Sunday, August 14, 2011

Dark Victory Brownies

Sometimes I wish that I could capture all the aromas that drift through our home, storing them as a memory book. Just this last friday the whole house smelled like chicken pot pie, then caesar salad and finally blueberry strawberry crumble.  I was making dinner for some family friends who just had a beautiful baby boy. Saturday was two pans of brownies for a girls night outing I was going to. This morning it is chicken stock.

When I come back after going out for a while, it is to whatever was last made in our home, reminding me of the last shared meal or friends that came over or food that I brought somewhere to share. My husband walks home from work and I imagine the smells drifting out to the alley, to welcome him home. I was never really a baker until the last year or so. But standing over the sweet smell of melting butter and chocolate or a big bowl of cookie dough or cinnamon bread is such a happy, soothing experience. It makes the house feel even happier.

The definition of a brownie from Webster's Dictionary, "...sliced from a type of dense, rich chocolate cake, which is, in texture, like a cross between a cake and a cookie", is not exactly what I envision. I think I would have said, 'a cross between a cake and chocolate fudge.' I prefer a brownie that abandons its cake heritage and border perilously close to the edge of being fudge but doesn't quite take that final step. This recipe is adapted from Tish Boyle's, The Good Cookie, 'Dark Victory Brownies' recipe, which is my current favorite brownie recipe. They seem to taste best the day after baking so try not to eat them all on the day you make them so you can taste how they change after having a day to sit.

Put the butter and chocolate into a bowl that will sit on a barely simmering pan of water. Stir until the mixture is smooth. I prefer to use a bowl that is big enough to finish the recipe instead of transferring the contents, as she suggests.

Remove the pan from the heat and mix in the sugar and cocoa powder, stirring, until smooth.

Mix in the eggs, one at at time. The texture change between before and adding the eggs is very interesting.

Mix in the sour cream and vanilla and finally, the flour and salt. Optionally you can add nuts. Transfer to a square pan and bake.

Dark Victory Brownies
Adapated from Tish Boyle's Dark Victory Brownies Recipe
Makes 16 brownies

3.5 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
14 T unsalted butter, cut into Tablespoons
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 tsp salt
1 cup coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or spray a square pan with non-stick spray. 

Melt the semi-sweet chocolate and butter over a pan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth.

Remove the bowl from the stove and mix in, until smooth, the sugar and cocoa powder.

Mix in the eggs, one at a time, until full blended.

Mix in the sour cream and vanilla.

Stir in the flour and salt, until just blended.

Add the nuts if you are using them. 

Cook for 40 minutes, until a toothpick comes out with just a few crumbs still clinging to it.

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