When I was a kid, my mom and I baked brownies about once a week. My mom had her homemade recipes, which of course are excellent -- but as a kid, all I ever wanted was Duncan Hines. I would always make sure I was on my best behavior throughout, so that when we were done, I could take my spoon to the mixing bowl and lick it spotless. Duncan still has a special spot in my heart, but when I'm craving brownies these days, I turn to these. They're a more grown-up, sophisticated version of the classic treat. Rest assured, they'll quiet even the strongest of brownie cravings.
Other times, I want a nibble, an after-school snack of a brownie that's just big enough and chocolatey enough to take the edge off my hunger and stave my appetite till dinner. That's when these brownie buttons come in oh-so-handy. I can see the parents and babysitters sitting up straight in their chair: bring your kids one or two of these buttons, and I doubt they'll give you a hard time for the rest of the evening. Ok, maybe just the babysitters will get off that easy -- but I know I'd have liked to have these to give to those kids I used to sit for. Not that they weren't wonderful. But pop a brownie in those little hands, and I can only imagine the little angels they'd have become!
Brownie Buttons adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking from My Home to Yours makes 12-16, depending on size
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 stick (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, cut into 4 pieces 2.5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 1 egg
Preheat oven to 350. Butter two mini-muffin tins and place on a baking sheet
In a small bowl, whisk together flour and salt.
Melt butter, chocolate, and brown sugar in small saucepan over very low heat, stirring constantly to ensure that chocolate doesn't burn. When mixture is smooth, remove from heat and cool 2 minutes.
Stir vanilla and egg into chocolate mixture and mix until combined. Then add flour mixture and stir just until it disappears into the chocolate. The batter will be smooth and glossy.
Spoon batter into muffin cups about 3/4 full. Bake 14 minutes; then transfer pans to racks to cool for 2-3 minutes before releasing the brownies from the tins, using a dull knife if necessary.