Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cheer-you-up Brownies

So I just made brownies. Yes, this is a blog about healthy cooking but when a friend is feeling less than stellar, sometimes the best way to cheer them up is by baking them something they love. And my BFF loves brownies. Plain brownies without nuts. 

I again headed to Smitten Kitchen. I can't count the number of times I've headed to that website wanting to make something healthy, and found myself in the kitchen making something naughty instead. This wasn't one of those times; this time I expressly headed to Deb's website for a brownie recipe and I wasn't disappointed. 

I decided on this recipe that makes use of cocoa but not chocolate because it's what I had on hand. I also didn't use diabetic sugar because diabetic sugar doesn't do that well in brownies. Something about melting the butter with the chocolate and sugar that doesn't perform as it's supposed to. I've tried many a time and the outcome is always...brutal. Or should I say tragic? 

Back to the brownies! They are super easy to make. There is one step that might trip you up, and that is the bain-marie. A bain-marie is when you place a bowl filled with chocolate or whatever over some lightly boiling water, meant to melt the chocolate without burning it. It's a precarious technique, especially if you don't have a nice glass (heat-proof) bowl. I used a metal bowl and am not sure if it's heat-proof but it worked fine. Turns out you can actually microwave the ingredients as well. 

My homemade bain-marie. 
I didn't use any nuts because my friend is allergic but I'm sure these would be divine with some walnuts or pecans

I also lined the pan with some aluminum foil. Keep in mind that the first pan I used was too large and thus the brownies would have been super thin. So if you're not sure what an 8x8 pan looks like, go for the smaller option. Because deep-dish brownies are the best! 

These turned out intense but not too heavy. They are quite fudgy in the center, however, so if you like a firm brownie, bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, not moist. 

Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on the side, or just on their own. You can't go wrong with brownies. 

Note: Like Deb mentioned, these took longer than the directed 20 minutes to bake. I think mine even took around 30 min (and even then, the center wasn't fully baked). So adjust according to your preferences. 

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