This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe was chosen by Di of Di's Kitchen Notebook. Thank's Di!
Mmm mmm. These French Brownies were good. Admittedly, I didn't completely follow Dorie's recipe, but I think she'll understand. I elected to amp up mine by omitting the raisins and adding extra cinnamon, toasted hazelnuts and Nutella to my batter. They are truly delicous.
I don't drink coffee very often anymore, and when I do it has to be decaf and unsweetened, but back in my days as a barista, one of the latte flavors I liked best was hazelnut cinnamon. If you're a sweet latte drinker (a dying breed, which is a good thing really) you must try yours like this. Make sure to top your milk foam with cinnamon sprinkles as well. Oh, and tip your barista if they are nice and make you a good drink!
Some of you likened the original recipe with flambed raisins to Raisinettes. I LOVE Raisinettes (people only eat these at the movies, right?), but I didn't have the rum and I have a husband who is not a raisin fan. I don't like to bake anything that he won't eat because I end up making up for his abstinence by eating more and this is not the season to be fooling around with extra, extra calories. One serving of rich, hazelnut brownies are just enough.
I know I'll make this recipe again-it was so easy and produced a delicious brownie. After the "photo shoot" I left 3 out, then I wrapped the rest of these up and threw them in the freezer. They've joined cupcakes, flourless chocolate cake, and chocolate lava cakes. I like having a freezer full of this stuff as they are perfect mix ins for ice cream when you have that burning need on any given night for a treat. Plus, brownies defrost wonderfully. In fact, as an update, after seeing Sex and the City on Sunday, and proceeding to drink too much wine back at my house with my girl friends, these already came and went. Au Revoir French Brownies!!Thanks for being there waiting for us when we really needed you after too much wine on a work night.
So, go ahead and splurge. If you're like me and you have a big Costco bottle of Nutella or any other chocolate hazelnut spread sitting in your pantry, I recommend you try the recipe my way. The Nutella added a delicous boost in chocolate flavor as well as extra richness.
French Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
6 ounces good bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Scharffen Berger 60%)
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
3/4 Cup Nutella
2 Tablespoons Frangelico (optional)
3/4 Cup chopped toasted hazelnuts
powdered sugar for dusting
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 and flour 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 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, Frangelico and Nutella, stirring until 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. Alternatively, you may choose to melt the chocolate in the microwave on half power, stirring regularly.
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 hazelnuts.
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. Halfway through the baking time, rotate the pan in the oven.
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. Dust with powdered sugar if you'd like.