Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TWD: French Chocolate Brownies


Thank goodness - brownies. I'm amazed that we've made it this long in TWD without making brownies! Don't worry though - Di did not pick traditional brownies. They have raisins! And rum! And flame! Well, the prep has flame, so that counts, right? Other than the lighting of poor defenseless raisins on fire, these were incredibly easy. Making them was part of a fabulous girl's night in, including the watching of 27 Dresses. Chocolate and chick flicks = my personal heaven. As happened to a lot of people, these puffed up enormously before caving in, leaving a crisp chocolate shell over the intensely fudgy and moist inside. It reminded me of the Almost Fudge Gateau we did a few months ago, actually.


There was some trepidation when it came to bringing these in for coworkers though. Brownies with raisins in them? Umm... no thanks. And then I thought - if nothing else, I could tell all my coworkers that there were rum-soaked raisins in these. Raisins in brownies? Not so much. Add some rum? All of a sudden, they'd be lining up for them!

The reactions?
"Fabulous, but you already knew that, didn't you?"
"If I come back in an hour and there aren't any more left, we're going to have words."


PS - the macro setting on a camera? SUPERAWESOME. I don't know what I did before I had Picasa and a camera that could take macro photos. Take crappy(er) photos, I guess.


PPS - taking a hint from Leigh, I decided that the only way to spruce up these brownies was to put swirly pastel butterfly sprinkles on them. And aren't they adorable?


Last week: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns
Next week: La Palette's Strawberry Tart

French Chocolate Brownies
(from Baking From My Home to Yours)

makes 16 brownies

Ingredients

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional, I didn't use it)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used 1/2 bittersweet 1/2 semisweet)
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar

Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.

Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you're using it.

Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It's important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you've got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it's better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you'll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won't be completely incorporated and that's fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.

Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.

Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they're even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

62 comments:

Di said...

Great job on the brownies--love the sprinkles. =) I have those same ones, but my 5yo won't let me use them. She wants me to save them for some as yet unidentified purpose.

Andrea said...

I just love the rainbow butterflies. Your brownies look so good. I just love the crispy crust.

LyB said...

Macro=love :) Your brownies look fabulous all dolled up in some cutie butterfly sprinkles!

Amy W said...

Love the sprinkles..and the brownies!

Heather said...

yum! Your brownies look great! Love the sprinkles!

The Food Librarian said...

These look so yummy. The sprinkles are totally cute!

Kbg said...

Girls Night, 27 Dresses, Sprinkles that look like butterflies, a gorgeous display plate, that MACRO setting...too too much...Kudos to you! Looks very pretty. May have to find that MACRO setting on my camera...yep, may have to do that.

Prudy said...

Those aren't just any sprinkles-they are adorable! Your photos are beautiful and I had fun reading your meme. I've got to get to my run this morning before it's too late!

Madam Chow said...

Great job, and I'm so happy that your co-workers gave them rave reviews!

maplesugardesserts said...

Niiiiicccce. I have been waiting to hear that someone actually used the raisins and liked them. I love LOVE the butterfly sprinkles...I've never seen those!

Mary Ann said...

Love the sprinkles- we use them all the time at my house! They look delish!

BAKE-EN said...

Very cute sprinkles. Also, I love the plate you had the brownies on, so pretty. You're inspiring me to get a new camera!

Amy said...

Mmmmm, these look great!! Cute sprinkles!
-Amy (www.singforyoursupperblog.com)

CB said...

Love the sprinkles! Just something about sprinkles that makes everything look tastier (add alcohol and its the perfect food!)
ps. Did you like 27 dresses? Its on my to-rent list.
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Amy said...

Nice, I love the psychadelic butterflies.

April said...

Love the sprinkles. You are correct, nothing goes better with a chick flick than chocolate!

Linda said...

Girl's night with a movie and brownies...i'm shocked that you had any left for your co-workers! Fabulous looking results!

Mara said...

i love the pastel butterflies...and your brownies look yummy and thick!!! these things are choco bombs!

Liliana said...

I love the way you decorated your brownies with butterflies!

Katrina said...

the sprinkles are adorable! I'm glad yours were a hit!

Nikki57 said...

Aww the butterfly sprinkles are so cute. Your brownies look fab!

StickyGooeyCreamyChewy said...

