Did You Know? The brownie, also known as the Boston Brownie, traces all the way back to the 1800s. And although sources aren't clear on the exact date the first brownie recipe was published, they do know the recipe stemmed from a Boston-based cookbook.
The name says it all. My sister needed to bring a dessert to a dinner party she was attending, and of course she turned to me to create something for her. If it hadn't been for the fact that I had just received a KitchenAid Artisan Stand Mixer for Christmas, I might have told her to bake something herself. But I just had to use that new mixer again. It has made cooking and baking so much more fun, and it is just so pretty. Now I hope I can crack my parents into buying a Vita-Mix, they seem to be all the rage in the blogging world, and I desperately want to whip out some homemade nut butters. Until then...
Now, back to the brownies. My sister has always been a fan of the cakey brownie, while I, along with the rest of my family, enjoy a fudgy one. Since it was for her and all, I decided to make a cakey version. So Monday night, I cranked out a batch of Moosewood Fudge Brownies, that I saw on 101 Cookbooks. Yeah, yeah, fudge brownies. But all the comments revealed how cakey these were, and with 5 eggs, I knew fudgy was one thing these probably were not.
It turns out my intuition was right. These were the cakiest (?) brownies I have ever tasted. In fact, they sort of just tasted like little squares of rich chocolate cake. They didn't taste like brownies at all, but strangely, we all really enjoyed them (especially my sister). I wouldn't recommend baking these if you're really in the mood for a brownie, but if you're looking for a different spin on a classic, and you love the cakey texture, try these out. Fresh from the oven, they have a really nice bite, and the chocolate flavor slowly develops - it's really quite strange.
So because the brownies didn't turn out as I had hoped, I had to make another batch. The perfectionist in me wouldn't let me settle on the Moosewood version if people other than my family were expecting to eat a brownie. Here's where I turned to David Lebovitz for some inspiration. His post for Supernatural Brownies, is from the book "Chocolate: From Simple Cookies to Extravagant Showstoppers," by Nick Malgieri, and it happens to be the best brownie I have ever eaten. It's fudgy, but still light enough for those cake lovers to enjoy as well. It's rich and flavorful, and the chocolate, oh that chocolate. How could you go wrong adding a bowlful of melted chocolate and butter. Trust me, you must bake these. Warm and wrapped with slowly melting vanilla ice cream, these brownies are dessert at its finest. So much for that "eat healthy" New Year's resolution. One brownie won't hurt, but good for you if you only need one.
2 sticks unsalted butter, each cut into thirds
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate (I used 4 ounces of each), broken into pieces
4 large eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
One 13x9x2-inch pan, buttered
Set the rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
Combine the butter and chocolate in a heat proof bowl and microwave in intervals of 30 seconds or so, until melted (stir in between heatings).
Whisk eggs together in a large bowl, then whisk in the salt, sugars, and vanilla. Stir in the chocolate and butter mixture, then fold in the flour.
Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for about 45 minutes, until top has formed a shiny crust. Cool in pan, or enjoy hot from the oven.
Now I'm guessing I don't have to tell you which is which, but just in case...the left is Moosewood (cakey) and the right is Supernatural (fudgy).