Tuesday, June 3, 2008

TWD: French Chocolate Brownies, Ooh la la!

C'est Magnifique!

A few years ago I spent my summer in Toulouse...it was wonderful, just like these brownies. There is something intriguing about the French, life giving. My two new found friends Marine and Clemance, adopted my friend Brittany and I as their new best friends giving us tours and even taking us to their home, where we made M&M cookies in their kitchen. It was an amazing experience and probably where my true love of food emerged.

There is something wonderful about sweeping through French markets, smelling the freshly made boule miche from the boulangerie, passing tarts upon tarts, perfectly executed, and watching the people delight in their food.

Upon return, my love for food grew, and though I never had a french brownie while I was there, I am sure they would not be disappointed with Dorie's version!

I love brownies, to me they are better than a cookie or a cake. I like my brownies fudgy, undercooked, and full of chunks, chocolate chunks, oreos, peanut butter, whatever as long as its loaded, just don't hand me one without any fun inside:)

Given my likes and dislikes, I only changed a couple of things in the recipe:
-I did not mix the eggs and sugar for 2 minutes, only about 45 seconds
-I dislike raisins, so dried cherries were substituted
-No flaming cherries in this kitchen, so they went in unscathed
-B/C more chocolate is essential, in went 1/2 C chocolate chips (semi and white)

End result...love at first taste...these are so good, moist, fudgy, and delicious!

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.

Serving: 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!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.


Christine said...

Dried cherries are on my list to try in these brownies and now I am going to have to add chips with it! Great job they look delish!

Engineer Baker said...

I'm glad these brought back good memories of France!

Bumblebutton said...

Nice modifications, and really nice trip you took me on this morning--Vive la France!

Marie said...

|I was so tempted to use dried cherries! Your brownies look fabulous! I am well impressed! I would so much love to live in the south of France!!

chelley325 said...

What a wonderful story of your time in France! Now I want to go! ;-) Your pictures are lovely, and glad you enjoyed these!

Susie Homemaker said...

Yum - how can you go wrong with extra chocolate? I may try this next time!

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

I like your additions! I will definitely try these with cherries next time!

Amy said...

Oh, cherries sound great. I will have to try them that way. You are right, "Love at first taste!"

Annemarie said...

oooooh..next time...MORE chocolate will be added to my brownies!!

CB said...

ooohh cherries. That sounds awesome! Great job!
Clara @ I♥food4thought

Cafe Johnsonia said...

Nice job! Cherries are yummy with chocolate.

Jess said...

Good job! The texture in your picture looks wonderfully fudgey - maybe because you didn't whisk for 2 minutes? They look incredible.

PheMom said...

Beautiful job! They look so rich and yummy!

Rebecca said...

Mmmmm, gorgeous pics! I'm envious of everyone who tried cherries in this. Yum!

Jaime said...

that first photo is beautiful!

Lori said...

I left out the raisins too but geez I should have added some more chocolate. YUM

Gretchen Noelle said...

Yum! The extra chocolate chips always makes for a moist delicious brownie!

Heather said...

yum! They look so fudgy and delicious! I want some of those!

Melissa said...

I think my mistake might have been mixing for the 2 min. Yours look much fudgier!

noskos said...

Job well done, they look great!

ostwestwind said...

Cherries, that sounds delicious!

Ulrike from Küchenlatein

Shari said...

Cherries were a good sub. Good for you to avoid the crackly crust by not overbeating it! Great job. Love the mint peeking out.
Shari@Whisk: a food blog

Susan said...

I love dried cherries, and they would be so good in these brownies. Yours look wonderful!

ITP Foodie/Joh103 said...

I think the next time I make these I will try them with the cherries instead of raisins- either way it's a win!

Chris said...

oooh - Cherries. I am a sucker for cherries! Looks delicious!

likesprinkles said...

Why didn't I think to add white chocolate?! I bet it made them amazing!

Garrett said...

Ohh, fudgy brownies. Sounds wonderful. The cherries sound like a great addition to these brownies!

Dolores said...

Oreos. and peanut butter. in brownies. Go figure. That's something I'll have to try. Glad you found fudgy brownie goodness in these.