Gorgeous! I love the pretty butterflies! Perfect for a Girls Nite. Great job!

Anne said...

They look great, I love the sprinkles too! Macro is the best. Your photos look great!

Jess said...

Not only do your brownies look great, but now I feel the urge to go out and buy some swirly butterfly sprinkles!

Amy said...

I love the butterfly sprinkles, we have the same ones but my daughter saves them for her ice cream.

Marie said...

Your brownies are sooo cute! I love the sprinkles! Well done!

diva said...

are those colourful little butterfly sprinkles on the top? looks great. just some vanilla ice cream and cream to sort it all out :)

eatme_delicious said...

I was a bit concerned about sharing these brownies with people too, but I ended up sharing with friends. And warning everyone before trying them that there were raisins in them (so they didn't go eww what is wrong with your brownie)!

Teanna said...

I love those butterflies! What a great, creative presentation! Those look beautiful!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

You should never be ashamed of your baked goods! I take a lot of what I make to work and I tell my colleagues that they are under no obligation to eat or like them. Considering how few people actually cook these days, most everyone is always happy to have something homemade.

Love your sprinkles, btw, but the beautiful plate even more!

Jessy said...

Congrats for getting onto tastespotting! Your picture is awesome and make my brownies look rubbish!

Brilynn said...

Those really are the cutest sprinkles ever, great pics!

Isa said...

Wow! they look delcious :)
and cute sprinkles!

bakersbakery said...

The sprinkles are adorable!
p.s. I also use picasa.

Christine said...

I love the sprinkles on your brownies! Great job!

Joy the Baker said...

I know everyone before me has said this, but... MOST AWESOME SPRINKLES EVER!

Tammy said...

love the butterflies - it is hard to make brownie look interesting in a photo but you've done a great job!

MrsBethorama said...

love the colorful sprinkles! :)

Jaime said...

love the sprinkles!!!! your crust puffed up but then fell back nicely on your brownies...mine was so thick and crumbly. still tasty, but not pretty

Hygeian Stew said...

Those sprinkled are adorable! Nice work!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

oh these look great, especially with butterflies!

PheMom said...

Pretty, pretty, pretty! I love the cute little butterflies!

Lisa Thibault said...

Okay - the butterflies are too, too cute. Brownies look ooey, gooey good too!

Rebecca of "Ezra Pound Cake" said...

The macrosetting's power cannot be denied. Ah, brownies and 27 Dresses–sounds perfect!

Rebecca
http://www.ezrapoundcake.com

Carol Peterman said...

You have inspired me to use more sprinkles in my cooking!

lemontartlet said...

It's a sprinkle army! Preach the good sprinkle sistah woman, the sprinkles shall rise again!

Errrrm, sorry about that. Has it been mentioned lately that I adore your blog with an almost unmentionable adoration?

becs said...

these look great, very fudgy and brownie-like unlike mine!

Dianne's Dishes said...

Oh wow I love the sprinkles! Too cute!

bakingwiththeboys said...

Your coworkers must LOVE you!

Sharon said...

These look great. Love the rainbow butterflies, how fun!

The Kitchen Vixen said...

Those sprinkles are adorable! Great job! They look so fudgy!

Jenny said...

Where did you get those great butterflies? They really make the brownie! :-)

Shari said...

If these weren't snapped up in minutes at your work, I don't know what's wrong with them. They look great with the sprinkles!
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Rachel said...

Cutest sprinkles ever. Glad your coworkers liked them!

Chris said...

Love everything about these - especially that cool plate!

Garrett said...

It really was surprising how well these turned out with the raisins in them. Glad you've got your macro down now!

ostwestwind said...

I love the coloured sprinkles on your brownies.

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

The DeLadurantey Sisters said...

I love the sprinkles!

Kelly Mahoney said...

Those are some adorable sprinkles, too.

OLGUIS said...

brownies with raisins that sounds really good.
I really like brownies and I made a lot of recipes.
olga

Lynnylu said...

Looks great

Clara said...

Have you ever used carob in place of chocolate?
I know many people avoid carob, but I find that the trick is to find the right brand and

then you'll really see that carob can be (almost) as good as chocolate.

The brand I use is from Holy Food Imports,
which comes from Israel, so it does have an excellent and unique taste.