When it comes to brownies, everyone has his or her preference. Some prefer cakey (though god knows why), others prefer raw, yet others favor the fudgey dense sort -- there's a recipe for everyone. I even know someone who made a habit of mixing up two full batches each time she made brownies: one to bake, and one to eat raw, straight from the mixing bowl. If that's not enough to make your stomach turn, I don't know what is. Thank heavens that Dorie Greenspan understands how finicky folks can be with their brownies. For this reason exactly, she includes twelve different brownie recipes in Baking: from My Home to Yours, not including the blondie and white chocolate varieties. With so many options, one might think it tough to sort out exactly which will be to one's liking; however, after quickly discounting the cheesecake brownies (not in the mood), the brownie buttons (too small), the ginger-spiked (D wouldn't have liked 'em), the honey nut (again, too interesting) and several others, I was left to choose between "brrr-ownies" (spiked with peppermint!) and "Tribute to Katharine Hepburn" brownies. As if the namesake weren't enough to sell me, KH brownies seemed to have the perfect proportions: heaping quantities of both chocolate and cocoa, held together with a mere 1/4 cup flour and a couple of eggs, and spiked with vanilla and cinnamon, these brownies bake up to the perfect soft, fudgey consistency. They're rich, but not dense, flavorful but not overpowering. Ok, maybe the chocolate is a little overpowering, but that's how I like it. And they really benefit from just a hit of salt. Nothing makes a sweet tasty like salt does.
The first time I made these brownies, I followed the recipe to a T -- but you know me, the second time I had to change things up a bit. I decided to use unsweetened high-quality chocolate, since that's what I had lying around; to compensate, I added just a Tbsp. of extra sugar, and the resulting product was just what I'd hoped for: the brownies themselves were sweet and rich, but the melted bits of unsweetened chocolate were both flavorful and a refreshing break from the sugar. I'd do it again in a flash.
Oh, yea, how could I forget the raspberries? This was a bit of an afterthought, as I had some lovely raspberries in the fridge and wanted to make more of them than a garnish. I tossed 1 small container of raspberries with 1+ Tbsp. of sugar onto the stove and let it cook for about 7 minutes, until the berries started to exude their liquid. Then I took a fork to them, macerating them a bit so that some stayed intact while others created a sort of rough sauce. Overtop rich, chocolatey brownies, the raspberries provided a necessary tartness and their flavor, fresh and bright, was fantastic.
If you're the cakey type, sorry but I can't help ya. However, if you enjoy a light and not overly dense brownie that's also rich and chocolatey, read on.
Katherine Hepburn Brownies from Dorie Greenspan
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1 stick butter, cut into 8 pieces
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tsp. instant coffee
- 2 large eggs, pref. room temp
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1 cup broken walnuts or pecans (optional)
- 4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- Preheat oven to 325 and center a rack inside. Butter an 8-inch square pan and line the bottom with parchment or wax paper. Butter the paper and dust with flour; shake out the excess.
- Whisk together flour, cinnamon, and salt.
- Heat the butter over low heat. When the butter starts melting, add the cocoa and coffee; stir to blend. Remove from the heat and cool for 3 minutes.
- Beat the eggs into the saucepan one at a time. Stir in the sugar and vanilla, followed by dry ingredients, chopped chocolate, and walnuts.
- Scrape the batter into the pan.
- Bake for 30 minutes at which point brownies will be gooey but with a crisp top crust. Transfer to a rack and let cool at least 30 minutes.
- Turn the brownies onto the rack, peel away the paper, and invert onto cutting board. Cut into 2-inch squares.
- One small container of raspberries
- 2 Tbsp. sugar
- In small saucepan, combine ingredients over low heat.
- Stir at regular intervals until sugar starts to dissolve and raspberries emit juice.
- At this point, break up the raspberries with the back of a wooden spoon until most have formed a sauce, and some retain their shape.
- Let cool a bit off the heat, and serve warm with brownies.