4 June 2012

Insanely Good Chocolate Almond Brownies



These brownies were baked twice over the weekend. These are the sort that make people have a bite and go 'swooooon' or fall in love with you, or both. If you've been a follower of my blog, you know that I rarely use superlatives. I had blogged another simple brownie recipe a few years ago and I called them 'Easiest to make brownies' - so when I call these 'insanely good' you must know that I am not kidding you. I have resolved to bake these only for others as I, for one, can't seem to stop at a few bites because the taste of this is like nirvana to my soul.

It's quite ridiculously good by itself but serving it warm with cold vanilla ice cream is like the literal icing on the cake. Unlike cakes that come with a lot of ways they can go wrong, this one, if you follow the recipe, is quite foolproof and everyone needs one good brownie recipe that can say "Thanks", "Sorry", "I love you", "I want to be your most favourite person" or even, "I want you to become fatter than me", etc. You know what I mean...these brownies can speak volumes when words fail you :)

Before you think I'm that sort of culinary genius who comes up with brownie recipes that can lead to world peace, please hold that thought. This is adapted from Dorie Greenspan's recipe from her book, Baking: From My Home to Yours, with some tricks from baking forums to overcome the problems I faced with the first batch I baked. 

If you've baked brownies with butter before and after baking, you might have found that all the butter oozed out of the brownie. Not that this will affect the taste or texture once the brownie is chilled enough in the fridge, but there is a technique by which you can avoid it. This often happens when the flour in the recipe is very less like the one here (just 1/4 cup of flour), so when you incorporate all the ingredients, you need to stir well to emulsify the mix so that the butter is well blended into the rest of the mix. I used this trick in the second batch and it turned out just perfect.



Recipe for Chocolate Almond Brownies
Makes 16 two inch squares
Skill level: Easy-Moderate easy

Ingredients
100 grams butter plus 1 tbsp butter - chopped into 8-9 pieces [8 tbsp butter]
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp coffee liquor (optional)
1/4 cup all purpose flour (maida)
1/4 tsp cinnamon powder
Pinch of salt
1 tsp instant coffee powder (use 2 tsp if you are not using coffee liquor)
1/2 -3/4 cup sliced almonds or chopped almonds [Substitute with walnuts for walnut brownies]
1/2 cup choco chips or your favourite dark chocolate bar chopped into bits

Directions

Centre a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 160 degrees celsius / 325F
Lightly grease with butter an 8" square tin / baking tray, line with baking paper / parchment paper.
Grease this with butter properly and keep aside.
In a large microwave safe bowl, place the chopped butter and microwave for 50 seconds to a minute until it's just melted.
Let this butter cool down for a bit, meanwhile get all the other ingredients.
In a small bowl, mix the flour, cinnamon powder, salt, coffee powder with a fork.
To the melted butter, add the cocoa powder and stir very well with a silicon / rubber spatula mixing them well together.
To this, add the eggs, one by one, mixing them well into the mixture. No need to beat and incorporate air into this. Mix in the sugar.
Add the vanilla extract and coffee liquor. Liquor is optional but it does take the taste to a whole new level.
Now, add the flour-cinnamon-salt-coffee mix to this and stir well for 2 minutes or so in a round motion to emulsify the mix well (so that butter doesn't ooze out after baking).
Final step is to add the nuts and chocolate bits. Fold them in and scrape the brownie batter into the parchment lined baking tin.
Bake for 25 minutes until the top appears papery.

Do not ignore the following instructions to get perfect pieces
Remove from oven and cook in the baking tin itself on a rack, for at least 30 minutes.
Slice into 16 squares (2 inches X 2 inches each) - remove from lining paper, place on a tray and chill for 2-3 hours minimum for a fantastic fudgy texture.

Thank you, my dear N&A for allowing me to borrow this book and keep it with me for long enough to get inspired to bake with one stick butter. 

Dorie Greenspan calls these brownies Tribute-To-Katherine-Hepburn Brownies. If you want to know the connection between Katherine Hepburn and these brownies, check here.

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