Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Dolly's Milk Chocolate Brownies

I've been cooking a lot of repeat meals lately. Huge batches of coconut-cranberry-cashew granola to fuel our mornings. Dinners of coconut-cilantro rice with braised greens or steamed broccoli beside sauteed shrimp or roasted salmon. Chard and white bean tacos. Brownies. Lots of brownies.

It's been fun because I'm beginning to see my blog as a bit like a modern recipe box. Just like a collection of handwritten favorites, it's an archive of the meals I made and loved. But this one is online. So when I'm away from home and I need to make a quick meal for my best friend who just had a baby, or whip up brownies to take to a Mother's Day brunch in LA, my recipes are right there.

But that doesn't mean these tried-and-true recipes can't be improved on. Take these brownies. I love them just the way they are: Rich, chocolatey, salty, fudgy. Insanely easy to make. But they require bitter or semi-sweet chocolate and vanilla. And when I was out of both on Saturday night, there was nothing to do but improvise.

I used milk chocolate, lowered the amount of sugar, and added almond extract instead of vanilla. I also lined the pan with parchment paper and then greased it before adding the batter. And people, this parchment paper move was a real game changer. These brownies, which taste so good but aren't much to look at because they are so moist and crumbly, came out of the pan so beautifully we packed them up and took them on a picnic the next day. {Side note: See that crappy i-photo? That's what happens when the sun is so bright out you can't even see what you're taking a photo of. Love!}

Much sweeter than the original, we probably didn't need to walk to the corner store to buy vanilla ice cream to eat them with, but we did. The result was a truly toothsome dessert that had me thinking of Dolly Parton in "Steel Magnolias." Dolly played Clairee, the blushed, hairsprayed, bedazzled beauty salon owner. When she's pressed to share the recipe for her famous Cuppa Cuppa Cuppa she spouts: “Oh hell, Clairee, you don’t need a recipe.  It’s just a cup of flour, a cup of sugar and a cup of fruit cocktail WITH the syrup, stir and bake in a hot oven ‘til golden brown and bubbly.  I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness.”

Yep. Ice cream to cut the sweetness. 

Dolly's Milk Chocolate Brownies
Adapted from this recipe, which was adapted slightly from:
With A Measure of Grace: The Story and Recipes of a Small Town Restaurant

4 ounces (4 squares) milk chocolate
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 teaspoons almond extract
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt -- use fleur de sel if you can, or fine sea salt
1/2 cup flour
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line with parchment and then grease an 8x8 pan (you can try just greasing and flouring it very well but be warned, these brownies tend to stick)
Melt chocolate and butter in a heavy bottomed saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until mix is smooth. Remove pan from heat and set aside to cool. Add almond extract, sugar, eggs, and salt to the chocolate mix and beat until combined. Next add flour and stir till mixed.
Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, until top is dry and a tooth pick inserted into the middle comes out clean. Do not over bake these brownies!
Let cool, then cut into squares.


Megan Taylor said...

If you had made these during our cleanse I would have eaten them. They look THAT GOOD. love!

Kate Leahy said...

Parchment paper! I'll have to try that out next time. certainly saves on dish duty.

Kate Leahy said...

I'd say that milk chocolate would be a game changer for me. Maybe a welcome one?