God rested on the seventh day and on the eighth day he woke up and said, “Let’s make chocolate!” And he saw that it was good. Soooo good.
Then along came St. Valentine who said, “Chocolate is the food of love.” Or something like that. Somehow Madison Ave took it from there and now all Americans are required to eat their weight in chocolate on Valentine’s Day. And I’m OK with this.
Anyone who follows my blog knows there is no shortage of brownie recipes. When I got married I had 12 brownie recipes and an uncracked cookbook. I know have shelves of cookbooks, many with scratch and taste sections…cakes, cookies, bars, brownies, hot fudge sauce.
My writer friends are popping over and in their honor I wanted to make a new brownie recipe. Naturally I have to assist them in their goal to consume enough chocolate for the big day.
I found a cookbook on my shelves entitled “Intensely Chocolate.” I have no memory of ever seeing this cookbook before. It was in pristine condition, so I suspect it must be new – sans chocolate smudges.
It does bring up a troubling condition: book shopping in my sleep.
Cookbooks seem to arrive on a regular basis and I have no knowledge of them. But they claim I’ve purchased them on Amazon, so who am I to dispute that?
I must have been having a great dream when I selected Intensely Chocolate, by Carole Bloom. Although you never want to have “bloom” on your chocolate… you know, that white chalky stuff that happens when your chocolate has become distressed. If you want to learn more about bloom, and how to avoid it, try Baking Bites. http://bakingbites.com/2012/01/what-is-chocolate-bloom/
Although the recipe for Fudgy Pecan Brownies looked perfect, I found it a bit tedious. For starters it required both unsweetened chocolate in a bar form, bittersweet chocolate in a bar form and unsweetened cocoa powder. Yes, I’m a chocolate addict, but keeping a steady supply of these items is a challenge. And a trip to the store breaks the rhythm of brownie-creation. So I simplified the recipe and changed it a bit.
I hunted through my private chocolate stash in the drawers in my office, dresser and pantry until I found a pile of chocolate to substitute. Instead of the plain bars, I used a 3.5 oz bar of dark chocolate with cabernet grapes and another half eaten bar with crushed almonds. Then I had my trusty Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips step in to fill in the blanks.
So what happened? The chocolate held hands together to create a fudgy, rich brownie with the crunch of toasted pecans. Then just to be sure there was enough chocolate goodness, I added my favorite frosting. Just to be sure.
My writer friends loved them. My husband brought me roses. These are brownies to remember.
5 oz bar of dark chocolate (flavor(s) of your choice)
¾ cup dark chocolate chips
¾ cup butter (1 ½ sticks)
3 large eggs
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup granulated sugar
1 tsp instant coffee powder (smashed to create a dust)
1 tsp vanilla
¼ tsp salt
3 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder (again, I used dark)
1 cup flour
1 cup toasted pecans, coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Grease an 8” square pan.
Toast the pecans for 5 – 7 minutes and let them cool.
Put the chocolate bar and chocolate chips in a microwave safe bowl. Add the butter and melt.
In a large mixing bowl, crack the three eggs and beat with the sugars, vanilla, coffee and salt.
Add the butter and chocolate mixture carefully.
Mix in the cocoa powder and flour and beat just until incorporated.
Blend in the pecans.
Bake 30 – 35 minutes. Let cool
If desired (and I know you DO desire this) frost with fudge frosting
2 TBS butter
4 TBS cream cheese
4 TBS unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
1-2 TBS milk or cream
1 – 1 ½ cups powdered sugar.
Soften the butter and cream cheese. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until you have a creamy, spreadable consistency.