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TWD: French Chocolate Brownies

June 3, 2008

This week’s TWD recipe, French Chocolate Brownies, comes to us from Di’s Kitchen Notebook. Thanks Di!!

Let me tell you how excited I was to be making brownies this weekend. It’s been at least a few months since I’ve made brownies and with the exception of my past two TWD recipes, the house has been completely devoid of sweets. And.It.Sucks. So anyway, Kyle and I had plans to go visit his twin brothers this weekend for their birthday and I knew Dorie’s French Chocolate Brownies would be making an appearance.

A little background…Kyle’s brothers, M and B, are 8 months younger than Kyle. They were born 3 months premature and way back in the mid-70s, prematurity didn’t bode well for babies. Unfortunately, there were complications during birth and both M and B have Cerebral Palsy. M’s diagnosis has always been pretty severe where he has been wheelchair-bound and fed through a feeding tube for years, and is severely cognitively and developmentally impaired. While B also uses a wheelchair, he is also able to walk with some assistance, doesn’t speak but communicates with his own form of sign language, and feeds himself. They have been living in a group home with a 5 other [now] men and are receiving some of the best care in the state of CT. They just turned 32 this weekend and have well-surpassed the life expectancy any doctor predicted when they were first diagnosed as toddlers. Though it might seem like a tough situation on the outside, they are thriving better than could be expected considering the severity level of their CP diagnoses.

So needless to say, when we go to visit, we bring food – both for Bryan and for the wonderful staff in the home. Bryan is about as big of an eater as Kyle is so I can always count on him to gobble up whatever I make for him. We figured out over the years that his favorite food combination is chocolate and peanut butter – he certainly knows his food!! So with Dorie’s brownies on the baking menu this weekend, I decided to change them up a little. I omitted the raisins and added 2 tbsp peanut butter, 1 tbsp water and a bag of Reese’s peanut butter chips. I liked them. Kyle liked them. Bryan didn’t want anything to do with them. He smelled it and handed it back to me. I do hope he at least tried it again after we left because they were pretty good. Not the best. Not Ina’s. But pretty good…and the peanut butter chips were such a treat! They turned out a little crumbly but fairly moist nonetheless, which isn’t what I had heard from quite a few of the other TWDers.

Thanks again to Di for choosing this recipe. To see how the other TWDers fared this week, check out Tuesdays with Dorie.

~~~~~

Last week’s TWD recipe: Pecan Honey Sticky Buns as chosen by Madam Chow’s Kitchen

Next week’s TWD recipe: Fresh Strawberry Tart as chosen by Marie of A Year from Oak Cottage

~~~~~

French Chocolate Brownies

source: adapted from Dorie Greenspan, Baking: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
  • 1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
  • 6 5 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, 1 ounce semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
  • 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
  • 2 tbsp creamy peanut butter
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 1 12oz bag Reese’s peanut butter chips

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 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 raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.

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, stirring so that 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.

Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar, peanut butter and water 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 raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan peanut butter chips.

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. 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.

Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!

Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. June 3, 2008 10:04 am

    What a wonderful treat to bring them! Definitely something special.

  2. June 3, 2008 10:07 am

    YUM! They look great!!

  3. June 3, 2008 10:22 am

    Wow Tara… these came out fabulous. Your pics are really tempting me to lick the screen and I love the addition of the nuts!

  4. June 3, 2008 11:09 am

    Love your pictures! They look wonderful.

  5. June 3, 2008 11:50 am

    These look delicious!

  6. June 3, 2008 11:55 am

    They look fantastic!

  7. June 3, 2008 12:41 pm

    I’m sure Bryan scarfed them down as soon as you left – who could resist?

  8. June 3, 2008 12:43 pm

    yum! I love chocolate and pb! Great job!

  9. June 3, 2008 12:44 pm

    What a wonderful thing to do for both brothers and staff.

  10. June 3, 2008 1:45 pm

    Beautiful brownies – the PB chips look like a great addition!

  11. June 3, 2008 2:44 pm

    What a sweet surprise! Nice job!

  12. June 3, 2008 6:19 pm

    I agree, the pb chips were a great add-in. I’ll bet he ate them when you left.

  13. June 3, 2008 6:38 pm

    Your brownies look great and I love the additions that you did!

  14. kdgreen permalink
    June 3, 2008 9:09 pm

    Can’t think of a better reason to make a substitution!

  15. June 3, 2008 9:20 pm

    I love those pics! And I’m sure everyone really appreciated your brownies. Yum!

  16. June 4, 2008 7:34 am

    Nice gesture to take baked goods. The PB version would have gone over really well here!

  17. June 4, 2008 8:57 am

    Oh, I wish we could get PB chips here, that sounds like a delicious substitution!

  18. June 4, 2008 9:06 am

    Oh yum! I bet the peanut butter was SO good. My husband is a choco-pb freak so I wish I would have thought of that! Great job!
    Clara @ I♥food4thought

  19. June 4, 2008 2:02 pm

    Peanut butter and pb chips sound delicious with this. Great job!
    Shari@Whisk: a food blog

  20. andreainthekitchen permalink
    June 5, 2008 8:01 pm

    Lovely substitution with the chips. And thank you for sharing an aspect of your life.
    Well done.

  21. June 5, 2008 9:20 pm

    what a sweet story; and worthy recipients of your tasty PB brownies!

  22. June 7, 2008 5:46 pm

    Beautiful photos of your brownies! I’d be crazy for the peanut butter chips. Thanks for the post on Barefoot Bloggers. I’m so excited to be part of the group.

Trackbacks

  1. » TWD: French Chocolate Brownies
  2. 2 In A Room » TWD: French Chocolate Brownies
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