Friday, October 29, 2010

Truffle Brownies

Hi there! I wrote this post back in June...June 29th actually, so I am posting this 4 months to the day after the fact. Why? Because I am currently on a much needed vacation in Denver alone with my husband, where we are doing whatever we want, when we want. Ahhh, this is the life...

Truffle brownies don't sound like something I would usually gravitate toward. I'm just now learning that I really like brownies in general. I used to think I didn't. Probably becuase they are overdone and so cliche. Also, a cop-out dessert for so many who use the box kind. I'm not trying to hate on boxed brownies, but they are not very "me". Sure, Ghiradelli got me through a few sad nights when I was about 8 months pregnant and craving brownie sundae's, but usually I'm a from scratch sort of girl.

The other thing is I used to think I didn't really enjoy dense and rich chocolate desserts. I don't much care for flourless tortes or chocolate molten lava cakes. So, when I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit for this rather dense, fudgy brownie with chocolate frosting on top and ran, literally ran to the kitchen to make them right away, I was quite surprised. I thought "well, this is odd". Then as I was measuring the sugar, I began to realize that one of my favorite desserts as a teenager was always brownie sundaes. Then, another startling revelation...My favorite dessert in the world (on most days) is a big piece of chocolate cake with chocolate icing. And, I always order a chocolate shake at In-N-Out burger. And, whats that dessert I love at that restaurant? Chocolate velvet pudding cake, is it? Hey now, maybe just becuase I don't care for certain rich chocolate desserts, doesn't mean I don't like them all together. Sometimes I don't think I know myself at all!

This particular species of brownie would fall into more of the fudgy catagory with a bittersweet, rich chocolate ganache on top. The recipe calls for bittersweet chocolate to be used for both the brownie and the topping, but if you are someone who likes their chocolate desserts a little more on the sweet side, I suggest you use semi-sweet chocolate for the ganache frosting. I used walnuts but they are optional.

Truffle Brownies
adapted from Bon Appetit Magazine

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped and divided (or chips)
11 tablespoons (1 stick plus 3 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsley chopped
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream

Position rack in the center of the oven a preheat to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9x2 (I used a square 9" cake pan, but an 8x8 glass pyrex dish would work) with foil, leaving overhang (this is so you can lift the brownies out of the pan later for good cutting) Spray foil with nonstick vegetable spray. Combine 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate and butter in a meduim bowl. Set bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and stir until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth. Alternately just combine the butter and chocolate in a glass bowl and microwave in 30 second increments, stirring between until melted. Set melted chocolate mixture aside until lukewarm, 5-10 minutes.

Whisk sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt in alarge bowl to blend. Whisk in chocolate mixture. Stir in flour, then chopped toasted walnuts. Transfer batter to prepared baking pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 26-28 minutes. Transfer pan to a cooling rack and let brownies cool completely. Bring cream to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat. Add remaining 6 ounces chocolate to hot cream and let stand 5 minutes to soften, then whisk until melted and smooth. Pour chocolate ganache over brownie sheet in pan and spread to cover completely. Let stand at cool room temperature until topping is set, about 4 hours. Can be made 1 day ahead. cover and store at room temperature.

Using foil as aid, lift brownie sheet from pan. Fold down foil edges. Using a large sharp knife, cut brownie sheet into 25 squares, wiping knife with hot moist cloth after each cut. Arrange brownies on a platter and serve.

Makes 25 squares

The key to perfectly moist, fudgy brownies is not to overcook them. As soon as the tester comes out with moist crumbs attached, remove the pan from the oven. My brownies were not done at 26 minutes, but at 29 minutes, they were perfect. If you are using an 8x8 pyrex pan, your brownies will be thicker and will need to bake slightly longer, but make sure you check them at the 30 minute mark.