October 4, 2011

The Perfect Brownies

DO you get vacation envy?  I do.  Normally I'm the person that is totally stoked for you but secretly scheming ways to find money and skip work.  In fact I spend a great deal of time planning little trips and big vacations I won't be going on for some number of years.  I find pretty places, plan activities, scope out the best deal at the best cottage in the best location.  I find the yummiest food, or in the event it's a camping trip or a rental house with a kitchen I plan menus.  I make budgets and calculate gas prices.  I've got more trips planned than I could go on in the next few years!  Most commonly I dream of trips around Canada and the United States, the cost of flying to Europe or Asia or even South America dampens my dreams and I find it too easy to be discouraged.

My family got back from vacation to California yesterday and you know something? I wasn't jealous.  Not even the slightest.  I think it's a combination of having gone a huge trip, moving into a place I love and never want to leave and nesting down into fall.  Come January I'll be desperate to be back on a beach soaking up sun and eating ice cream.  Today though, I'm happy to be here and to welcome their sun-tanned skin and smiling faces home. I brought over a pan of brownies, because from my experience: coming home sucks.

The Perfect Brownies (Gluten and Dairy Free)

These brownies are from David Lebovitz and I didn't change the recipe at all.  The brownies come out fudge-y, moist and crispy on the top and edges, the exact brownies I crave.  The perfect brownie.  I'm not joking.

6 Tbsp (85g) margarine (butter if you aren't allergic to dairy)
8 oz (225g) semisweet (or bittersweet) chocolate, chopped
150 g (3/4 cup) sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp cocoa powder
30 g (3 Tbsp) cornstarch
1 cup walnuts, toasted and chopped

Line an 8x8 inch pan with tin foil and grease well.  Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Melt the butter and chocolate in a medium saucepan over low heat.  Stir constantly and once the chocolate it fully melted stir in the sugar.  The eggs go in one at a time, beating well between each addition.

Sift the cocoa powder and cornstarch together into a separate bowl, then stir into the chocolate mixture.  Beat the batter vigorously for one full minute, until the batter is no longer grainy and nearly smooth. (Yes this might kill your arm, do it anyways or your brownies will be crumbly.)  The batter will pull away from the sides a bit.  Mix in the nuts of using and pour the batter into the prepared pan.

Smooth batter to the edges and bake in the oven for 30 minutes or until the brownies feel just set in the center.  Be sure not to overbake.  Let the brownies cook completely before cutting.  Makes 16 small brownies.

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