The reward:effort ratio for brownies is pretty high, making them a favorite of mine for lazy day baking projects. It’s easy to get controversial about brownies, about what makes a really kickass brownie. Some like it cakey, some like it dense and fudge-like. And what about mix-ins… there are nuts, chocolate chips, cheesecake swirl, marshmallows… If you are looking for one that is an impenetrable layer of gooey, rich chocolate, with a crackly, paper-thin skin on top, you’ve found your match. A tall glass of milk is a must, and I’ve been eating mine with a fork. Mr.S adds that these would be perfect for warm brownie sundaes.
These brownies are made fresh daily at Prueitt’s acclaimed bakery, Tartine, in San Francisco. They don’t stay on the shelves long, and for good reason. The collection of recipes is accompanied by warm and sunny photos of mouthwatering desserts and pastries. Highlights for me include extensive recipes for both croissants and brioche, peanut brittle, chiffon cakes, frangipane cream, and bostock, a delicious breakfast dish of sliced brioche topped with jam, almond cream, and toasted almonds. It’s a rare, precious find in a bakery; the only other place I’ve seen it offered is Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor. I highly recommend this book for anyone who wants to take the most basic desserts to the next level.
Tartine Bakery Brownies
from Tartine by Elisabeth Prueitt
yields 12 large brownies
An easy way to remove brownies from the pan in one fell swoop is to line the pan with parchment paper, like a cradle, with the edges exposed. Cut slits in the paper to fold into the corners of the pan, so that it resembles a cardboard box without the top. Instead of using nonstick spray, use butter and a thin coating of cocoa powder for easy release.
I also find that refrigerating the brownies makes for cutting them much easier.
The addition of the chocolate chips in this recipe is a personal preference.
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 lb bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp all purpose flour
2 cups light brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate chips (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9″x13″ pan with parchment paper. Grease the paper and dust with cocoa powder.
2. In a saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from heat and add the chocolate to melt. Stir until fully melted and set aside to cool.
3. Sift the flour into a small bowl. In another bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Beat on high until the mixture becomes pale and thick, about 4-5 minutes. With a spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and chocolate chips (if using) and fold it in gently so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth out the top. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25-28 minutes. Remove and cool completely in the pan. Refrigerate overnight. With a sharp knife the next day, cut into 12 squares.