Simply a brownie

First of all, happy Easter to everyone who is celebrating today!  Feel free to send along any unwanted leftover Easter candy – I particularly enjoy Cadbury Creme Eggs and Reese’s Eggs.

Second of all, today is the last full day of Passover for lots of Jews.  Hallelujah!  This means that come sundown tomorrow, I’ll be slurping down a big bowl of pasta in all its bready glory.  Really, I’m just looking forward to some oatmeal Tuesday morning.  Is that pathetic?  Hmmm.

So, to celebrate a) the holiday of Passover, which, despite the lack of leavening is actually a cause for celebration (I mean dudes, we got out of Egypt), and b) the fact that it’s almost over…I made some brownies.  Sans flour yo.

Didn't suffer from the lack of flour.

Usually flourless chocolate cakes require like 18 eggs, and you have to whip the whites, and you have to be all careful with it, and so on.  Not so with this recipe.  I found it on Epicurious, which thankfully allows me access to recipes from a 1997 issue of Gourmet.  I made 3 changes – none of which ruin the beautiful simplicity of the dessert.

#1 – I used 1/2 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup light brown sugar.  Did this make a difference in the finished product?  I have no idea.  But by golly do I love brown sugar.

#2 – I added 3/4 tsp almond extract…uhhh…because.  Totally not necessary.  But!  You could add any flavoring you want here really…mint extract…vanilla…some sort of liqueur…

#3 – I put the batter in an 8-inch square pan instead of a round pan so that I could call them brownies.  Elegant slices of chocolate cake are great and all, but let’s face it…it’s just me and the Weatherman around here.  No need for fancy today.

The final verdict?  I have never missed flour less in my life than in these brownies.  Such a short ingredient list means the chocolate really shines through (so pick a chocolate you like).  And no leavening gives you silky, purely fudgy brownies.  They’re rich, yes, but without the flour, they stay light.  Nothing to weigh down the chocolate and sugar…and really, who wants anything in the way of their chocolate and sugar?

This little brownie went to Paris.

These brownies (slash cake if you’re feeling fancy) are definitely worthy of the rest of the year.  And since they’re so simple, they’re totally customizable.  Ganache on top?  Flavored fresh whipped cream?  Ice cream?  Any sort of fresh fruit syrup or sauce?  Done and done.

Flourless Chocolate Brownies

Makes one 8×8-inch square (or round if making cake) pan, about 16 brownies

4 oz. good-quality bittersweet or dark chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
1/2 cup (= 1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
3 eggs, room temperature
3/4 tsp almond extract
1/2 cup unsweetened dutch-process cocoa powder, plus additional for sprinkling if desired

1. Preheat the oven to 375ºF with a rack in the center position.  Butter your pan.  Cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom of the pan, and, if using a square pan, leave it long enough to over-hang the sides of the pan (this will make it easy to lift the brownies out of the pan when they’re done).  Butter the parchment paper.
2. In a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, combine the chocolate and butter.  Stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth.  Once melted, remove the bowl from the pan.
3. Whisk both sugars into butter mixture.  Add eggs (room temp!) one at a time, whisking to thoroughly combine after each addition.   Stir in the almond extract.  Sift 1/2 cup of cocoa powder over the batter, then whisk to combine completely.  The batter should be smooth and super glossy and gorgeous.  Pour batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top and spreading evenly.  Bake for about 21-25 minutes (mine only took 21) until the center is set and a thin crust has formed on top.  (Don’t try to stick a tester in the middle, it will come out wet even if the brownies are done.)  Let brownies cool in the pan for about 5 minutes, then remove from pan and allow to continue cooling on a wire cooling rack.  If using a square pan, just lift out the whole parchment paper deal (don’t worry about removing the paper until you cut them).  If using a round pan, invert the cake and peel off the parchment paper.  Slice with a thin sharp knife and serve, dusted with cocoa powder if desired – these are fantastic warm, room temp, or even chilled.  Brownies keeps at room temperature in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Recipe adapted from Gourmet, found on Epicurious


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