Every day since I signed up to receive my free issue of Cook's Illustrated, I've been going to the mailbox hoping it would be waiting for me. Well, this past Friday was the day! I came straight home, tore off the plastic cover, and read it from cover to cover. Just as I anticipated, it was chock full of interesting facts, helpful hints, and delicious recipes. But I must say there was one standout--classic brownies, developed to please everyone. I immediately added the ingredients to my shopping list. I wasn't disappointed...and you won't be either.
Since most of the people I'm making these for don't care for nuts in their brownies, I left them out. But next time I'm putting 'em in because that's how I like them!
Cook's Illustrated, undated free issue received May 2008
1 c. (4 oz.) pecans or walnuts, chopped medium (optional)
1 1/4 c. (5 oz.) cake flour
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 TBSP ( 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 c. (15 3/4 oz.) sugar
4 large eggs
1 TBSP vanilla extract
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees.
2. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to a 8-inch length. Fit foil into length of 13x9 baking dish, pushing into corners and sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges.
3. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold to a 12-inch length. Fit into width of baking pan, perpendicular to the first sheet.
4. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick spray. Pan should look like so:
5. If using nuts, spread evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
6. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl. Set aside.
7. Melt chocolate and butter in double boiler.
8. When completely smooth, remove bowl of double boiler and gradually whisk in sugar.
9. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth and thoroughly combined.
10. Whisk in vanilla.
11. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding in with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
12. Transfer batter to prepared pan. Using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface.
13. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until tooth pick or wooden skewer comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes.
14. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, up to two hours. remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang.
15. Cut brownies into two-inch squares and serve. Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature up to three days.