Friday, February 11, 2011

katharine hepburn's brownies

I've been waiting far too long to make brownies. I've been bookmarking recipes since last year!

There's a reason for that, though. Brownies definitely fall under the 'want' not 'need' category. I kept thinking about them, but that little voice in the back of my head kept saying no. These are completely unnecessary and you'll regret it later. You don't need 24 squares of pure chocolate and sugar.

But I didn't think I'd ever had an honest to goodness true to form homemade brownie. I used to make Texas brownies all the time, but they're more like an elaborate chocolate cake than a brownie, and I'm sure there was at least one time I had brownies from a box. But I still felt like I'd been left out of the brownie taste experience.

And then the real deal got really confusing, I mean, what exactly is a real brownie? My obsession started with this recipe, and soon many different equally delicious looking brownie recipes kept popping up almost every day. Chewy brownies, fudgy brownies, moist brownies, these are more like brownies cuz there's less flour; no, you need more flour, mint brownies, rocky road brownies, layered brownies. Soon, I had a huge folder of brownie recipes to experiment with just so I could figure out whether I liked brownies chewy or fudgy or cakey or minty or loaded with marshmallows (I don't even have to try that one, I'll love it, come on).

But then, while I was going through my massive brownie recipe collection for the umpteenth time, I spotted Katharine Hepburn's brownies.

The first thing that caught my eye was how it only makes 9 brownies. Yes. Nine. That solves my first problem. Nine brownies in the house constitutes a nice little treat and an easy dessert after dinner. Nine doesn't incite a gorge fest on brownies.

Because I knew there was probably a pretty good chance we would eat them all in one day.

Next the entire recipe comes together in one pot. So essentially, you're only dirtying some measuring cups and a few spoons and barely dirtying a baking dish. Who doesn't love that?

There's also no need to fiddle around with a bain marie. Not that I can't do that or it's an especially hard step, it's just another step you have to prepare and I prefer to use easy recipes as much as I can. Why go through that extra step for the exact same outcome when I don't have to, you know?

And besides, Valentine's Day is coming up fast, and I'm terrible at remembering important couple dates and anniversaries. I can quickly prepare these brownies the day of so all I have to do is spend a tiny bit of time cutting them with a heart shaped cookie cutter and tossing on some sprinkles. It couldn't be easier to elevate this simple recipe for the occasion.

And if you remember these dates, you can totally spend the time and the worry making something extra fancy like pot de crème or crème brulée or chocolate mousse (three of the recipes I see most this time of year), but I'm here to tell you that simple can kick ass, too (and you'll be guaranteed it'll come out deliciously).

slightly adapted from here

1/2 cup unsalted butter
2 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup sugar (because I used semi-sweet chocolate, I used just under a cup of sugar)
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease an 8X8 baking dish (mine was slightly smaller) with nonstick spray, line with parchment paper, and spray the paper again.

Melt butter and chocolate together in a medium sized pot on low heat just until the chocolate and butter start to melt. Continue stirring until both are completely melted and mixed together.

Remove from heat and mix in the sugar. Next add the eggs and vanilla and incorporate completely. Finally, add the flour and salt and stir until smooth.

Pour into prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean. Let cool completely (as hard as it is), remove from pan and paper and enjoy.

{notes} Definitely allow these brownies to cool completely. Even when they're still a touch warm, they're a little too gooey and sticky. It was enough to make them difficult to slice, and they tended to stick in my teeth. When cooled, they were easier to slice, less sticky and more fudgy.
I also made these with salted margarine (omitting the salt in the recipe) and whole wheat flour, and they still turned out just as perfectly albeit a little more fudgy and chewy with a cracklier top.

1 comment:

Lisa said...

Mmmm, I've heard about how good these brownies are and your pictures prove it. I have a sweet treat linky party going on at my blog called "Sweets for a Saturday" and I'd like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link your brownies up.