We got an early start on this week’s Tuesdays with Dorie selection, French Chocolate Brownies, chosen by Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook. This time around, it was a true family effort. My mom helped to flambe the fresh cherries by giving me some tips (Grand Marnier with a splash of Barcardi Gold Run). Carlo melted the chocolate (while I played Wit Fitness on Wii Sports). I did everything else.
Dorie once again came through with a very easy, yet light recipe with these brownies. It was simple to make variations and the taste of the alcohol was so subtle. If anything, I think the alcohol with the cherries brought out the flavor of the cinnamon, which was great. This really is a top brownie recipe.
Carlo really liked the brownies, because they tasted more like cake. I liked them because they could be eaten on their own and they weren’t heavy at all. So we’re considering making this as an actual cake in the future.
Here’s the recipe below. It comes from pages 92-93 from Dorie Greenspan’s Baking from My Home to Yours, and yields 16 brownies. ENJOY!!!
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (I used unbleached all-purpose flour)
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (This is optional, but I’m very glad I used it in this recipe)
- 1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden (I used a little more than 1/3 cup fresh bing cherries, pitted)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum (I used about 1 1/4 tablespoon Grand Marnier with a splash of Bacardi Gold Rum – mom’s tip)
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used semi-sweet chocolate)
- 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
- 3 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 cup sugar (I used 1/2 cup Splenda Baking Blend)
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.
- Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.
- Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
- Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
- Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.
- Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.
The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!
Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.