This is my second Valentine’s Day as a married woman. I want to let you know a little something I didn’t know until after I got married, Beau does not like chocolate. I repeat DOES NOT like chocolate.
This has presented some challenges in our relationship. I have made some of the most delicious, decadent chocolate desserts and Beau’s response is usually, “Yeah, baby. It’s good. I mean, I don’t really like chocolate…”
So, this Valentine’s Day, I am making my favorite chocolate dessert :) Because Beau won’t be here. Which makes me sad. But chocolate makes me happy, so see? I’m going to get by just fine.
This is a brownie pudding recipe and OH. MY. GOSH. It tastes somewhat similar to a lava cake, but better. There is a crunchy top and a gooey, warm inside. It goes perfect with vanilla ice cream. And it is by far the best brownie recipe I have ever come across. And have I mentioned simple? It takes not time at all to get this into the oven.
If your lover enjoys chocolate I highly recommend this. And I bet you have all the ingredients on hand.
But first, let’s give credit where credit is due. Right? Right.
Two words. Ina. Garten. I know, this is like the third recipe I have posted of hers but dang, the woman knows what’s up. Am I becoming obsessed? Yes. In a sane, foodie, we’re probably going to be best friends one day kind of way :) So you see, it’s ok.
Let’s get this party started. Party hats welcome. Birthday suit? That’s welcome too – I mean, it is Valentine’s day ;)
Introducing: The Best Brownie Recipe
GRAB YOUR EGGS. These eggs need to be at room temperature so go ahead and grab four of them and set them on the counter while you prep.
Melt 2 sticks of butter (1/2 pound) and set aside to cool.
Cook’s Tip: I learned at a cooking class a few years ago that the best way to crack your egg is directly on top of your working surface. Not on the side of the counter or on the side of the bowl. Thea reason? Some egg shells may contain bacteria or dirt on them, if you crack them on the side of something you run the risk of getting that bacteria into the yolk as the shell will crack into the yolk itself. Cracking it on a flat surface avoids this.
Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2 inch) oval baking dish. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.
In the bowl fitted for an electric mixer with the paddle attachment beat the eggs and 2 cups of sugar on medium-high speed for 5-10 minutes.
What is the paddle attachment you ask? I only pretend you ask because when I first got my mixer, I asked. Quietly, to myself, while reading the manual.
Here it is:
Funny, it looks like a paddle…
So, what are you looking for in this egg and sugar mixture? It should turn a very light yellow color and be thick. Like this:
I had mine go for 7 minutes and it was at the perfect consistency.
Meanwhile, sift 3/4 cup cocoa powder and 1/2 cup all purpose flour.
Why sift? It turns your dry ingredients into a very fine consistency which primes them for being added to wet ingredients, clump free. You can use a sifter (I got mine at my local grocery store) or a very fine mesh strainer.
After the egg and sugar mixture reaches the perfect consistency, turn the mixer to low and add the sifted flour and cocoa powder along with seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean (this is what the recipe calls for). I did not have a vanilla bean so I used its equivalent, 1 heaping teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Now, this is optional, but if you have it, add framboise liqueur. What is framboise? It is a raspberry liqueur and on. my. gosh. It is out of this world. It smells like the best raspberry preserves ever jarred. But do not eat it by the spoonfuls. Or you will not be stable enough to make this recipe.
If you don’t have it, that is just fine. The first time I made this I omitted it and it was still delicious.
Then I started to notice other recipes (mainly dessert recipes) call for framboise. So, I bought some. I talked to the sales clerk at the liquor store for awhile because there are lots of different raspberry liqueurs. After getting a wealth of information she highly recommend Chateau Monet (Liqueur Framboise).
She said it is so great to use for cooking and especially delicious in mixed drinks. Other, cheaper, raspberry liqueurs can be on the tart side.
Moving on. After adding the vanilla and framboise (if you so chose) let the mixer go until all ingredients are just combined.
It will look like what you see in your dreams. Behold: an ocean of chocolate.
Then slowly pour in the cooled butter. Mix again until just combined.
Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared baking dish. The batter will be a mousse-like consistency. You’ll probably notice a big smile forming as you pour this into your baking dish. This is normal.
Place your baking dish into a larger baking or roasting pan. Remember the roasting pan I use for perfectly roasted vegetables? I used that roasting pan to place my dish with the brownie batter into it.
I went ahead and put it in the oven and then carefully added enough of the hottest tap water to come halfway up the side of the baking dish. Be careful not to splash the water into the brownie batter.
Bake for 60 minutes.
How can you check it is done? Insert a toothpick or knife 2 inches from the side of the baking dish. It will come out clean (if it is done).
The center will appear very under-baked when you wobble it a bit. And you’ll question your cooking capabilities and the ability of your oven to evenly cook. Don’t do that. A gooey middle = brownie pudding. And that’s what we’re making! Brownie PUDDING! Hence the best brownie recipe. A brownie with a twist.
Let cool and serve with vanilla ice cream. Or whip cream.
See? The top is super crunchy which adds great texture against the moist, gooey center. It is one of the best gifts you can give this Valentine’s Day.
TIp: If this is for a special occasion I highly suggest serving it with a red wine. Red wine compliments chocolate in the best kind of way. We tend to use a Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot. But, a tall glass of cold milk is always a good idea too.
Happy Valentine’s Day to you foodies!