Sunday, February 10, 2013

Happy Birthday Brownies!

The Bigger Half's birthday only comes once per year, and let's call a spade a spade. The man likes food, and I love him for it. This year, our original plan was to go up to Portland, Maine and eat and drink ourselves silly and report back accordingly. But a little storm called Nemo had other plans. So Portland and getting bombed will have to wait. In the meantime, the goodies out of the oven keep a coming.
Dry ingredients (except flour)
and butter heating up
Instead of making him a cake for his birthday, it's going to be "from scratch" brownies. It's a little bit of a shame that I've never made brownies from scratch before, but I've always figured that in times of chocolate cravings that stuff from the box is just so damn good and easy that I'd leave the real baking to the real bakers.
After the heat did it's work
But it's time to do something special for someone who really likes brownies. And so we have the recipe, found on, and credited to Alice Medrich.
Removed from heat,
added flour, eggs, vanilla
The craziest part of this recipe, besides the fact that I'm not dumping the contents of a box and mixing with oil and eggs in a moment of desperation, is that your dry ingredients, except for the flour, are going over a double boiler with all that butter. Who knew that this would involve a double boiler when it's just cocoa powder? Not me. Just the same, the extra step was easy enough to do and produced a rich, semi-smooth, slightly pebbly looking start of a batter. After heating until just shy of burning ones finger when checking the temperature, the mixture is removed from the stove. Next, you stir in your vanilla, eggs, and flour until a velvety smooth batter is produced. Into the oven, and it was at the 25 minute mark that a toothpick emerged from the brownies with just a little bit of batter still stuck to it. Out of the oven, and now, rest, little brownies, rest until it is time.
Ready for the oven
After the brownies cooled, boy, were they a treat. Deeply chocolaty and with a heavy, fudge-like consistency, these are brownies that cry out for ice cream, but honestly, I wasn't going to stumble through piles of snow to go get some. A cold glass of milk would have to do. And the dark chocolate flavor, the kind that sticks to every surface of your mouth, and very slowly diminishes before you go in for another bite, was just terrific. These are chocolate-lover brownies at their best, and worth every last sweat drop of effort. I may never look at a box of Duncan Heinz the same way.)
Happy Birthday, Bigger Half!!!
Epic birthday brownies!

10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cold large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

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