Brownies – everyone loves brownies right? Or do they? It’s not something I make very often, for the most part because I don’t think they’re worth it. What I mean is, I believe that the Butter/Chocolate (Mmmm) vs. Enjoyment ratio just isn’t high enough on your standard brownie. Why would I cook with and then consume enough saturated fats to make Dr. Oz see red for a treat that is just on the right side of tasty? I know, I know for plenty of people that ratio IS high enough but just not for me. And don’t even get me started on store/café bought brownies that have hardly any butter or chocolate in them and are basically bulked out with copious amounts of sugar! TASTE-LESS
But enough of badmouthing brownies – I just had to share with you how I felt about them so you can fully comprehend the magnitude of what I’m about to say. These adhoc brownies will blow your mind. No kidding. They’ve got more butter in them than I’d ever dream of saying was worth it and yet their deliciousness wins through.
I know Thomas Keller has been in the bad books this last month for comments he made on sustainability/carbon foot prints etc in the New York Times, but disagreeing with his politics and loving his brownie recipe are two separate issues, of which I’m only going to go into one today.
I only bought ‘adhoc at home’ about a year ago but really should have made these brownies sooner. Its packed with some great recipes and it really is a beautiful book (although it’s BIG and HEAVY and the funny squarishness of it makes is stick out the bookcase much farther than the rest!)
Here’s a quick step by step of how I whipped them up. If you think it seems like a lot of ingredients, I doubled the recipe – I don’t do much by halves.
Ad Hoc Brownies
(barely adapted from ‘Adhoc at Home‘ – makes 2 pans)
- 1 1/2 cups plain flour
- 2 cups unsweetened cocoa
- 2 tsp kosher salt – I used fleur de sel
- 3 cups of decent chocolate (approx 3oog) cut into chips
- 2 cups of walnuts – chopped as small as you like
- 6 sticks of unsalted butter (750g)
- 6 large eggs
- 3 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla paste
- icing sugar for dusting
Preheat oven 180°C/350°F – Prepare two 8 inch square baking pans w/ grease proof paper (sides as well)
Sift the flour and cocoa then add the salt.
The recipe called for 61% – 64% chocolate chips- I used half 85% and half milk – both Lindt. I also added walnuts because to me a brownie isn’t a brownie without walnuts – nuts give that much needed balance.
Cut the butter up into cubes. Place 1/2 the butter in a saucepan and the other 1/2 in a heatproof bowl. When melted pour one over the other. Stir to melt and leave to cool. There should still be small pieces of butter visible.
Using a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the sugar. Continue for at least 3 minutes until mixture has thickened. It will be pale and creamy – stir in the vanilla.
On low speed add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients – follow by 1/3 of the butter. Continue in two further additions. Add the chocolate and walnuts and stir well.
Spread the batter in the pan and bake for 50 to 60 min. Brownies are cooked when cake tester come out almost clean. Mine took 60 minutes but I started testing at 45min. I won’t next time. If you use a 9 inch pan you probably want to check at 45min though.
Cool in pan (for at least an hour then carefully transfer to cutting board). I refrigerated for a couple of hours in order to get a clean cut.
As always the question is, will I be making these again? Definitely. They’re rich and fudgy with a strong chocolatey flavour. If chewy is what you’re looking for then these probably aren’t for you. They’re not sickly sweet and have almost a caramel after taste (probably from those random mini pockets of butter!) When taken from the fridge you can cut them with a sharp knife into beautifully neat squares or rectangles (if you’re like me) and I cut 24 small pieces from 1 pan.
Theses brownies come back to room temperature very well and even though they are absolutely perfect as they are, they would be luscious with a scoop of vanilla ice cream or some crème fraîche. So tell me, was I the only person who wasn’t a brownie fan before these adhoc brownies?