Thursday, April 5
If humans could purr, we'd surely do so after eating chocolate.
When Niles was a kitten, he used to sleep on my chest at night. (Unlike me, he didn't seem to mind the lack of substantial cushioning.) I always loved the way it felt when he began to purr. The repetitive humming buzz was comforting. Niles is still my aloof shadow when I'm rocking things out in kitchen, but now that he's all grown up, he doesn't sleep in my bed anymore. However, as soon as I pull out The brush, he turns back into a playful, needy, purring kitten. I love that loud, intrusive, purr.
Chocolate is my version of a cat brush. Soothing, and purr-inducing.
Even though I'd much rather enjoy a Meyer lemon tart over something rich and chocolaty, I can't deny the euphoric effects of dark chocolate. After a long day/week/month, a batch of brownies has a way of putting everything in perspective. The world suddenly rights itself, and is no longer walking around with bed-head, yoga pants, and an inside-out (because it was too lazy to do laundry), shirt.
These brownies are not fancy, but when you taste this good, you really don't need embellishments. And while mine were a bit on the cakey side, they were still rich, decadent, and worthy of a tall glass of ice cold milk. purr...
Dark Chocolate Brownies (adapted from Joy the Baker)
1 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking Powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
12 Tablespoons (that's 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
4 room temperature eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
Place the rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 F. Line a 9x13-inch baking pan with foil, leaving a slight overhang around the edges (this will make the brownies easy to remove). Lightly spray or butter the foil.
In a medium size mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, powder, and salt; Set aside.
Prepare a double boiler: Fill a large pot with about 1-inch of water, and bring the water to just a simmer. Find a large, heatproof bowl that will fit over the pot. (Be sure the bottom of the bowl doesn't touch the water.) Place the butter and chopped chocolate into the bowl and place the bowl over the pot of simmering water. Stir until the butter and chocolate are completely melted and the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the heat and set aside to cool for a few minutes (about 10).
Meanwhile, in a separate large mixing bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, vanilla, and espresso powder. Whisk vigorously until thick and pale.
Pour the cooled chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and whisk until well incorporated. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture and gently mix until the streaks of flour have just disappeared. Pour the batter into prepared pan.
Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Remove the pan from the oven and place on a cooling rack. Cool completely before gently tugging on the foil overhang and removing the brownies from the pan. (If needed, run thin knife around the brownies to help loosen them from the pan.)