed!
    Ulrike from Küchenlatein

  27. It’s nice to use old dishes, and your brownies look like they were enjoyed!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  28. Great looking brownies. I agree about baking/cooking as therapy – it works for me!

    Susan of Bismarck’s Favorite

  29. They look fantastic with that big dollop of whipped cream! Mmmmmm!

  30. Ah, baking as therapy. I hear you on that one. Your brownies look picture-perfect.

  31. I also had people eating these without realizing there were raisins in them. I thought it was a great surprise!

  32. Beautiful presentation there!

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