Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Olivia's Brownies

Adapted from Lila Jenkins Cruikshank in the Atlanta Junior League's Cooknotes

I got the cookbook Cooknotes - and the recipe - from Jane. I make three different brownie recipes, and this is my go-to, standard, everyday one. It's easy and has good, chewy texture. 

You can, of course, cut this into traditional brownie squares, but I usually make it in an 8-inch round cake pan and remove it from the pan to make a "brownie cake."  For dessert I serve it in triangular pieces with vanilla or sweet cream ice cream, and if I am gilding the lily, top it with chocolate sauce. 

Olivia's Brownies
Adapted from a recipe by Lila Jenkins Cruikshank in the Atlanta Junior League's Cooknotes

2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, cut into 8 pieces, and softened to room temperature
1 cup sugar
½ cup all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional) - I use pecans.
Softened butter and cocoa powder for the baking pan

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare an 8-inch baking pan - square for traditional brownies, round for a "brownie cake" - by coating the pan with softened butter and then coating it with cocoa powder.  (If you are going to cut it into squares right in the pan, you can eliminate the cocoa powder.)

Melt the chocolate in a pan over simmering water, being careful not to let the bottom of the pan touch the water.  Alternatively, use a microwave, but check at 30-second intervals, stirring with a silicone spatula, so you know as soon as the chocolate is melted and to make sure the chocolate doesn't burn.  If you have a high-powered microwave, you might want to reduce the power.  If you do it in the microwave, use a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients.  If you do it in a pan over water, put the warm melted chocolate into a bowl.

Add the 8 pieces of softened butter to the warm melted chocolate, and stir until the butter melts and is incorporated into the chocolate.  The heat from the melted chocolate should be enough to melt the butter.

With a wooden spoon mix the eggs into the mixture, then add the rest of the ingredients. Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, and bake for 30 minutes.

Cool on a rack for 20 minutes before cutting into squares or to a platter like a cake.

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