Sunday, April 24, 2011

Cleanse Lust: Cocoa Brownies

Val and I are doing the Fresh Start Cleanse for the next 10 days. Which means no: gluten products, corn products, soy, dairy, meat, processed foods, sugar, booze or coffee. I'm surviving on kale, miso soup, rice cakes and quinoa. The food elimination doesn't really bother me, but cutting out caffeine is rough.

Consider yourselves warned.

Let's remember happier times, when brownies were allowed in my diet.
These were made for the Bahn Mi house warming party.  They're pretty amazing, as in I might have to stop looking for the perfect brownie recipe.

I'm often accused of being too much of a "melting pot" when it comes to baking, but when presented the opportunity to add extras, I'll take it (Case in point- my favorite cookies are called Compost Cookies and can include: nuts, raisins, pretzels, coffee grounds, chocolate, peanut butter, potato chips and anything else that is lying around). 

So for these brownies, I toasted the walnuts- 325 degrees for about 5 minutes. 
And added chopped bittersweet chocolate and coffee grounds. 

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts (adapted from Bon Appetit)


    Nonstick vegetable oil spray
    10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
    1 1/4 cups sugar
    3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 large eggs, chilled
    1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
    1 cup toasted walnut pieces
    4 TBS coffee grounds
    4oz chopped bittersweet chocolate. 


    Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts, coffee and chocolate. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

    Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies.

    I'm going to go chew on some kale and try and forget about these for the next 10 days. 

    Music Land- I saw this band at the Alaskan last summer and promptly bought their album. It's a good transition/accompaniment to Folk Fest. "Swerve On" is a gem.

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