Tuesday, May 4

Goof - {Ultimate Chocolate Brownies}

As the school year winds down, and as the free time piles up, I feel a little... Bored.

Now looming just hours away, the dynamic of my dorm has changed in the face of finals. Because cramming calls for a locked door and a closed mouth, the only sounds I hear lately are the calm rustling of leaves and the comforting whisper of wind outside my open windows. Despite the fact that my door is completely extended over its painted hinges, the only thing passing through is a breeze whose hushed stories slip by too quickly for me to take in. Apparently inappropriate at this time of year, the friendly chatter and games of Hall Frisbee or Hall Ping Pong have disappeared. It seems as if my more diligent peers would rather study until four AM than do something for laughs.

Some people have some seriously messed up priorities, don't you think?


All kidding aside, I truly wish I could be more studious. I'm envious of their ability to sit, alone, for hours upon end and be able to focus. To be able to take in such a vast amount of information so suddenly - or to even try - is simply something with which I've never had much success. But what am I to expect with my attitude being what it is? After ten minutes of "studying" I'm bored and after fifteen I've lost all motivation. I begin to tell myself that I don't care anymore - that there's no reason to care - that I, my favorite, should know this by now and that it's pointless to try any longer. I open books and stare into paragraphs and diagrams with good intentions, but soon find myself cleaning my desk. Sweeping the floor. Going to the bathroom. Painting my nails. I can't decide if it's just disinterest or true procrastination, but as long as I'm not freaking out about exams, I'll accept it.

Perhaps I'm also putting myself in an environment that isn't conducive to studying...? As I reach for the spines of textbooks (and other required readings), I find it incredibly difficult not to draw out the more attractive backbones surrounding them. Intermingled with an array of fascinating titles like Mastering Astronomy, Enfoques, The Golem at Large and Intro to Macroeconomics, are copies of Sky High, The Omnivore's Dilemma, My Life in France, The Craft of Baking and The Man Who Ate Everything. I don't think I really have to tell you which I would prefer to read (Sorry profs!). It really isn't any wonder that I'm having difficulty studying.

No matter what I do, temptation prevails and I wind up so enthralled with one of my books that I find myself with my nose so far into it that I can barely breathe. The imagined scent of cocoa and vanilla... Caramelizing sugar and browning butter... It drives me mad! One book in particular, given to me by C at the Martha Stewart Show Studio, has been causing me all sorts of trouble. It's not often that I find a cookbook that I really enjoy, but The Craft of Baking is really something else. Right up there with Sky High, I think. There are just so many recipes that I want - no - need to try. Seriously - pick up a copy or check it out at the library. It's awesome!

Side note - I'm not being paid to say that. I'm just pimping a good book because it should be pimped!


So, being the good student that I am, I packed my backpack with the book, my laptop and a change of clothes, then made my way to my car. I had given up on studying, and there was no way I was going to idly sit in my room, by myself, when I saw this free time as nothing more than baking time.

When I arrived at my Grandparent's house, Grandma mentioned that she had really been craving brownies recently. And what did I do? Well, what do you think? I know that a recipe for brownies may not be the most enticing thing, due to the fact that EVERY cookbook EVER has a recipe for them, but these are really, really, really seriously good (I would make an excellent food writer, don't you think? What with my varied and concise vocabulary and all! Haha). Dense, chewy, and intensely chocolaty, these are just the way a brownie should be!

Ultimate Chocolate Brownies via The Craft of Baking
The recipe says that this makes 25 brownies, but I was happy with the 16 that I cut out of the batch! No eggs? Click here for a great egg-free brownie recipe!
Printable Recipe

12 Tbls (170g) unsalted butter, softened
3 oz (85g) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
3 eggs, room temperature
1 1/2 c (300g) sugar
3/4 tsp vanilla
1 c (125g) flour
1 tsp salt
1 heaping c (160g+)semisweet chocolate chips (I used a mix of chocolate, butterscotch and walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 375F (190C) then oil and line a 8" (20cm) square baking pan.

In a medium saucepan, bring about 2 inches of water to a simmer. Put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set it over the pan of water. Melt while stirring frequently. Remove from heat, but keep the bowl over the hot water while you prepare the next part of the recipe (keeping the batter warm gives it a crackly top).

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together the flour and salt.

Pour the warm chocolate over the eggs and whisk to combine thoroughly. Sift in the flour and salt, folding until just combined and adding the chocolate chips just before it has all come together. Pour into the baking pan and bake 35-40 minutes, rotating halfway through.

Cool completely on a rack before cutting into squares.

Notes: I found that I had to bake mine about 15 minutes longer than the recipe recommended and also added a tsp of baking powder, just because my grandma likes cake-y brownies and didn't tell me so until I was halfway through the recipe :P

38 comments:

  1. Those look so good! Screw studying, if you are looking for a good baking book, check out ratio.

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  2. I really love your blog....and your generous recipes....your pics are amazing!

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  3. Wow, they look so amazing! I love brownies!!

    Katie xox

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  4. I'm sitting here reading this instead of working on a paper :)

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  5. oh em gee!!!! Those look so moist and chewy (I'm vehemently opposed to cake-like brownies, sorry Grammy!)

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  6. Brownies beat studying ANY day! :)

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  7. Thanks for the book recommendations. Will stop by the bookstore today to check out The Craft of Baking... and, beautiful brownies, by the way!

