Ode to Chocolate

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I cannot feasibly go a day without consuming chocolate. It’s secured it’s rank of number 1 on my list of vices, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. In case you’re not a chocolate fan (yet) and you need some reasons on why to get on the daily plan, allow me:

1. It’s pretty versatile. You can bake it, eat it straight, drink it. All forms equally delicious.

2. There has been some research into chocolate aiding in the fight against cardiovascular disease (Research)

3. It’s easy to make, and great for parties.

In any regard I’m a total chocolate evangelist, so I know that this post is going to be biased in that direction. I don’t however think that I’m alone when I say that it’s a core component of comfort food; whether it be brownies, chocolate chip cookies, or just a cozy mug of hot chocolate. I was thinking deeply, more of a longing really, about comfort food when I was at work yesterday and the weather was both cold and rainy. The combination that just screams, “don’t get out of bed, find the nearest movie and cozy up for a day of playing hooky.” Alas I did find myself at work but when I got home, I treated my self to some quality lounge time complete with comfy blanket. Inspired by this mood, I felt a tasty batch of brownies were in order.

Ingredients

  • 3 19/50 ounces all-purpose flour (about 3/4 cup)
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 6 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate and milk in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla, and eggs. Add milk mixture and 1/2 cup chocolate; stir to combine.

Pour the batter into a 9-inch square metal baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 19 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in the pan on a rack. Cut into squares.

[These are best enjoyed with a tall glass of milk.]

Awhile ago I’d stumbled on the recipe for these brownies and they are phenomenal. I got it from the First Look Then Cook Blog. (Link) They come out really moist and gooey, which is how I like them. If you want more of a cakey consistency add 1-2 more eggs.  The best thing about them though, it they save amazingly well. Simply wrap them up in some aluminum foil (I line my pan with them so I just fold over all the edges to save it after it’s cooled) and it keeps for  at least a week. This is conditional on you having enough self control to keep them that long, or that you make a large enough batch. Speaking to that, the recipe also doubles well.

This, of the same vein as my previous post, is best when you use good chocolate. While using Hersey’s won’t make a bad batch, chocolate of a slightly higher grade will seriously rock your world. Lately I’ve been using E.Guittard but I recommend trying a couple brands and seeing one that you like the best. This goes the same for cocoa powder. Brownies are one of those things that everyone has a preference on, experiment to find yours. Your tastebuds will thank you later.

I recall when I was reading David Lebovitz’s book The Sweet Life in Paris  that his Dulce De Leche brownies would open a lot of doors for him when he first arrived. I havent tested this theory myself  but so far they have won the affection of a lot of the people at work. Just another affirmation of the power of chocolate.

I’m curious, what role has chocolate played in your life? 

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