I love chocolate. Who doesn’t? My craving goes into overdrive in the colder weather but I am guessing I’m not the only one. I am, however, very picky with what type of chocolate dessert I put into my mouth. I am not a chocolate snob, I’ll have a Kit Kat as the next person, but if it is homemade might as well make the best, right? I’m not talking about plated desserts with intricate designs and complicated sauces. My chocolate incarnation of choice is much simpler than that. I’ve been hoodwinked before by this dessert called “Death by Chocolate” hyped as a seven layer extravaganza, well it was more like a seven-layer flop. No, I prefer my chocolate simpler but full-strength. I prefer it in brownie doses.
I believe Alice Medrich has the best brownie recipes and it’s hard to fathom even trying anyone else’s. Except, of course if that someone is Thomas Keller. He has come out with a new book, “Ad hoc at home” and it is full of interesting and accessible recipes for the serious food enthusiast. I haven’t read this book in-depth yet, but I am loving those light-bulb moments where he gives you cooking tips and techniques.
The taste of this brownie reminds me of the flavor of Keller’s bouchons. It is intensely chocolatey, but I still prefer my brownies with more chew which is what I get when I make Medrich’s version. The “Hungry” Hubby though, loves this brownie version and that is saying a lot since he is not a dessert person.
Thomas Keller "Ad hoc at home"
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
6 ounces 61 to 64% chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces ( about 1 1/2 cups)
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350F. We use a 9-inch square silicone mold, because it keeps the edges from overcooking; if you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and flour it. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside
Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.
Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving. (The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)