Monday, February 21, 2011

Cocoa Brownies in the Snow

You want these. I promise. Worth the calories, worth the "points," and an indulgence that is most welcome during the "endless winter of 2011."

For the record, the groundhog knows nothing. Do not listen to groundhogs. While Minnesota just jumped from the 5th snowiest recorded winter to the 3rd snowiest recorded winter, I have no interest in Minnesota breaking the record for snowiest winter ever. 3rd place is respectable. My plays have been in 3rd place and I was fine with that.

As my son house-sits one hour south of here with no way of getting home, I eased my winter worries with brownies. They're five points each and I had two. I enjoyed every second of the dark, moist fudgy interior surrounded by the browned-butter nutty exterior.
They're from Bon Appetit. The browned butter does indeed add the smallest amount of earthy crunch. The cocoa keeps the center oozing a tad and wrapping you in warm, chocolate velvet. No, they're not Italian. When the view outside my door is pure white, blowing in a schizophrenic array of contrasting directions, I cook and bake. My recipe decisions are made on the basis of, "What ingredients are at hand because I'm not going anywhere." Bon Appetit had nuts in the recipe. It's a daughter thing, but she requested no nuts and I complied. Do you think that the brownies had fewer points?
Look at the buttery-chew of the top and then the creamy-chocolate softness of the center. I'm telling you, you truly want them. Think of it as a chocolate hug.
Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter (and Walnuts if desired)
Bon Appetit's February 2011 Cover Recipe
Nonstick spray
1o tablespoons unsalted butter - cut into pieces
1-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process; I used Scharffen Berger which is an investment but worth the dollars as well as the calories)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 teaspoons water
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs - chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose unbleached flour (I used all-purpose regular)
1 cup walnut pieces (didn't use)

Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter Preparation
  1. Position rack in bottom third of oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. Line 8x8x2 pan with foil and leave a 2-inch overhang for lifting the brownies out of the pan. Spray with nonstick spray.
  3. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking uintil butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan (about five minutes). Stir often.
  4. Remove from heat. Immediately add sugar, cocoa, the water, vanilla and salt (so have your ingredients measured and ready to fly). Stir to blend, Let cool five minutes (mixture will still be hot).
  5. At eggs one at a time to mixture beating vigorously (so you burn enough calories to eat these) in between each addition.
  6. When mixture is thick and shiny add the flour. Stir until blended. Then beat 60 strokes vigorously (remember: you're burning calories).
  7. If desired, stir in nuts.
  8. Pour into prepared pan.
  9. Bake brownies for 25 minutes - until toothpick inserted comes out more or less clean (crumbs may stick to it - that's fine - you want it fudgy).
  10. Cool for five minutes, then lift foil out of pan and cool completely on rack. Cut into 16 pieces and serve.
We added a dusting of confectioner's sugar which given our present white circumstances may have been overkill.
3 pounds gone last week. No doubt due to warming weather and ability to go for nice, long walks. Needless to say, that warming trend has abruptly ended. I am down 22 pounds and if I gained a pound by having 2 brownies, it was worth every ounce. My frazzled snow nerves were quieted. Although they will not be silenced until my son makes it home.
The question posed is what is your favorite kitchen tool for weight loss? I cannot credit a kitchen device for my determination to get fit, I can thank Parmigiano-Reggiano, "caged-free egg whites" and Greek yogurt for helping to make my 2011 journey a flavorful one.
And baking once a week to stave away any feelings of deprivation.


Sam Hoffer / My Carolina Kitchen said...

My gosh Claudia, how much more of winter can you take. You deserve the whole dish of brownies, but I'm so proud that you're continuing to lose. It's especially hard in the winter I think. Comfort food sounds so perfect at that time of the year.

We're both trying to lose weight also. We hit the gym hard and are eating smaller portions. I bought smaller plates to help "fool the eye" and I think that has helped some. Pushing back from the table is one of the keys, but it's so hard when the food we (you and I) fix tastes so good. Maybe we should turn into lousy cooks and make awful food? Nah, ain't gonna happen.

Mister Meatball said...

Points, huh; so we're keeping score all of a sudden? I'll wait and see what Vegas says about that, then get back when I know what's what.

Oh, nice brownies.

And the kitchen tool's a no-brainer: That would be the 12-ounce glass into which crisp, cold water goes as many times a day as I can stand before wanting to beat myself to death with a frozen leg of lamb.

Vicki Wilde said...

I'm so curious to try these and see what the browned butter lends to the brownies! Thanks for sharing!

Cooking Gallery said...

Very chocolaty brownies...Just my cup of tea :D)!

Whats Cookin Italian Style Cuisine said...

I just made brownies too yesterday going to post soon! These look oh so delicious, perfect with hot cocoa and a shot of amaretto in it! Yum!!!

Juliana said...

Claudia, these brownies look so good...haven't made brownies for ages...and this one would be in my list to do...the taste of the browned butter must so yummie :-) Have a great week ahead!

mr. pineapple man said...

now you're making me crave!!

Torviewtoronto said...

beautiful pictures this looks delicious

Angie's Recipes said...

Claudia, my husband would love to move to your kidding. He seems can't get enough of snow. Those brownies are definitely a must-have during the endless winter days!

Anne said...

I heard about that snow storm befor it came. My brother lives in Minneapolis and he told me it was coming.
Baking delicous brownies is a very comforting thing to do when it is cold and snowy outside. So indulge!
Sending your warmth from Flordia.

Anonymous said...

I love, love your tasty brownies!! They look utterly delicious!

Good job on the weight loss too! I just lost 7 kg , also due to long walks, riding long hikes on my bike & cardio & full body work outs too!
I use a lot my blender, daily to make healthy breakfast smoothies! I can't live without it!

