This week’s TWD recipe, French Chocolate Brownies, was chosen by Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook.
I made these rather quickly yesterday – I’d planned to make them as part of a whole afternoon of chocolate-themed baking, but it didn’t work out. So I put these together in rapid time in between Alex’s kindergarten class in the morning and Julia’s gymnastics class in the afternoon and all the assorted kid-chaos in between. Fortunately it’s a very easily-put-together recipe, and the brownies were cooled and on a plate by the time the kids and I had to leave the house.
I have to say, I like raisins in things…but not in my brownies. They just seemed…like they’d wandered into the batter while they were looking for a cinnamon bun to curl up in. But that’s just my opinion. They don’t taste bad in there, they’re just…odd. To me.
Other than that, these are yummy – kind of reminded me of a flourless (or nearly) cake – that kind of soft, melt-in-your mouth texture. I enjoyed the flavor. My husband had a bite last night (after we’d been out to dinner with the kids, and Bill was offered a free dessert by the water because he mis-heard Bill’s order and brought him the wrong thing. So Bill, who is not much of a dessert eater, and who was already stuffed from dinner, ate half of a bowl of grapenut pudding and was about ready to burst. He gallantly ate a bite of a brownie, just so I could selfishly garner some feedback. He said he liked it. This morning I tried to get the kids to taste-test for me. Julia refused (she is ornery in the mornings. Well, okay, noon and night, too.), but Alex was a willing participant. He pronounced his bite “Delicious!”
So there you go.
And here’s the recipe and my little process photos….
French Chocolate Brownies
– makes 16 brownies –
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.
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
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. (I tried, but I didn’t get any decent shots of my raisins a-flame. Sorry!)
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.
(And yes, those are golden raisins in that picture above. Not anything else. Not something hideous that my small children might have dug up (or out of) somewhere and wiped on the bowl when I wasn’t looking. No. It’s not that. Though this picture tells me I should have used dark raisins, if only because they would have looked more appropriate swimming in chocolate. Ah well.)
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.
To see how all the other TWD members did this week, start by going here.