Sunday, October 17, 2010

Hershey's Brownies

Like Alicia, I'm always happy when I make it back to the brownie section of American Desserts. Maida has a knack for spot-on brownie recipes, and there's just no occasion that brownies don't improve. This weekend there were two brownie occasions: most of them got shipped off to Julia's soccer game as a much-appreciated soccer snack.
But while Julia was playing soccer, I had sneaked off to Paris to see a talk by Clotilde Dusoulier, of Chocolate and Zucchini fame. She gave a really nice talk (more like an interview, really) about how she started cooking and blogging and about the world of food blogging. It was interesting to hear her very positive take on American (Californian) food and the "Anglo-Saxon" way of writing about food. She and the moderator agreed that French people take food rather for granted and so do not have the same breathless sense of culinary discovery that we Anglos do.
Why do I mention Clotilde's talk here? Well, in true Maida Heatter fashion, I brought her a couple of these brownies, carefully wrapped in plastic (since I have no cellophane at home). The girls and I agreed that this was rather a stalkerish thing to do, but she seemed to be rather touched at the gesture. I hope she enjoyed them--I know I loved the one brownie I got to taste!

So, on to the brownies. This is a cocoa brownie with a triple-chocolate glaze. I suppose it's possible to make it with Hershey's chocolate, but why? I used a combination of French and American ingredients, as you may be able to see from the lineup here.

Lots and lots of walnuts! If you go the full weight in Maida's recipes, you end up with a very nutty product. Which is fine with me.

The finished brownie part. For once in my life, I didn't overbake these. They had the perfect texture, I thought.

Now for the glaze. I had to use up this Ghirardelli chocolate that had spent three weeks in a container, most likely in a constantly molten state. It really looked awful and was crumbly to boot.

But in the end, it melted up nice and smooth. Maida has the very intelligent idea here of melting the chocolate in stages: first the dark and then the milk. I took this a bit further and gave the block of unyielding unsweetened chocolate a zap (with the butter) before adding the semisweet, and the milk chocolate at the end. I think that helped the chocolate come together without danger of burning.

It's a nice layer of glaze: thick but not too overpowering.

And there's the finished product, ready for the soccer game.

I really liked these brownies: the cake was tender; the glaze was chocolatey and sweet, but not too sweet. I might just make them again sometime, so that I can eat more than one!

Here's the recipe. Share a few with someone you admire.

Hershey's Brownies

1/2 c. (4 oz.) butter
1/3 c. (1 oz.) cocoa powder
1/4 t. baking powder
1/4 t. salt
1 scant cup (6.5 oz.) sugar
1 t. vanilla
2 large eggs
1/2 c. (2.5 oz.) unsifted flour
1 c. (4 oz.) walnut pieces

Heat the oven to 350; line a 9-inch square pan with aluminum foil and butter the foil. In a saucepan or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter with the cocoa--in the microwave, this will take about a minute. Stir until smooth, then add the baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar, the vanilla, the eggs one at a time, the flour, and finally the walnut pieces. Pour into the prepared pan (asking yourself once again why people actually buy brownie mix) and bake 20-25 minutes (mine were done after about 15), until a toothpick comes out just barely clean. Let cool for 15 minutes, then unmold onto a rack and peel off the foil. Let stand until cool, and then make the glaze:

1/4 c. (2 oz.) butter
1 oz. unsweetened chocolate
3.5 oz. semisweet chocolate
4 oz. milk chocolate
1/2 t. vanilla

In a saucepan over low heat, or in a microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter and unsweetened chocolate until the chocolate begins to melt (about 30 seconds in the microwave). Add the semisweet chocolate and let that melt down just about completely (another 30 seconds). Finally, add the milk chocolate. If you're working on the stove, you can take the pan off the stove and stir until the chocolate is melted. If you're using the microwave, give it another 30 seconds and then stir. Add the vanilla. Maida recommends now beating the mixture with an electric mixer at high speed for a minute for better texture. I didn't, and mine was fine. Pour the glaze over the cake and spread it to cover. Let stand until set enough to cut. Enjoy the chocolate rush.

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