Wednesday, October 21, 2009
After a several month hiatus from food blogging, I return with glory. And nothing exemplifies glory like my mom’s luscious brownies.
My mother makes the world’s best brownies. Her brownies could save the world: peace in the Middle East, global warming, America’s healthcare crisis, and even Rush Limbaugh’s drug problem. Debonair men have been seen obsequiously begging to lick the batter-coated spoon. Genteel women throw manners to the wind, picking the crumbs from the baking dish (or the floor). My mom’s brownies are a coup in the world of baking.
Everyone who knows my family knows that my husband gets killers sugar cravings. His sweet tooth is uncanny, something of ancient myths. I’ve never seen a man single handedly wipe out a pint of ooey-goey ice cream with such fervor, or inhale a dozen chocolate cookies in seemingly one superhuman breath. Mike’s appetite for sugar destruction is bordering on otherworldly. If he could, he would live and thrive in Willy Wonka’s candy factory, living happily amongst the sugary tea cup and larger than life candy trees.
However, this is reality and many store bought cookies contain suspicious toxins and bizarre unpronounceable ingredients. If he’s going to single handedly decimate the world’s sugar supply, I’d like him to do it with homemade baked goods. Furthermore, my mom’s brownies never fail to feed his monstrous sugar craving, yet another coup in the world of baking.
The brownies are densely rich, fudgy and deeply chocolately. The brownie itself is not overly sweet, yet we do something not commonly seen in the world of brownies: we frost them with a rich, slightly cocoa-infused butter-based frosting. The combination is sinful: smooth, moist, rich cake slathered in velvety ripple of extravagance. I’ve also added a pinch of cayenne which is more or less tasteless in the final product, but really deepens the chocolatey richness.
* Let it be noted that my mom uses the Silver Palate Cookbook’s recipe as a skeletal template for her own brownies. However, she’s managed to make them her own. I’ve had other people’s versions of the Silver Palate brownie recipe and nothing comes close to my mom’s.
1/2 pound salted butter, unsweetened
4 ounces unsweetened baker’s chocolate
1/2 cup unbleached flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Pinch cayenne (optional)
Butter for greasing the pan (or nonstick spray)
1/2 cup of butter, softened
3-4 cups confectionary sugar
1-2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 tablespoons whole milk
Vanilla extract to taste (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 10x10 baking pan with butter or non-stick spray.
Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler over high heat until melted (you can also do this in the microwave).
2. While the chocolate and butter mixture melts, beat eggs and sugar until thick and add salt and vanilla. Mix until well combined.
3. Once the chocolate and butter melt, pour immediately into egg mixture and fold quickly so as not to cook the eggs. Sift flour and fold into the batter until well blended.
4. Poor batter into the greased pan and bake for 25 minutes. Make sure not to overbake--the edges will be firm and the center will appear unset.
5. Cool brownies in pan for 20-30 minutes before frosting.
6. To make the frosting: beat butter with a mixer at medium speed and slowly add sugar, beating well. Add cocoa and continue mixing until well combined, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Beat in milk and vanilla until the icing reaches a spreadable consistency.
Yield: About 12 brownies.