Sometimes, it takes chocolate to turn things around. A brownie recipe labeled as the ‘Best-Ever’ should have that game-changing power. And I needed these brownies, the subject of today’s Tuesdays with Dorie challenge to lift me out of a black mood.
The day started at 5 a.m. when I managed to break a spindle on the stairway. Later, I realized, at the half-way point, that I lacked the most important ingredient in an expensive recipe- an ingredient that can only be ordered online. Then I walked to the ATM machine to find it out of order, locked myself out of the house, and burnt my arm reaching in the oven. And I lost one of my favorite earrings.
It’s fair to say I was skeptical that these brownies would be the best ever. But I had enough faith in Dorie to give them a try.
Rick Katz was the pastry chef in charge of the prep kitchen during the production of the PBS series Baking with Julia. Even though he never appeared on camera, Dorie Greenspan included Katz’s brownies in the series companion book, and in her own Baking: From My Home to Yours, and again in the baking lessons she gave to New York Times contributor Emily Weinstein, in 2010.
Clearly, the recipe is one of her favorites. And if you like your brownies, dense, dark and intense, this is the recipe for you. It’s certainly the one for me. If they aren’t the best ever, they certainly are one of the best.
I did make a few changes, substituting in whole wheat pastry flour, cutting the sugar, upping the salt, adding toasted walnuts, and using the highest quality chocolate I had on hand. But it’s the mixing technique that really sets these brownies apart – check out the recipe at the blog of our host this week, Monica of A Beautiful Mess – you whip half the eggs to an meringue-like consistency, and then fold them gently into the batter.
I deliberately under-baked the brownies in a pan lined with parchment paper (a trick that makes life, much, much easier), and let them cool in the freezer for four hours (this really should be a part of the recipe – you can’t cut these brownies until they are completely cool) before I put them to the test. And I may have had a glass of wine during that interval as well. There’s nothing wrong with setting yourself up for success, right?
Katz, whose resume recalls many Boston favorites (Harvest, Legal Seafoods, Biba) today owns his own highly acclaimed pizzeria, called Picco. And the first item on his dessert menu is a Dark Chocolate Brownie Sundae. I’m positive no one who orders it ever walks out in a bad mood.