Raiding the larder of ideas.

What one family eats, plans to eat, dreams of eating. Plus, other food and kitchen-related stuff from the home of steak-and-potatoes, pie and fresh green beans from the garden.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Brownies that justify government-paid prices

This particular batch, I added chopped dried cherries to the recipe the same time I added the chocolate chunks and the chopped pecans. I then served it with ice cream, whipped coconut milk, and the Bat's super-rich fudge sauce. 
It was somebody's birthday, but I really didn't need the excuse. 

Recently in the news there was an article showing that, at many government-agency brunches, luncheons and dinners, the taxpayer has forked over for some rather... ummm... not-cost-cutting delicacies, such as $5-apiece Swedish meatballs, $7.32 apiece Beef Wellington hors d'oeuvres, and $8 brownies.  Now, I wasn't at any of these events, so I can't say for certain that the treats cited were worth your having paid some strangers to enjoy them,  but I can be sure that, if the brownies were anything like the Bat's favorites, there would be people willing to swap eight buckeroos for one chocolate nummy, and they would not necessarily be seen as crazy.

She picked up this particular recipe from a regional magazine about six years ago, thinking it sounded pretty good, then received a gift package which included a couple of samples of the original company's treats.  They were awesome, but contained something for which I have allergies and she has intolerances (in that she can't stand the taste)...  she adapted, then aided and abetted one of my vices, and they're now beyond awesome, In My Humble Opinion.

They're almost enough to start a church around. Or, at the very least, have the Feds knocking at your door, bringing charges of producing addictive substances without a license.

Better-than-government Brownies

13 Tablespoons butter (no substitutions)
6 1/2 ounces fine unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 cup coarsely chopped roasted pecans
6-7 ounces fine-quality, chopped bittersweet or semisweet chocolate bars, or semisweet chips

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F.  Grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan, set aside.

In small pan on low heat, melt butter and chocolate, stirring constantly until completely melted and smooth.  Allow to cool a bit.

Into a small bowl, sift flour, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar with mixer on high speed, scraping sides of bowl occasionally,  until lemon-colored and fluffy (about 5 minutes).  Add in cooled chocolate mixture and vanilla.  Beat on low heat until combined.  Add flour mixture, beat on low speed until just combined, scraping sides of bowl - avoid overbeating, because it will prematurely activate the gluten and make the brownies tough.  Stir in pecans and bittersweet chocolate chunks/chips.

Spread batter in prepared baking pan.  Bake 30 minutes  or until brownies just begin to pull away from sides of pan and center appears set.  DO NOT OVER-BAKE.   Cool in pan on wire rack.  Cut into medium bars.*  Serve.

*The Bat says the original recipe suggests cutting them into 3x3-inch squares, but one that size would actually feed four people...  they're very rich.  Make 'em smaller and share the guilt around.