Back when Food Network showed shows about non-contestant forms of cooking, I used to ridicule the Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten. For one, she came off as just a HAIR aloof, like specifying to use GOOD olive oil (as opposed to the Karkov-brand swill I’d been cooking with), and oh, I don’t know, LIVING IN THE HAMPTONS. For two, well…there really wasn’t a ‘two’, I guess. I just had a thing against rich people. That, and she talked about Jeffrey too much, when you could basically see him wiping secretary lipstick off of his collar as he walked in the door at the end of the day (or at least that was my speculation).
But let me tell you a thing about her brownies: She knows how to make a damn brownie. Now, if you remember many moons ago when I wrote my last blog, I stated something about taking intelligent shortcuts and being okay with 90% of the results if it meant 10% of the work. I have no problem with boxed brownies; I will house boxed brownies all day long.
These brownies, however, are for when you want to show the love in a way that boxed brownies simply can’t do. These brownies are for when you don’t want to do anything else but spend an extra 20 minutes in the kitchen and have your taste buds reap all of the benefits. These brownie are when you want to give a high and tall middle finger to all those prude doctors that say, “You shouldn’t consume a pound of butter and another pound of sugar.” I love these brownies so much, I have the recipe displayed on the front of “Tasty Vittles”, my three-ring binder of recipes (even though it’s committed to memory at this point).
I’m not a natural baker. I mean, I’m not a natural COOKER, either, but, save for a mean batch of chocolate chip cookies, I really only started baking in the last couple of years. For you cookers that aren’t bakers, please keep in mind that trying to amend quantities or substitute ingredients in baking is the worst idea you could ever have. It doesn’t work, so don’t try it. Having said that, I always omit the instant coffee granules (sorry, I don’t have any Sanka sitting around the house) and the walnuts (gross), and nobody’s said, “Hey, these brownies don’t have enough nuts or coffee in them.” These brownies are Kevin Date, chocoholic, approved.
As an additional note for you non-bakers, don’t get water and chocolate mixed up – it’s like getting a Gremlin wet. If you’re worried your double-boiler might go amiss (or if you view a double-boiler as archaic and tedious), just microwave the chocolate chips, unsweetened chocolate, and butter. Start with 90 seconds, stir, and add 45 seconds until fully melted. AND DON’T GET IT WET. OR LET IT EAT AFTER MIDNIGHT.
Lastly, I cut this recipe in half, because I have no self-control in the field of chocolate, and don’t need 1.5 square feet of brownies beckoning me. But 3/4 of a square foot? Bring it.
Recipe courtesy of Ina Garten and FoodNetwork.com :
- 1 pound unsalted butter
- 1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 6 extra-large eggs (if you’re halving the recipe and only have large eggs, do 3 eggs and an extra yolk)
- 3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
- 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/4 cups sugar
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 cups chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet.
Melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water. Allow to cool slightly. In a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. Add to the cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour (not this much; just enough to coat), then add them to the chocolate batter. Pour into the baking sheet.
Bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. Bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do not overbake! Allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate, and cut into 20 large squares.