A Sarcastic Appetite


Alice Medrich’s Brownies with Sea Salt
April 27, 2013, 2:42 pm
Filed under: Recipes | Tags: , , ,

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You guys, I bought flour today. And sugar. I actually can’t remember the last time I purchased either. There has been cooking in the Sarcastic Appetite Kitchen since my little (long) hiatus, but baking sort of fell to the bottom of the list. I think of it as a Saturday afternoon activity, and, well, I’ve been spending my Saturdays doing other things.

But I spied this recipe in so many places that I could no longer ignore it. Cue a lazy Saturday with nothing on the agenda and I was off.

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You talk about brownies with serious bakers, and everyone starts talking about the (high-end) chocolate. Callebaut, Valrhona, Mast Brothers…you name it, someone’s got their favorite and it is the reason why their brownies are the best. I love this recipe because it flouts that: all you need is cocoa powder, plus the usual suspects (flour, sugar, eggs, salt, vanilla). Not sure if you have Dutch process or regular? It doesn’t matter! These brownies are so easy-going, I want to date them.

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My favorite part is the sea salt sprinkled on top. A very wise friend once introduced me to ice cream sundaes with sea salt and I’ve never looked back. These brownies do the same thing; the salt just makes the chocolate pop. Being gluttonous, I also added chopped semisweet chocolate chips (ok, ok, from Mast Brothers, guilty as charged) and the result was out of control.

If you’re feeling peppy, brown the butter beforehand. Add walnuts if you like. I upped the vanilla; you should too. These are gorgeous. I’m a little worried they’ll all be gone by tonight…and I’ll only have myself to blame.

Alice Medrich’s Brownies with Sea Salt

From Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet; adapted from the Amateur Gourmet, Smitten Kitchen, Bon Appétit….and probably elsewhere, too.

10 Tbps. salted butter (1 1/4 sticks) (it’s ok to use salted butter….trust me)

1 1/4 c. sugar

3/4 c. plus 2 Tbps. cocoa powder – Dutch, natural, whatever you have

1/4 tsp. salt

3/4 tsp. vanilla extract

2 large, cold eggs

1/2 c. flour

2/3 c. chopped chocolate, or walnuts

nice flaky sea salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spray an 8″ x 8″ (or similar sized) pan with cooking spray; layer a sheet of parchment paper in and then spray that, too.

In a large bowl over simmering water, melt the butter, sugar, cocoa powder, and salt. It will look like it’s not doing much of anything, so turn the heat up a bit and eventually it will melt into a thick, dark paste. Set it aside and wait for it to cool a bit.  Use a wooden spoon to stir in the vanilla. Stir in each egg, one by one, letting the first blend completely before you add the second. Stir in the flour until it disappears, then stir for 40 strokes (it won’t take as long as you think).

Sprinkle the top with some really nice sea salt. Don’t be shy. Bake at 325°F for about 20-25 minutes (in a different sized pan, mine took closer to 30) until a toothpick shoved in there comes out not quite clean. Don’t overbake!

Cool on a rack. Try to have some restraint.

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