Thursday, September 17, 2009

Thinking outside the box: Double Fudge Brownies

Stuck in a rut?  Sick of the same ol' same 'ol? Think outside the box! The brownie mix box, that is.

I'm almost embarrassed to admit that until last Sunday I had never made brownies from scratch (blondies, yes, chocolate brownies, no). Why did I opt for the convenience of a Duncan Hines mix instead of the made-from-scratch version for the first couple of decades of my existence? Well, brownies from a box were easy, and they were pretty darn tasty and chewy and soft. However, after making a batch of made from scratch double-fudge brownies, I don't think I'll be reaching for a box of mix anytime soon.

The surprising thing about these brownies is that they are made with whole wheat flour. But you can't taste the difference at all. These brownies are moist with a deep dense chocolate flavor, and they don't taste like health food. (In fact, they are just as fattening as other brownies, but knowing they're whole wheat can make you feel better about eating one). I followed the recipe in the King Arthur Flour Whole Grain Baking cookbook.

Start by greasing a 9X13 inch pan. (The recipe claims you can get two dozen servings, but I like BIG brownies so I only got 12 brownies out of the batch). Set it aside and preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Next, melt two sticks of butter in a pot.

Once those are melted, you stir in two cups of brown sugar.

After the brown sugar has dissolved into the butter, return the sauce pan to the burner until it is heated through and bubbling. Then, remove the mixture from the heat and add in your cocoa powder, coffee powder, baking powder, and salt mixture, and then add the vanilla.

Stir that until it's well combined. Let that mixture cool until it feels like warm bath water (I waited at least five minutes), then whisk in your eggs...

... and then stir in the flour...

... and then add two cups of semisweet chocolate chips.

Once everything is well combined (and before you eat all of this yummy gooey batter)...

Pour the mixture into your prepared 9X13 dish, and bake it in the oven for about 30 minutes.

When it comes out, it will look like this:

  Once they're cooked, set them on a rack to cool completely and (then came the really really hard part)...

"And why do I have to leave them be overnight?" you ask. "Why? Now that I've spent the last hour of my life pouring my heart and soul into homemade brownies and now you're telling me I have to wait?"

Because, according to folks of King Arthur, the whole wheat flour will benefit significantly from allowing to rest and the bran soften. Did the overnight rest help? Well, let's just say I wasn't going to put all this time into the brownies, not follow directions, and then be disappointed.

So the next night after dinner, it was time to taste the brownies. Unfortunately, I was getting over a head cold so my nose was a bit stuffy and my taste buds were blunted, so I couldn't give an accurate taste test.I cut myself a small piece, and even with hampered taste and smell senses, these were really really good. My husband also really enjoyed them.

So, this time thinking outside of the box was a pretty good idea. Bye bye Duncan Hines, Pillsbury, and Betty Crocker mixes. It's time for me to move on to "made from scratch."

Here are the ingredients and measurements for King Arthur Flour's Double Fudge Brownies.
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 cups of packed brown sugar
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa (I used unsweetened because that's all I had in the pantry)
1 tsp. of baking soda
1 tsp. of salt
1 tsp espresso powder-optional (I used instant coffee granules)
1 Tbsp. of vanilla extract
4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups of traditional whole wheat flour
2 cups of semisweet chocolate chips

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