Monday, May 16, 2011

Classic Brownies

So, here's the problem.  Normally come May I've launched into some sort of diet in an effort to re-shape my winter bod.  This usually lasts for approximately one week at which point after I've lost 1.5 pounds I can no longer handle living without chocolate  - and I cave. 
This May is a smidgen different for me in a few ways:  1.  I have serious doubts that I will EVER be wearing shorts/swimsuits again because it's still 60 degrees and rainy here.  2.  I'm trying to be a bit more sane about eating and exercise and practice moderation rather than crash diets.  3.  I'm jogging and that seems to help with the above.  Therefore, when the opportunity arose over the weekend to make brownies I was more than up for it!  Enter my new favorite recipe for these squares of chocolate heaven.  If you are smart you will make these baby's now.

Classic Brownies via smitten kitchen
Be sure to test for doneness before removing the brownies from the oven. If underbaked (the toothpick has batter clinging to it) the texture of the brownies will be dense and gummy. If overbaked (the toothpick comes out completely clean), the brownies will be dry and cakey.
1 cup (4 ounces) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
  4. Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
  5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)
Note:  these were good even without the vanilla ( I was out), also I made half the pan with nuts (for me and Mr. Veen) and half without for the kids - both excellent!  Isn't moderation delightful?


  1. Yes, most excellent brownies. The ones you left here went all the way to Atlanta in Larry's carry-on. Well, they may have disappeared in Seattle or somewhere over the mid-west, but I'm sure they're long gone by now.

  2. That's good to hear Marcy! Ours were finished off last night:)

  3. I've been stewing about this all morning...
    I have to say I am feeling a little jealous that I didn't get any of these brownies!!!