Monday, May 5, 2014

Dr. Larue's Famous Fudge Brownies

Dr. Larue's Famous Fudge Brownies
Hands down – really, the best!
Makes: never enough!
Dr. Larue's Famous Fudge Brownies 
I know. I know.  You have heard it all before. But did I steer you wrong on the very best flourless chocolate cake ( or the quickest best ever doubly delicious double fudge chocolate cake? ( This is the best ever – Fudge Brownies. I hear it freezes beautifully but frankly, it has never lasted long enough in my house to make it to the freezer.  Watch out – it will be your sinfully awesome chocolate go-to fancy schmancy chocolate brownie too!

A few words on the ingredients – the cornerstone of the perfect brownie: The difference between the European-style butters and standard butters is the butterfat content.  Regular butter has 80% butterfat and 20% water, while butters like Plugra have about 2.5-3% more butterfat. This gives them a slightly creamier, richer taste. It is the only butter I use when baking. See discussion of different cocoas:

Lastly, I much prefer vanilla paste for all my baking over vanilla extract. Vanilla extract is made by infusing vanilla into some sort of alcohol, usually bourbon, which bakes off during baking leaving the vanilla flavor behind. Infusing vanilla beans into thick, sweet syrup makes vanilla bean paste. The primary difference is that the vanilla beans are scraped into the paste, so you get all those lovely little vanilla bean specks in whatever you are baking along with the vanilla flavor. 
  • 1 C (2 sticks) unsalted butter – it is worth it to use European butters – love Plugra
  • 2¼ C sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1¼ C Dutch-process cocoa (Droste, Lindt, Valrhona, etc.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp espresso powder, optional (love it)
  • 1 Tb vanilla paste (or extract)
  • 1½ C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2C chocolate chips – semisweet or bittersweet pending preferences

Preheat oven to 350 degree F. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan. (Vegetable or butter spray will work)

In a medium sized microwave safe bowl, or in a pan set over low heat or double boiler, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the microwave, or heat, briefly, just until it is hot (about 110-120 degree F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, crack 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder and vanilla until smooth. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth. Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. If you want the chips to remain visible in the brownies (I usually do!), wait about 20 minutes before adding them to the batter. Otherwise, they will melt. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9” x 13” pan. 
The brownie batter
In the pan

Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester or sharp knife inserted in center comes out clean or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. 
How the edges should look when it is done - see how shiny the top is!
Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.  I love them with a vintage port –yum!


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