Who knew you could take a simple brownie and turn it up a notch and serve it at your swankiest dinner party? This week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was chosen by Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook. She selected French Chocolate Brownies, and Dorie gave my five year old's palette a time out long enough for me to get over the fact that though this is not my favorite brownie recipe it is still an excellent one, and the perfect upscale version of my favorite dessert. These are gonna kill at my next dinner party when I add the rum soaked walnuts.
Now initially I didn't care for these brownies for several reasons (the main one being I'm a picky bitch). They are cake like, The tops are EXTREMELY cracked which makes them unappealing (to me, and lets face it my opinion is the only one that matters here), I didn't care for the cinnamon, and they take forever to bake. But they are one of those foods which are the enigmas of life in that they taste absolutely FABULOUS the next day. The cinnamon becomes an understated flavor and makes them interesting. The bittersweet chocolate is rich, and draws you in delicately. Long after they were gone I found myself craving them, and they are far from what I look for in a brownie. It's like my favorite bar treat had a snobby make over and I'm loving it.
Their addiction factor sort of sneaks up on you. Similar to when you get a subtle whiff of your husbands cologne and you are immediately filled with goose bumps and perky nipples, and you realize that this is one intense bar snack. Make these tonight...the anticipation of how amazing they will be tomorrow is worth it.
Make sure you check out the Tuesdays with Dorie blogroll to see everyone else's treats.
I left out the rum soaked raisins (because raisins are gross and remind me of giant rat droppings), but I plan on adding rum soaked walnuts next time instead of the raisins to make them a little more grown up and exciting.
French Chocolate Brownies
makes 16 brownies
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
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
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.