When Sara and Alicat at The Weekend Cookbook Challenge announced that June's challenge was picnic food, my mind immediately went to desserts. I love to bring desserts to parties because The Guy and I never finish them unless we have some help, and I find that fewer people remember dessert at a picnic, so my contribution is always appreciated (the same goes for interesting drinks, like mint lemonade). And what better dessert for a picnic than brownies? They're transportable, they're classic, and, gosh darnit, people like them. After flipping through a few cookbooks, I decided on the Chewy, Fudgy Brownies from The Dessert Bible by Christopher Kimball for two reasons: One, in the four years we've owned this book, I've never used it (The Guy bought it), and two, it was the easiest recipe I found and I had all the ingredients on hand.
Christopher Kimball himself acknowledges that he prefers lighter brownies, but I love the fudgy ones, so I was excited about this recipe. It was a snap to make (no mixers, stand or hand-held), and almost nothing that could go wrong. The chocolate and butter melted quickly, the ingredients came together smoothly (no beating, folding or worrying involved), and looked shiny and gooey as it glopped into the pan - this is a batter that would be made by Willy Wonka, not Jacques Torres. The only problems I found were that when I went to cut them, two hours after taking them out of the oven, they were so sticky inside that they stuck to the knife and broke apart, and that the foil I had lined the pan with (per the instructions) was imbedded inside the brownies in some places. I let them sit a couple more hours and they became more managable (Kimball notes that these are especially good the day after you make them), and for the sake of simplicity I simply cut off the parts that seemed to have aluminum in them.
Chewy, Fudgy Brownies
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
10 tbsp. unsalted butter
3 large eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 and 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, in pieces (optional - I didn't use them)
1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8 X 8- inch baking pan with foil or parchment paper, or grease the pan with butter.
2. Melt the chocolate and butter in a microwave oven at 50 percent power for 2 minutes, or melt in a saucepan over very low heat. Whisk the eggs and vanilla together in a medium bowl. Add the melted chocolate mixture and whisk to combine (mixture with thicken considerably). Add all other ingredients and mix together with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon. The batter will be very thick and somewhat greasy-looking.
3. Scrape batter into baking pan (the batter will hang together like bread dough) and press into place with a large rubber spatula. Bake about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into center. For chewier brownies, bake an additional 5 to 10 minutes. Let cool at least 2 hours in pan before removing, cutting and serving. (The brownies will continue cooking and become chewier as they cool.)
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I always cut brownies right after they come out of the oven, which avoids the problem that you had with stickiness. The knife glides right through them when they are hot, so the whole production takes no time at all!
Posted by: Barbara at June 20, 2006 07:56 AM
I wonder if that would work with this recipe - it specifically says not to take it out of the pan for two hours because it's still cooking as it cools. Maybe I should try leaving it in the oven longer then cutting it while it's in the pan and see what happens.
Posted by: Georgia at June 20, 2006 12:45 PM
As long as you cut off the foiley parts, who can complain? They look great.
Posted by: Sara at June 21, 2006 06:55 PM
These look fantastic!
Posted by: Ivonne at June 22, 2006 09:13 PM
Oh wow, there's nothing like brownies to make your mouth water and your photos are making me do just that. I love them especially chewy, thanks for sharing the recipe.
Posted by: jenjen at June 25, 2006 07:26 AM
Ooo I am on the look out for good brownies recipes -- this one is going in the file. :o) Thank you for participating! :o)
Posted by: Alicat at June 26, 2006 12:07 PM