French chocolate brownies. Y’all know I’m shamefully bad about anything that I think is “fussy”, it’s an awfull habit. Even the littlest hint of something chic, and I retreat into overalls with hayseed firmly in teeth and I fully admit that the word French tuck on the front of these made me wonder what silly fluff was being applied to torture perfectly good brownies!
Y’all have to excuse me while I eat that hay seed as a side dish to the helping of crow I’ll be having. They’re so simple, so brilliant! Skipped the raisins this time to find out what the basic brownie was like, but I wanna try more with added fruits and nuts and whatever. They’re one bowl easy!
Didn’t have the right size pan for brownies, so I usually make mine in silicone cupcake liners on a baking sheet. They were in for 40 minutes at 350 F, and they came out the perfect fudgeiness. The tops have had me obssessing over them since they came out of the oven!
The crust is as thin as paper, it shatters with even the slightest pressure to expose a small pocket of air underneath. It’s smooth as if it was polished in the oven, flakey and without any real substance at all. The brownie is the opposite, fudgey without being underdone and rich enough while not being so heavy you can only take a bite.
These brownies are sex. Which means that I must be knocked up by now, had quite a lot of them without any protection whatsoever! After all, had to peel their rubber off before indulging.
French Chocolate Brownies – makes 16 brownies
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.
Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.
Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!
Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.