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Fudge Brownies by Crystal_Ann

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  • Fudge Brownies by Crystal_Ann

    Posted by Crystal_Ann - September 09, 2004 02:17 PM

    Truth In Fudginess
    By Mark Bittman

    Whenever I see a new recipe for brownies, I cringe, because some things cannot be improved upon. These days, there are chefs and cookbook authors who insist that only expensive chocolate be used (not 1 in 10 of us could tell the difference) and those who add a huge amount of flour and baking powder to make something that resembles cake. (To me these are not brownies at all.) Even more offensive is adding chocolate chips or M &M's: they are fine for kids parties but not for a classic American dessert.

    The first time I made brownies without my mother was in the late 1960's, using a recipe from Paula Peck, the cookbook writer. Over the
    years, I tinkered with that and a similar version by Marion Cunningham. As my daughters learned to cook, they experimented a bit further. But we never really strayed from the originals.

    That is because the true brownie is well defined: dense, fudgy and more than a little chewy. There is only one way to achieve this.
    Combine enough good-tasting fat in the form of butter, chocolate and eggs so that the batter remains moist even when cooked until firm.
    Brownies are not the underdone, warm chocolate cake that has become a restaurant staple but a thoroughly cooked ultrarich cake, the kind of
    thing you can dress up and call a (nearly) flourless chocolate tart.(Put whipped cream on it and call it whatever you want.)

    The classic proportions are between half a stick and a whole stick of butter to one cup of sugar. You need two to four ounces of chocolate, two eggs and a minimum (about half a cup) of flour. Vanilla is optional. I opt for the maximum amount of butter and a midrange amount of chocolate. More chocolate makes the brownie even denser and chewier, which you may prefer.

    As long as you keep the flour to a minimum and never, ever add chemical leavening like baking powder, you will produce a true and beautiful brownie, the way it was meant to be.

    Brownies
    ========
    3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
    8 tablespoons (1 stick) salted or unsalted butter, more for
    greasing pan
    1 cup sugar
    2 eggs
    1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    Pinch salt if you use unsalted butter
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract, optional

    1. Heat oven to 350F. Combine chocolate and butter in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When chocolate
    is just about melted, remove from heat, and continue to stir until mixture is smooth. Meanwhile, grease an 8-inch-square baking pan.
    If you like, also line it with waxed or parchment paper and grease that.

    2. Transfer mixture to a bowl, and stir in sugar. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Add flour (and salt and vanilla if you are using them),
    and stir to incorporate. Stop stirring when no traces of flour remain.

    3. Pour into pan, and bake 20 to 30 minutes, or until set and barely firm in the middle. Cool on a rack before cutting.
    Yield: About 1 dozen brownies.
    "There's no place like home..."
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