>Happy Birthday to me!
Here’s the recipe for the brownies I shared one night at the Big Bar on Two at TNNA Columbus 2009. Incredibly moist and meltingly smooth, these brownies should be kept refrigerated to extend freshness. They also freeze well. But that assumes there will be any left around to store. This pattern… uh, recipe… tells exactly how I make them, with specific ingredients to get the same results. Swap out at your own risk!
Skill Level No-Brainer
Size 8” by 8” square or 9” round, 1″ deep; to serve a gang of crocheters, unless you are Ellen Gormley, in which case serves two
14 tablespoons (7 ounces [200 g]) unsalted butter, cold, in chunks (Land O’ Lakes)
3 ounces (85g) chopped bittersweet or dark chocolate (Ghirardelli semi-sweet dark)
1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons (1.75 oz [50 g]) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa, lightly spooned into cup (Pernigotti, an Italian cocoa with a touch of Tahitian vanilla bean)
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons (8.25 oz [238 g]) granulated sugar
3 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract (Penzey’s Double Strength)
3 ounces (85 g) cream cheese, softened (Philadelphia brand original)
1/2 cup (2.5 oz [71 g]) all purpose flour, stir flour in container, dip cup, lightly sweep off excess (King Arthur)
A pinch of salt
Baking pan, metal, 8” by 8” square (or alternately 9” round), 2” deep
Aluminum foil, 8” by 16” strip or parchment paper
Nonstick baking spray (Pam for baking)
Microwave for melting stuff
Microwaveable 2-cup measure or medium bowl
Stand mixer with paddle attachment, great to have but not critical (KitchenAid), or hand-held mixer plus a large mixing bowl
Thin bladed spatula for spreading batter
Wire cooling rack
Toothpick or cake tester
Gauge not critical
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Prepare 8” square baking pan by lining with aluminum foil, allowing a few inches overhang on sides for lifting brownies later. Alternately, line the bottom of the 9” round pan with a circle of parchment. Either way, spray sides and bottom of pan with baking spray (or grease lightly with a little butter or vegetable shortening).
Row 1 (RS): In a microwaveable 2-cup measure or medium bowl, place butter and chopped chocolate, microwave on high power until melted, approximately 1 1/2 minutes, stirring 2 or 3 times.
Row 2: Pour the butter mixture into a large mixing bowl (bowl of stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment) and beat in the cocoa — 15 seconds at medium speed.
Row 3: Beat in the sugar until it is incorporated — another 15 seconds.
Row 4: Beat in the eggs and vanilla until incorporated — about 30 seconds more.
Row 5: Beat in the softened cream cheese until you can only see tiny bits — about 15 seconds more.
Row 6: Sift in the flour and salt and mix only until the flour is fully moistened — a few seconds at low speed.
Row 7: Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly with spatula.
Row 1: Place pan in the middle of oven, bake for 30 minutes. Batter should be set around the outside but the top should still look moist and shiny in the center. A toothpick inserted 1 inch from the edge will come out clean.
Note: Avoid overbaking.
Row 2: Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. That’s the hard part, cause this requires a couple of hours of smelling chocolate but not being able to eat it.
With clean spatula, loosen brownies from sides of pan. Using the foil overhang, lift the brownies out of the pan. Alternately, turn the brownies out of the round pan, peel the parchment off the bottom of the brownie round, then invert so the top is again on top.
Weave in ends. Block brownies into 2” square servings, 16 squares. Or one huge shark-bite for Ellen. Enjoy!