Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bake Sale Brownies

I learned something new this weekend.  You don't check doneness on a brownie the same way you do a cake or cupcake.  Instead, when you stick a toothpick in, there should be pieces (though not streaks) clinging to it.  Or you can check to see that the edges are pulling from the side of the pan.  Probably something everyone already knew, but it was news to me.

This year, to get myself baking more despite the demands of being a working mom, I've taken on the challenge of being "Sunshine Chair."  Among other things, this has evolved to mean bringing in goodies to celebrate birthdays.  I asked everyone who participates what their favorite baked good is.  This month's first birthday celebration asked for brownies.  

I turned to where it all began, America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook.  See, I credit the ATK with giving me the confidence to bake.  It soon became a bible of sorts, since every single thing I made from it turned out great.  I'll now go so far as to say I'm in a love affair with Cook's Illustrated, and my birthday gift from my husband last year was a subscription to their (very excellent) magazine, Cook's Country.

Bake Shop Brownies.

With a name like that, you already get a sense of how good they'll be.  And they were excellent.  Just the right amount of cake and goo.  The perfect amount of chocolatey yumminess.  And it took roughly the same amount of time it would have taken me to toss together brownies from a box.  And, perhaps you've noticed, I'm not the most adept person in the kitchen.  You can do it too.

These flew at work.  I promised A a taste, but there just wasn't any left after my fairly small group of coworkers got hold of them.   I'm glad I took a taste before bringing them in (you know, to make sure they weren't poisoned.)

The recipe I used is almost identical to the one shared at gas*tron*o*my.  I'll take advantage of her having done the work!

Bake Sale Brownies America’s Test Kitchen Family Cookbook, via gas*tron*o*my
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 Degrees. Line an 8-inch square pan with foil then coat lightly with vegetable oil spray. Melt the butter and chocolate together in the microwave, stirring often, 1 to 3 minutes. Let the mixture cool slightly.

Whisk the sugar, eggs, vanilla, baking powder, and salt together in a large bowl until combined. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture until smooth. Stir in the flour until no streaks remain.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs attached, 22 to 27 minutes.

Let cool completely on a wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, before removing the brownies from the pan using the foil and cutting into squares.

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