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  8. You'd be a great food writer, since the stories are the best part of the blog posts. I'm sure you'd find a way to capture your readers' attentions, since you've already been successful at doing that.

    Also I noticed that your follower count shot way up after your tv appearance, which is expected.

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  9. hahaha yes! it is so hard to study with fantastic...and more interesting materials jumping off the shelf at you!! visiting grandparents and baking are surely a much better way to spend your time??
    saw your MS spot on her website the other week (i live in the UK and am in MS withdrawl most of the time)...what a fantastic cake!!

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  10. Those look so so so delicious!!

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  11. haha, I have the same problem sometimes. But I motivate myself with baking. I tell myself, "if I can finish this chapter I can go bake cookies, and then if I finish another chapter I can eat one cookie" and on and on it goes.

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  12. wow....now thats a brownie...I have to get a copy of that book!! Good luck with your finals, and please take some time to bake..its gotta be great threrapy!
    Cheers
    Dennis

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  13. They look great - I have a super recipe but always willing to try a new one!

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  14. Oooh, I LOVE brownies and I'm not picky either - I will take boxed brownies or homemade. I think I'm going to try these though - and the book too!

    Just an observation - I think you have spring fever...I have it too, minus the studying part;)

    Oh, and I attempted the rainbow cake today (and posted a link to your beautiful site). Mine ended in disaster, but I take full responsibility for it - http://sunnybugworld.blogspot.com/2010/05/cake-avalanche.html

    I will try again (someday) :)

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  15. there's nothing better than spring at michigan state! enjoy it.. it will be gone before you know it!

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  16. This looks like a good recipe...it took me years to find a really good "from scratch" recipe for brownies. I like Oprah's favorite brownie, the "Baked Brownie" from the Baked cookbook, which I love. Have you tried any recipes from this book? There are some really good ones :)

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  17. I was thinking about making brownies this weekend.....I think this is a sign.....now I have to!! They sound perfect!!

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  18. These looks awesome! Moist and perfect. I"ve been meaning to bake some brownies as it goes!

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  19. Oh my god - as soon as I saw that picture, my mouth started watering!! This is torture!!

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  20. That reminds me of my school days which were long gone...trying everything to postpone studying, even doing housework!

    The brownies look great, dense and moist and month-watering!

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  21. just found your site after watching you on martha's website!
    great job, and cute site! your photos are amazing =)

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  22. So are you going to go to culinary school instead to become a baker? I can imagine it happening...

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  23. Oops, I left a comment for these under the previous post! Ha ha ... anyway, I was just saying that these brownies look awesome! And the yellow backdrop is just so perfectly cheery - can't help but make one feel happy! :o)

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  24. These brownies look delicious! Thanks for your recipes in imperial/metric version-I live in Italy. Procrastinating? I shouldn't be dreaming about these brownies but tackling the million things I SHOULD be doing.

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  25. An avid reader/lover of this blog, I made these brownies the other night...

    I followed the recipe to the T, including the room temp/warm ingredient instructions...

    Not only did the brownies take 30+ minutes longer to cook than instructed, they were not nearly chocolatey enough, nor delicious enough to warrant recommending someone to make...

    Sorely dissappointed...Only edible warm & LOADED with ice cream...

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  26. I have a really bad history with brownies....
    I tend to eat them all in one seating....especially when there is a glass of milk involved ;)

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  27. Well, rats, now I'm jonesing for some brownies. You're a good granddaughter!

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  28. oh those look so yummy!

    I've dealt with the studying dilemma so many times....but the way I see it, just get it over with! Then you'll have time to do what you want :)

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  29. oh i absolutely adore the mini flower embellishment! avocado cupcakes mmm sounds like just my cup of cupcake :O) xx thanks for sharing!

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  30. Hey Kate (I'm one of your watchers at DA). I made this recipe, too, but I had to bake them for almost 40 minutes, and the inside was still pretty soft (not like that isn't delicious:P). They are so yummy:) I made 'em with walnuts, raisins and butterscotch chocolate, yummmmm.. Thanks so much for the recipe!

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  31. These brownies are delicious! I made them for my birthday and everybody loved them! Even one of my best friends, who makes the best brownies ever (but refuses to give me the recipe) said they were great :)
    And your pictures are simply beautiful. I love those tiny flowers!

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  32. I made these and they were amazing! Everybody loved them and adding chocolate chips was an excellent idea, I'll definitely make them again

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  33. I'm so glad that you guys liked them! Good to hear!

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  34. My batch has just been served and went down an absolute treat! Dense but not too stodgy, just sweet enough a perfect crispy top. Thanks, Kaitlin!

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  35. Soph, Woohoo! SO glad to hear it!

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  36. I have been reading your blog for a couple of years, but had never had the courage to try one of your recipes. I've also been baking brownies from mixes for years but never had the courage to try to make them from scratch. You see where this is going? ;)

    Tried these tonight an they were delicious and SO easy. The hardest part is not eating the whole pan!

    I tried to modify by adding some cinnamon into the sugar/egg/vanilla mixture. Made my apartment smell delicious, but I think they may have tasted better without. Oh well!

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    Replies
    1. Hooray!!! I am so happy to hear that :) I hope there is at least a next time :)

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  37. Hi, I'd love to make this, but I'm not sure what kind of vanilla product should I use...scraped vanilla beans or soma paste maybe?
    Thanks

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Thanks so much for reading! I would love to hear your thoughts!

If you have any questions, please feel free to email them to me at kaitlin@whisk-kid.com.

Have a great day!