Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TWD - Thanks for waiting!

First off, to the lovely people who commented about my sweet new puppy: Thank you! He is such a sweetie, and we just love him to pieces already! We got him from the same animal shelter where we adopted Gretel a couple months ago. In fact, when we adopted Gretel, we held Ringo and his siblings who had just been born a month before, but we weren't in the market for such a young puppy at the time. Little did we know that we'd be back a few months later to adopt the little guy. A really quick PSA: please support and adopt from your local animal shelter! There are so many awesome dogs who will be put down otherwise, but who are longing for a family to love. Check them out next time you're looking to add to your family.

Ok, now onto food.

It's time again for Tuesdays with Dorie. Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook chose this week's recipe, French Chocolate Brownies. And holy cow! These brownies rock!

At first when I read the recipe, I was nonplussed. Raisins? In brownies? Really? All week I was less than thrilled about this recipe, but then it hit me today: Raisins + Chocolate = Raisinettes. And the drooling commenced.


I worked all day today, and then I started these as soon as I got home. I cheated and melted my chocolate in the microwave, and they came together in a snap. I will admit that the batter tasted so good that we were on the verge of foregoing baking, and just eating it raw with a spoon, but we kept ourselves in check, and I'm glad that we did.

They're amazing! They're incredible! They're the best brownies I've ever tasted! I think they're going to become that go-to brownie recipe that I make often. Thank you, Di, for choosing such an amazing recipe!

Sadly, photos don't do these justice, or at least mine don't. But take my word for it, they're incredible!


French Chocolate Brownies
- makes 16 brownies
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
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

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.


Carol Peterman said...

Your photos look delicious! It surprised me as well that rasins are a great match with brownies.

Anonymous said...

Oh I know the plight of that awful need to really get the bowl clean before banishing the stuck-on batter to the sink... Glad you could hold out, though. Looking good,.

Engineer Baker said...

It's amazing how much more appealing raisins in brownies sound once you think of raisinettes. Funny how minds work! I'm glad you've found a go-to recipe for brownies now!

PheMom said...

They look pretty darn good to me! Great job!

Linda said...

I think your brownie photos look absolutely delicious! I like my brownies without additions, but trying it with dried fruit (i used dried cherries) really made a difference, in really good way!

Rebecca said...

These are so good. Seeing everyone's photos makes me want just ... one ... more. ;)

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I too was converted! These were awesome and I'll be making them again!

noskos said...

Job well done, they look great!

Gretchen Noelle said...

It is a good sign when the brownie batter is good enough to eat straight. Great job!

Jess said...

The brownies look fantastic - worth the wait!

Sarah said...

Glad they ended up impressing you...they look great!

Anonymous said...

Your brownies look great!
I *wish* I could successfully melt chocolate in the microwave but it goes terribly wrong almost every time. I'm much better with a double boiler! :)

Andrea said...

I was seriously dubious about the addition of the raisins but with the rum they are so nice.

ostwestwind said...

Mission completed, great success! Your brownies look tasty.

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

Garrett said...

Ha! I didn't even put two and two together that chocolate + raisins = raisinets. I wish I could adopt a dog, but my roommates are allergic *and* we don't have a yard, so I don't think it'd be fair. Anyway, sounds like everything turned out great here!

Shari said...

Your brownies look delicious!

Susan, Bismarck's Favorite said...

Your brownies look great!

Next time I make these I'm going to try putting in chocolate-covered raisins, instead of rum-soaked raisins, and add the rum to the batter.

Aardvark Cakes said...

Oh I sooo wish I had tested the brownie batter before I baked - I may just have to make another batch just to experience it!

Amy said...

Your brownies look delish, and moist, and yummy, and I want some now! To bad I'm all out here. I just get to drool over the photos...

Allison said...

I think your pictures do the brownies plenty justice. :drool: Congrats on your puppy, too. It's always nice to see someone plugging animal shelters and rescues. Ringo looks precious!

Jacque said...

Your pictures are making me drool!

Jayne said...

Your photos do just fine in the justice department! Gorgeous shots - I can taste them all over again! (Ours are gone.)

Michelle said...

I love the blog.

I thought the same thing about the raisins and I'm glad I put them in too.

I also melted the chocolate in the microwave. It's not really a shortcut if you keep in mind the possibility of a water drop seizing up your chocolate.

If you used light rum because the adult children drank up all the dark rum, I'm going to insist we live in parallel universes. ;-)

Dolores said...

Heh, I also had a raw batter moment. :) Great job with the brownies... I think your photos do them great justice.