Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Almost-My-Own Signature Brownies

Hands down, The-Best-Brownie-Ever

I still adore my mother-in-law's brownies ... very similar to these ... but these are  even  way better.

I owe a forever debt of gratitude to my dearest friend, Robin. She had best friend status way before these brownies, but when she included them as part of my Christmas present a few years ago, that status became Dearest Friend For Life. Now that I think about it, they may have been a whole family gift ... I just don't remember sharing.  Sorry family.

Anyway, I've been in love with them ever since then. If I was still six years old, I would not hesitate to say, "I want to marry them!" 

Fortunately, though, I am a bit older, and I can make a batch whenever I want. More fortunately, I guess, with age comes wisdom, so I know better than to bake them without having a specific purpose in mind for sharing my brownie bounty.  Bake, cool, cut ... and then out of the house!

Sometimes, I freeze them, just so I can't eat even one without due consideration. Otherwise, I'm telling you, there could be trouble. Step away from the brownies!

After I cut up two dozen yesterday to stack on a pretty Christmas plate for dessert to take to a luncheon, I shared one over a cup of coffee with my friend, Sonnet.  It was, after all, a special occasion ... Wednesday .... brownies for breakfast day ... right? 

Still lots of brownies left in the pan ... lots! Did I mention this recipe makes a sheet-load of brownies? That's a half-sheet pan by standard kitchen measure. I made Sonnet take some home to her family. No real arm-twisting required. Still lots of brownies left.

At the luncheon, I was besieged by requests for the brownie recipe and chastised for never putting it on Cora Cooks. 

It's not my original recipe ... even if I have claimed it for my Signature Brownie Recipe. Nor did it require significant adaptations to be absolutely perfect. I always give credit to Barefoot Contessa, for her inspiration to use the Chocolate Glob recipe in the SoHo Charcuterie Cookbook to create these brownies ... and then sell them at her Barefoot Contessa shop in the Hamptons ... and then including them in her first cookbook, The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook* ... so I could bake them to wide acclaim ... and now share them with you (at least, those of you who have not discovered them already!)

Isn't that just the way of all good recipes? From one person to another ... and another ... and another ...

... and now you know.

By the way, Outrageous Brownies make perfect Christmas gifts! Hint, hint!

Barefoot Contessa's OUTRAGEOUS BROWNIES  - link to recipe posted on Food Network Website

Cora's Notes for baking Outrageous Brownies:
  1. Measure out all ingredients first - seriously! Both the flour and chocolate chips are split up to use at separate times and it helps to have everything already divided.
  2. Use a heavy, commercial sheet pan. This is a lot of heavy brownie batter and the heavy pan helps. If you don't have one already, you will love yourself for buying it.
  3. I grease the pan with a combination of butter (for flavor) and Crisco (to avoid burned butter taste.)
  4. Do not even think about leaving out the instant coffee granules. In fact, I add a pinch to other chocolate recipes to really bring out the chocolate flavor. That being said, if the chocolate with coffee granules flavor is too intense, you could try using a smaller amount of coffee, before omitting it all together.
  5. I prefer roughly chopped walnuts, but pecans or without nuts are perfect too.
  6. DO NOT OVERBAKE! The time given works perfectly in my Viking oven.
  7. Refrigerate whole pan of brownies after cooling and before cutting with a heavy knife - they will come out of the pan looking picture-perfect.
  8. Two-inch squares are perfect for chocolate lovers, but don't be afraid to cut them a bit smaller for mere mortals.
  9. Package and freeze any brownies you will not eat or share in a day or so, to keep them at optimum flavor.

* More of my favorite and most excellent recipes from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook - this cookbook truly is a keeper!
Crab Cakes
Perfect Roast Chicken
Salmon with Fennel
Roasted Brussels Sprouts
Roasted Fennel
Homemade Applesauce
Outrageous Brownies
Pecan Squares (as good as the Brownies!)
Croissant Bread Pudding (I have adapted this one to include my Amaretto Sauce recipe on top - more later)  

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