Monday, May 09, 2011

Chocolate Bronwies

Brownies are not an Australian phenomenon. They come to us via the good ole' US of A, and we can all thank the Baker for that! The only thing in Australian baking that comes close to a brownie is the humble chocolate coconut slice, which is a bit more like a flat biscuit and is covered in icing and sprinkled with coconut. A chocolate brownie is a whole other proposition - the best ones, in my opinion, are intensely chocolate and extremely moist. In January this year I published a recipe for Black & White Brownies. I was happy with the chocolate component, but when I cooked it on its own for my in-laws a couple of weeks later I found it was a bit on the thin side, and slightly cakey. Since then I've been thinking about how to perfect this brownie and I am pleased to say I have finally gotten it to a point when I think I've aced myself! Try it out and let me know if you agree!

400g high quality dark cooking chocolate (I use Callebaut)
375g salt reduced butter, chopped
2 cups caster sugar
2 tblsp vanilla essence
2 tblsp Dutch cocoa powder
1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup almond meal
6 large eggs
pure icing sugar for dusting

1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees celsius (160 in a fan faust). Line a 20x30cm brownie tin with baking paper, ensuring there's about an inch and a half extra above the top of the tin on both of the long sides. If your tin isn't teflon coated, thoroughly grease the other two sides to ensure the brownie doesn't stick.
2. Combine the chocolate, butter and sugar in a large glass bowl. Microwave on high for 2-3 minutes or until the butter is mostly melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate.
3. Stir the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and the ingredients are well combined.
4. Add the vanilla, flour, almond meal and eggs. Mix with a balloon whisk until thoroughly combined. Make sure there are no lumps!
5. Pour the mixture into the brownie tin. It will almost fill the entire tin but don't worry - it won't bubble over the sides. Place in the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Remember, brownies need to be on the undercooked side, so decrease the cooking time according to how you know your oven performs.
6. When cooked allow the brownie to stand in the tin until it's completely cold. This is really important! It's best to make the brownie the day before you need it to ensure it's had time to settle. Run a sharp knife down the sides of the brownie where there's no baking paper to loosen it from the tin. Use the flaps of paper on the long sides as handles to lift it out and place it on a chopping board.
7. Carefully cut the brownie into 16 5cm x 7.5cm pieces. I seriously use a ruler to get the measurements right! Push it all back together and cover with a thick dusting of icing sugar. Then serve!

Note: Some people love the edges of the brownie for their chewiness. I can't say this brownie is particularly chewy, but in any case, I don't like edges! There's a new brownie tin out that's kind of Z-shaped so you can get more edges. You won't see me baking with one of these! You'll be happy to know the edges on this brownie are virtually as squidgey as the middle. Which is the whole point!

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