Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: French Chocolate Brownies

French Chocolate Brownies

I was very excited this week because the TWD recipe, chosen by Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook, called for raisins flamed in rum. I figured that there would be some huge fireball in my kitchen, curling and rising and almost singeing the ceiling. As it turns out, the flame was tiny and blue and you couldn't see it unless you were looking straight down into the pan. Still kinda cool, but not nearly as dramatic as I'd imagined ;)

rum and raisins

Anyway, the rest of the recipe was pretty straightforward. I thought the cinnamon was a nice addition and gave the chocolate a little something to play against. Even with just eggs to give it a rise, the result was definitely cakier than A. and I would have liked (see this post for A.'s favorite brownie texture... basically goo). It had a delicious flavor and tender texture, but you definitely need to be sitting by a glass of water while eating it — or, as Dorie suggests, eat it with a scoop of ice cream :) Even better!

cutting the brownies

As for the raisins, I normally don't like 'em in desserts at ALL, but I think they were a welcome addition here. The soaking and flaming in rum gave them moistness and flavor. I think next time I would try using fresh raspberries instead, though, as some of the other TWD'ers suggested.

French Chocolate Brownies

makes 16 brownies
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup (50 g) 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 (205 g) 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. (I used buttered parchment paper as a sling instead of foil, and it worked great.)

1. Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon.

2. 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.

3. 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.

chopped chocolate

4. 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 and butter mixture, 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.

batter spread in pan

5. 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. (Mine were done at 50 minutes, and I probably could have gone even less, because of my dark pan.) Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature (A. had a hard time waiting for them to cool... they smelled great!)

brownies in pan

6. Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil (parchment) 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. These are great 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.
--end of recipe--

stack of brownies

Please visit the TWD blogroll to see how everyone else fared! I'm super busy this week so I probably won't get around to looking at everyone's blogs until later in the week, but I'm excited to see all of the brownie action!

As a side note, I am now using a spankin' new domain name: scrumptiousphotography.com! All bookmarks and feed subscriptions to the old link will still work. Got to love seamless transitions :)


Sweet and Savory Eats said...

Those are perfect little brownies. Great job!

Anonymous said...

Yum. Great pictures. Nicely done.

ostwestwind said...

I wasn't impressed by the flaming thing either, I did it for the brioche raisin snails, so this time I didn't flame my dried fruit.

Great pictures

steph- whisk/spoon said...

wow--they look perfect! i thought the flame-up was a little wimpy, too.

Andrea said...

Your pictures are lovely.
I got good flame (lasted long enough to get 7 photos). Maybe it was the bundy rum!

Patricia Scarpin said...

These look so decadent. I love how you photographed them!

April said...

Great looking brownies!

Linda said...

Gorgeous brownies...and yes, you must try these babies with ice cream...the best!!!

marae said...

ooh yours look beautiful, not quite as much of a crackly crust!! i did raspberries for mine and it's a great sub.

Katrina said...

I love the pictures. Very adorable.

PheMom said...

Fabulous job and seriously scrumptious photography! ;)

Marie Rayner said...

Wonderful looking brownies. I could just gobble them up!

Jayne said...

Lovely job!

Jules Someone said...

These are lovely! Very nice work.

Melissa said...

xrbI'm jealous that your top didn't crackle like mine!

Susie Homemaker said...

gorgeous photos! makes me want to bake another batch! so glad I dropped by your blog - it is chock full of great - inspiring - pics!

Christine said...

Oh I wish I could take pictures like you! Great job!

Anonymous said...

Your pictures are gorgeous, and so are your brownies. Fabulous job!

Heather B said...

Your brownies look delicious! Great job!

CB said...

I wish I could take pictures like yours. So fabulous as always... Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

The Kitchen Vixen said...

wonderful pictures. great looking brownies;)

Shari@Whisk: a food blog said...

Great photos! I love how you stacked them. And they look delicious too.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Mari said...

I was so converted by these brownies, which is saying something for a girl who was lukewarm about brownies and incredulous about raisins in brownies.

Jaime said...

your brownies look so perfect!

the flambe w/these was much less impressive than the time when we made the brioche raisin snails

Nina Timm said...

You are so talented with the camera. I love the brownies - dark and moist, just perfect!

kimberly salem said...

thanks, everyone, for your comments! :) i'm glad you liked the photos! if anyone is interested in an easy setup for photos, check this out: strobist diy macro studio

i made one for these brownie pics!

paresh said...

thanks for detailed procedure. nice recipe.

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