Friday, May 8, 2009

Hot Fudge Brownies

By popular demand. Just this once. I am not The Pioneer Woman.

My non-Pioneer Woman pictures are here. Also the credit.

For those of you who have been following the saga of my washing machine, if I understand the situation correctly, Washer Repair Dude has been on vacation. As I snarkily put it to The Spouse, "You mean Dude is off to the Seychelles or Sochi or his dacha? While I have spent the entire week sitting in my apartment, afraid to even go see Lenin's tomb for fear I will get a call saying he'll be at my door in 20 minutes? Is this what I am to understand?"

The Spouse thought I was taking the narrow view.

But I digress. Note that I tried to accommodate North American and European cooks. This is why I have a scale and a calculator in my kitchen drawer. Also, I rely heavily on page 621 of The Martha Stewart Cookbook (1995) for her conversion chart of "Equivalent Imperial and Metric Measurements." Once, in Vienna, I saw on the fridge of a fellow expat, an imperial/metric conversion chart, courtesy of her local international women's club. Verily I say unto you now: this would be a good club fund-raiser. hint hint

But I digress again. To make these brownies, you will need

2 cups walnut pieces
4 ounces/112 grams unsweetened chocolate
1/2 cup/1 stick/112 grams unsalted butter, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract (I used about 5 packets of vanilla sugar and considered it part of the sugar, below.)
2 cups sugar (I used mostly Demerara since I didn't have enough plain old regular white sugar. If you don't know what Demerara sugar is, don't sweat it: just used what you call sugar.)
4 large eggs, room temperature
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (I have no idea how to say that in Russian. I just used the normal flour I use for all projects.)

The recipe says to preheat the oven to 350F. My oven has gas marks. I do everything at Gas Mark 5. I have no idea what that means. Also, I was making a Spanish recipe for chicken that required a very low, slow oven. So I turned it down to Gas Mark 3 for the chicken and then turned it up for the brownies (without removing the chicken) and then turned it back down . . .

Now do you see why I am loathe to type in these recipes? It's not so straight forward.

I used a 9-inch square glass baking dish. You metric types are on your own here. I molded aluminum foil around the outside of the baking dish leaving the foil long enough that the sides overhung the edges of the dish (this enables you to remove the brownies later). Then you are supposed to take the foil off the bottom, turn the dish over, and arrange the foil inside the pan. Since all I can get is crap-quality European foil that tears when you look at it, I used two layers. If you are using proper American Reynolds Wrap, one sheet is certainly sufficient.

Gently grease the foil with a little vegetable oil.

Arrange the walnuts in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake the walnuts 6 to 8 minutes, until lightly toasted. Set aside to cool.

Melt together the chocolate and the butter until just a few lumps remain. I used the microwave. The recipe says to use a double boiler. I'm not getting into techniques here. Stir the chocolate until it finishes melting. Scrape the mixture into a medium bowl, and let it cool about 5 minutes. By hand, stir in the sugar/vanilla, salt, and then the eggs, one at a time. Mix with a minimum of strokes, adding each ingredient just before you have completely incorporated the previous one.

I took a little of the 1 cup of flour and tossed the walnuts with it, a trick I have seen the Barefoot Contessa do to keep nuts from sinking in batters. Stir in the remaining flour, mixing lightly again, followed by the flour-tossed walnuts. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and smooth the surface.

Bake for 32 to 35 minutes, until the top looks just slightly set and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost but not quite clean. A little chocolate should remain on the toothpick. Do not overcook the brownies--when they really look done, they'll be too dry. I set my timer for 25 minutes and then checked every 5 minutes after that until they reached the right consistency.

Cool the brownies in the pan. Remove them from the pan by pulling on the foil ends, then pull the foil off and cut the brownies to your preferred size. They will be messy to slice.

Dust with powdered sugar if you wish. Serve with ice cream, whipped cream, clotted cream . . . as you prefer.

Now, I have to go because (a different) washing machine guy is here. Really.

Update: As told to me via The Spouse, who talked to Man Friday, who talked to WRDII by phone. The hose was old. WRPII used glue. Don't use the washer before tomorrow. I can't read the receipt and did not hover, so I don't know if he patched the old hose or replaced it with a new one. The adventure continues . . . tomorrow.


valentina said...

Hi, sounds good, the brownies, I mean. I do a similar sort of sugar free version w: Melt 1/2 C butter, add 1 t vanilla, 2 beaten eggs, 1 1/2 C SPLENDA brown sugar substitute, 3/4 C cocoa, 1 C flour, 1 t salt, 1 1/2 t bkg pow and 1 C nuts of any kind. Mix and Bake in lightly greased pie pan or 9X 9" pan at 350 for 25 minutes. Very tasty and nearly sugar free. (SPLENDA brown sugar substitute is not totally sugar free.) Sometimes I add chocolate chips too but that sort of defeats the sugar free nature of the recipe...
Very nice for breakfast!

I really am hoping the washer guy can fix the washer thoroughly and that you can begin the festival of laundry and will not longer be held hostage to awaiting the repair dude! Good luck and let us all know how it turns out! We feel your pain! xov

The Expatresse said...

Can't get Splenda-type products here. Just the little tablets for coffee. Moscow does not believe in cocoa powder either, or I would have made a Barefoot Contessa recipe.

valentina said...

Well I think just about all brownies are good if they aren't overbaked! What's not to like? Butter, sugar and chocolate! Splenda was originally a British product. My dad bought stock in it he likes it so well!

Sure hope the washer works tomorrow! Free at last, free at last! xov

Margarita said...

Let me buy you a box of cocoa powder. That'll be an honor fro me :)

Anonymous said...

I have a British Cookbook and can help interpret some Gas Marks for you:

Gas Mark 3 = 325 degrees
Gas Mark 4 = 350 degrees
Gas Mark 5 = 375 degrees
Gas Mark 6 = 400 degrees
Gas Mark 7 = 425 degrees

The Expatresse said...

Ohhhh. Thanks.

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