Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Classic Brownies

When you live in New England, every year there comes the "peak" leaf season when many of the leaves have turned color and the trees are still holding most of the leaves.  This is the perfect time to take that autumn drive along the country roads and soak up the beautiful scenery.  Of course, you have to watch out for those other pesky leaf peepers that decide to come to a complete stop in the middle of the highway for a bright red tree or something equally as silly ;) 

 K and I love driving around aimlessly listening to our ipod anytime of the year, but we always make it a point to take at least one big photo trip every fall so that I can take some lovely landscape shots.  This year we headed about 45 minutes west of our house up to one of the higher points in the area, where we could overlook the still very foggy valley that we had just driven out of.  Even though it was still fairly early in the morning the sun was shining brightly and the yellow, orange, and red leaves were glowing with color.

The first three shots here depict the perfect crisp, fair autumn day that is greatly anticipated as the hot summer months come to an end.  Days like these are usually few and far between but very much enjoyed before six months of cold winter settles in.  The remaining shots were taken on a typical cool, drizzly fall day but are still a lovely reflection of how amazing nature can be.

This cooler fall weather means finally having a kitchen that it is bearable to cook and bake in.  I was more than happy to take advantage of this and decided I needed a chocolate fix.  Holy cow, these brownies were CHOCOLATEY! If you are a chocolate lover, these are the perfect brownie for you.  They have the beautiful crackly, crunchy top layer with a fudgy, rich, chewy layer underneath.  Perfect brownie texture, in my opinion.


The instant espresso powder and vanilla extract in the brownies really enhance the chocolate flavor. The original recipe called for 1 1/2 tbsp of espresso powder, which I thought was a little bit too much because the brownies did have a mild coffee flavor.  I reduced the amount in the recipe below to 1 tbsp, which I think will still add a depth of flavor without actually making the brownies have the hint of coffee.  Of course, if you prefer, you can leave it out all together.

You could make other flavor modifications to the brownies, like adding mint extract or different candies. I liked the simplicity of the classic brownie with some whole chocolate chips mixed in for a little texture.   The recipe that I followed suggested topping with caramel sauce and sea salt. Yum!  And we can't forget the option of serving the brownies à la mode style :)

Sitting here typing about how delicious these brownies were, is making me wish that I still had one left to eat.  I don't know if you are an edge or middle of the pan person, but either way you can't go wrong.  The middle brownies are super smooth and extra creamy, but the edge pieces have the crunchy, chewy edge and a bit of the smooth middle too.  I always make sure I get a piece of each and then I have to find someone to give the rest away to before I eat the whole pan!

Classic Brownies

Inspired by Ina Garten

1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
8 oz semisweet chocolate chips
3 oz dark or bittersweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup plus 2 tbsp white sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt (omit of using salted butter)
6 oz semisweet or milk chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, melt butter and 8 oz semisweet chocolate plus 3 oz dark chocolate together over a double boiler or in the microwave.  If using the microwave, heat in 30 second bursts, stirring between each burst until melted.  Let cool slightly and beat in eggs, espresso powder, vanilla, and sugar.  In a medium bowl, stir together 1/2 cup flour, baking powder, and salt.  Combine with the chocolate mixture.  Let this mixture cool until approximately room temperature.  Toss the 6oz remaining chocolate chips in 2 tbsp of the flour and then stir into the brownie batter.  Pour the batter into a greased 9x13 inch pan and bake for 35 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely before serving.


1 comment:

  1. Yummy Chocolate Perfection! Thanks for letting me be one of those people that gets to save you from eating the whole pan yourself!!