04 September 2010
Sometimes, it's not that easy adapting foreign recipes. This one for example: all weight measures are given in ounces, so I first need to consult some kind of converter to get it in grams. And what am I supposed to do with "1/2 cup of butter"? In Germany - and many other parts of Europe - butter is only sold in 250 g / 1/2 pound blocks. Thanks to the internet, I didn't have to mess around with softened butter and a measuring cup.
And then there's the problem of finding the right ingredients. I looked almost everywhere for unsweetened chocolate, but it was nowhere to be found. The highest cocoa proportion I could find was 80%, so I had to break out the calculator again - assuming that the other 20% were sugar.
BUT: it was so worth the trouble! These brownies are very chocolaty, quite fudgy, but not too dense and with a nice and crisp top. And in the very unlikely case you couldn't eat them as long as they were fresh: chopped up, they make a very nice addition to chocolate ice cream.
adapted from Ben&Jerry
140 g / 5 oz 80% chocolate
(original recipe: 115 g / 4 oz unsweetened chocolate)
115 g / 4 oz / 1 stick butter
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 teaspoon salt
400 g / 1 3/4 cups sugar
(original recipe: 450 g / 2 cups sugar)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract or vanilla sugar
115 g / 1 cup flour
Turn on your oven and set it to 180°C / 350°F. Search through your kitchen - armed with a measuring tape - to find a 9x13 baking pan. Luckily, I found my 25x35 cm glass lasagna dish. Or use the deep baking sheet your oven was delivered with.
To make it non-stick, butter and flour it very thoroughly.
Chop up the chocolate, the finer the better. As I'm lazy sometimes and cutting chocolate is not really fun, I like to smash the unopened chocolate bar several times against the edge of the kitchen counter. Instant stress relief. And much more fun.
Recipes always tell you: melt the chocolate in a double boiler. This is my double boiler: a saucière or small pot, filled with 1,5 cm / 1/2 inch water, topped with a medium-sized bowl. The important thing to remember is: only melt the chocolate with the heat of the steam, never in direct contact with water - or it will seize up and be ruined.
Also, I like to melt the butter first, as it has a higher melting point than chocolate. Then throw in the chocolate bits and melt them, too.
Stir until you have a homogeneous and glossy mixture, then set it aside to cool.
Meanwhile, start beating the eggs with the salt until they are almost white in color and almost fluffy. Then add the sugar and vanilla very slowly and continue beating until the sugar crystals are dissolved.
Now grab your favorite spatula or wooden spoon and fold in the chocolate-butter-mixture by hand. Stir very gently, you'll want to preserve as much of the fluffiness as possible.
Same for the flour: fold it in very gently.
Pour the batter into the baking pan and put it in the oven for 25-30 minutes.
This is the hardest part: letting it cool completely before cutting. I prefer to cut 12 pieces, they will be almost square in shape and look very nice when topped with a scoop of your favorite ice cream.