Sunday, June 19, 2011

Spiced Brownies

These brownies were introduced to me by friend Emily a few months ago. I loved them the moment I tasted them then, but kept forgetting to ask Emily for the recipe. Then earlier this week, when deciding what to bring as I tagged along to a Father's Day get together here on the right coast, but wanting to at the same time honor our DaddyBob on the left coast, I remembered Emily's excellent spiced brownies, and finally asked for the recipe.

I chose to  honor DaddyBob with these brownies because they remind me of Mexican Hot Chocolate Snickerdoodles, which DaddyBob adores.  We call those cookies "Wait For It Cookies" because the heat doesn't kick in right away.  These brownies are like that, too. The heat sneaks up on you, warming the back of your throat only after you swallow each bite.  

If you want to have some bakerly fun, put these brownies out in front of a crowd, watch as people dive at them with shouts of "Oooo! Brownies!" and then sit back and smirk as they realize that what they just ate isn't your typical treat.

Which, by the way, is totally something DaddyBob would do - he's practically a professional smirker. He's also a wonderful teacher, so it's no surprise that Becky and I enjoy keeping people on their toes. Afterall, it takes a slightly mischievous dad to raise slightly mischievous daughters :-)

Happy Father's Day to all the dads out there, and a big, cross-country hug to ours.


Spiced Brownies
Adapted from 
Smitten Kitchen, who adapted it from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking and the Baked Bakery in Red Hook, Brooklyn
Makes 24 brownies
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
11 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13 baking pan with foil and grease foil. 
2. In a medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, cocoa powder, cayenne pepper, and cinnamon. Set aside.
3. Put chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
4. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
5. Sprinkle flour mixture over chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold flour mixture into chocolate until just a bit of flour mixture is visible.
6. Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
7. Set brownies on wire rack to cool completely. Using foil edges, lift entire pan of brownies out onto cutting board and cut into squares. Tightly covered with plastic wrap, brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.

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