There is nothing like walking into a house when brownies are baking in the oven. Your nose goes up in the air like a dog on the scent and you head straight for the kitchen, hoping that they are cooling on the counter so you can eat one right away. Chocolate has a warm, welcoming aroma that puts a smile on everyone’s face. Mondays can be dreary when you have to go back to work or school, so starting today I am going to make them a little brighter. Welcome to Chocolate Mondays! Every week I’ll have a new chocolate recipe for you to try. I’ll give you a list of ingredients on Friday so you can go to the store over the weekend and have everything you need. When you get home, just pull up The Heritage Cook and join along as we bake together. Then on Tuesday tell us how it went and what you think of the recipe!
We’ll start out with fairly basic recipes, things that will easy to make. As we go along, and you get more comfortable in the kitchen (if you aren’t already), the recipes will get a little more complex. By the time the holidays roll around you’ll be a pro and ready for the big baking season! So grab your apron and a spatula and let’s get cooking!
Everyone should have a good brownie recipe in his or her repertoire. These are moist and fudgy, a little dense and full of chocolate flavor. They will satisfy even the strongest sweet tooth. When measuring flour it is important to use dry measuring cups – the kind with straight sides and a flat top. Stir the flour a little to lighten it, then scoop it into the cup gently and use the handle of your rubber spatula to sweep across the top. If you do this every time, your results will be consistent and repeatable, which is the secret to great baking.
- 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, cut into cubes
- 8 oz high quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped, such as Valrhona or Guittard
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup flour, sifted
- 1 cup chopped, toasted nuts, preferably walnuts or pecans (optional)
- Preheat oven to 375°F. Lightly grease an 8-inch baking pan and line with parchment or foil, so that the paper comes over the top edge of pan. Lightly grease paper.
- In a bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water (make sure water doesn’t touch the bottom of the bowl), melt butter and chocolate together. Whisk until smooth. Transfer to bowl of stand mixer. Stir in sugar, vanilla, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, one at a time. Blend for 1 to 2 minutes. Slowly mix in the flour and blend until smooth. Do not overbeat. Scrape the bowl and beaters. Stir in nuts if using. Pour batter into prepared pan and tap on the counter to release any trapped air bubbles.
- Bake for about 20 minutes or until the batter begins to pull away from the sides of the pan. A toothpick inserted in the center will have moist crumbs clinging to it. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack to cool.
- When ready, use the paper to lift the brownies out of the pan and cut into 16 squares.
- Yield: 16 brownies