Sometimes, people ask me for suggestions on what they should bring to a potluck. My reply is always the same - bring dessert! And no, it doesn't have to be some complicated 4-tier cake or a fussy french pastry. You can make simple things, like vanilla cupcakes, or a banana cake, or indeed, the very basic of bakes - brownies ... and still make an impression.
I have a potluck in 2 weeks and I know exactly what I will be bringing. These:
Cocoa Brownies! I tried them out and was quite surprised by the texture, given that there was no melted chocolate at all. They were rich, very moist - almost fudgy - and had a deep chocolatey flavour. Exactly how a brownie should be ... read: not a crumbly cake.
Do use a fairly large bowl for this though, because not only will you will be adding all the ingredients into it, you will also be doing some wrestling with that thick, viscous batter. But you know, you get your workout before you eat your brownies. :) Everything just falls into place, doesn't it?
I like my brownies warm, and if you're like me, zap them in the microwave for a few seconds before serving. You can dust them with some icing sugar or cocoa powder, or simply pair them with a generous scoop of good ol' vanilla ice-cream. Calories? Who's counting when everyone's having a good time? *wink*
Have a wonderful, restful weekend, everyone of you!
(from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet and seen at Smitten Kitchen)
- 10 tbsps (1 1/4 sticks, 5oz or 141g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (9 7/8oz, 280g) sugar - I cut down to 230g
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp (2 7/8oz, 82g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
- 1/4 tsp salt (I used a heaping 1/4 tsp Maldon sea salt)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, cold
- 1/2 cup (2 3/8oz, 66g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
1. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 160°C (325°F). Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
2. Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.
3. Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
4. Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, about 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
5. Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.