Sorry that I havene't been here lately but my husband & I just baught our dream house!

I recently moved my blog to Come over @ my blog & check it out! You must update your RSS too!

Kim said...

Yikes! The most record breaking winter ever doesn't sound like fun. I'm sorry to hear that your son was snowed in. I hope he got home safely.

These brownies are a much needed comfort and I'm impressed that you only ate 2. Way to go Claudia. I probably would've ate half the pan.

Congrats on your 22 pounds. That's terrific news.

That Girl said...

I made these a couple weeks ago, and I sweat I have seen them on every blog I've read since! Bon Appetit must be thrilled.

Unknown said...

I had decided not to make these brownies because, well because I don't like chocolate and Dudette doesn't like walnuts. But you're beginning to convince me otherwise. They look absolutely fantastic.

I'm sorry that snow continues to dump on you up there (snicker). I won't mention the fact that it's 72 right now and we were out turning the earth over in one of the beds so I can start my herb garden in a couple of weeks. No, I think I'll keep that info to myself. :)

Steph said...

I desperately want to lick my computer screen right now!!

kita said...

I just recently made these brownies myself and man am I in love!

Congrats on your weight loss. I think my best 'kitchen tool' is just paying attention to what I'm nibbling on and when. I really hate eating late at night but it seems to happen often. So, when I know that is going to occur, I try to have a good lunch and eat less later. (I know it's not an ingredient, but I hope it still helps!)

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Thanks for reminding me of this recipe...I'm definitely making it soon! Great job with the weight loss...just keep moving and adding muscle..that will help increase your metabolism Good luck~

Liz That Skinny Chick Can Bake said...

Thanks for reminding me of this recipe...I'm definitely making it soon! Great job with the weight loss...just keep moving and adding muscle..that will help increase your metabolism Good luck~

whatsfordinneracrossstatelines said...

Yes I want one! I'm mad, I still haven't gotten my issue! I wish I had a tool to help me lose weight, by I have tried to only bake once a week, so I don't eat as many sweets. Too bad it's still so cold there, I wish I could send you some sunshine! Hope you have a great week.

Arlene Delloro said...

I clipped the recipe, but was "points" conscious as well. After your tribute, however, I must give them a try.

Jen_from_NJ said...

Your brownies definitely look splurge worthy. I would eat one right now if I could - no guilt :)

Reeni said...

I definitely think the brownies should be less points without the walnuts! They look fudgy and irresistible - I would have a hard time stopping at two. I am so happy for you and your weight loss! Hope yous son makes it home soon.

Angela said...

Oh my goodness. You are a temptress.

Wanda..... said...

You certainly know how not to feel deprived. I can almost taste them.

rosasdolcevita said...

Congrats on your weight loss of 22 lbs! And I hope your son made is safely home. :-)

Those brownies look scrumptious! I haven't made them in a long long time. I may have to just try them (even if they're not Italian - wink wink). LOL

Treat and Trick said...

Mouthwatering! You made me craving for them now....

theUngourmet said...

I have such a weakness for brownies! I swear I could eat the whole batch of these all by myself! ;)

ChefBlogDigest said...

Kiddos will love this and its a good midnight snack

Kristen said...

Egads! I have been grumbling about our mild winter this year. I think it's time to lay those complaints to rest and be thankful I live in AZ! I cannot imagine how stir crazy you must be going. In the meantime, however, those brownies look wonderful. Congratulations on the weight loss, too.

Anonymous said...

Wow, those look perfectly moist, chocolaty and delicious, yum!

Emily Malloy said...

The groundhog does seem to be misinformed this year! But these brownies look like heaven :)

Mary Bergfeld said...

I feel badly that you are getting all that snow. Spring is coming, I promise. I think you were entitled to your brownies. You have done a spectacular job with the weight loss. The brownies look delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

Victor said...

How funny. I was going to make when I saw that on Bon Apétit! Now that you made it. I know that it is going to work.

Sarah Caron said...

I have heard so many good things about that brownie recipe. I am going to have to try that for myself. YUM. In moderation, of course.

FOODESSA said...

Funny how since I've also been very careful about my portioned food intake...I find myself baking quite a few cakes lately! Thank goodness for a few volunteer happy peckers. LOL

Love brownies and this version is so sinfully great. Thanks for sharing your calories with us ;o)

BTW...Montreal has been experiencing some very early Spring-like and unusual weather.
Pack you bags and come on over!

Ciao for now,

Magic of Spice said...

Oh my goodness 3rd worst much snow. Come hang out with me and I will feed you Spring treats, and you can make me delightful brownies :)

Dionne Baldwin @ Try Anything Once said...

I made these too and I'm very sorry I did. I LOVE them so much. We are looking at snow flakes falling in large quantities on and off today. It is expected to keep it up until tomorrow afternoon. Go figure.

Ciao Chow Linda said...

Down 22 pounds? Wow, you deserve a reward. You're a inspiration for me. I've got to do more walking.

Megan said...

You inspire me! Not only to bake the brownies, but to count my points!

Jill Colonna said...

Well done on the weight. You are so brave, especially in this weather! Now there are brownies and there are your brownies. They look so moist and fudgy and well, just perfect. I'll need to save this recipe!

Miri Leigh said...

These brownies look absolutely delectable! Thanks for sharing!

Anna Johnston said...

Brownies in the winter, brownies in the summer.... love them anytime of year. Hope the sun finds you soon...., I'll just be over here munching on the brownies :)

My Little Space said...

Never feel bad about it cause you deserved more than that. But no more excuse after that! haha.... Stay warm & take care.
Best regards, Kristy