Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flourless Brownies—Worth Trying Again

I like chocolate. I mean, I really like chocolate. The darker the better. Something just short of unsweetened sounds just about right to me. I have a great recipe for flourless chocolate cake that I make a few times a year, and everyone loves it. No. 1 invited a friend over for dinner one night when I was serving the stuff, and the kid declared it the best dessert he'd ever tasted. Maybe he was being a polite guest, or maybe it's just that good.

Either way, when I ran across a recipe for flourless brownies the other day, I couldn't wait to give it a try. How could it be bad? Well, the recipe aside, sometimes things go wrong in the kitchen. For starters, the recipe came from The Guardian, so it calls for ingredients measured by grams. I have no way to measure grams, so I used an online converter to change that to cups, but isn't a gram a measure for weight, whereas a cup is a measure for volume? I might be wrong about that, but it seems to me you can't simply convert grams into measuring-cup terms.

I used the measurements suggested by the converter anyway. I put the batter into a 20cm-square pan, which I think is an 8x8, and with the oven set at 160˚C, which I think is something like 375˚F. I set the timer for the recommended 35 minutes and went downstairs into my office where I can't hear the timer. I know that, so I looked at the clock and told myself to get back upstairs in time. But did I forget? Of course I did. I started working on something else and lost all track of time, and 50 minutes later, I smelled brownies. I ran upstairs yelling, "Oh, crap. Oh, crap. Oh, crap." I took the pan out of the oven and frowned at the blackened edges, but I didn't lose hope. I let the stuff cool a little, and I cut it up, and it turns out the brownies weren't really burned at all. It's just some of the ground almonds that coat the pan that got a little over-toasted.

So, here is the recipe as I found it in The Guardian with my converted measurements in parentheses). Correct me where I'm wrong, if you know, and I'll try this again. And I promise to pay attention to the timer the next time.

Flourless Brownies

175g bittersweet chocolate (6 oz)
90g unsalted butter (6.3 T)
2.5 tablespoons strong coffee
3 large eggs
220g sugar (.957 cup—about a cup)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
125g ground almonds (1/2 cup—I ground them myself in a food processor, and I think they weren't quite ground enough)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat over to 160˚C (375˚F). Butter a 20cm-square pan (8x8) and throw in about a heaped tablespoon of the ground almonds and shuffle them around so that the whole of the inside is lightly coated.

Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave* and stir in coffee.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until pail and creamy. Stir in warm chocolate mixture. In another bowl, mix the almonds with the baking powder and then fold into the batter.

Bake for about 35 minutes (or whatever) and let rest for 10 minutes before cutting.

*when melting chocolate in the microwave, start with 40 seconds. Stir the chocolate and heat again for no more than 20 seconds. Stir again to melt the pieces. Heat again for another 20 seconds at a time as necessary. If you try to melt it for any longer, it will burn, and you'll have to start over.


kyle@sift said...

I like the idea of using ground almonds to coat the pan...and flourless anything sounds great as I don't care to eat much wheat. Perhaps a kitchen scale is in order. I like baking by weight rather than volume for a more consistent result.

savannah said...

i am so sending super nana over her for this recipe! she's started baking and it is spring break, so maybe her years of living in paris will help with the conversions, etc. i might have to try these myself. (btw, check out ina garten's panna cotta and balsamic strawberries. we used vanilla ice cream instead of the panna cotta.) xoxox

Eustacia said...

One more reason to switch to the metric system. I should use this in my speech.