January 17, 2012

Belgo-American brownies

Brownies! Chocolate! Brownies!
Does anyone bake brownies from scratch anymore? I have no idea why I haven't tried to bake brownies before, considering how much I miss chocolatey, fudgey, American brownies. In my quest to bake more from scratch, I've combined these two perfectly delicious and tested recipes. Three days after I baked these, they remain moist, chocolatey without excess sweetness, came out of the pan without any struggle or crazy sticking, and turned out much better than I ever imagined (e.g were superior to boxed brownie mix - Sara challenge?).  

Here is what I did: I used half butter and half peanut oil, reduced the amount of sugar in the recipes linked above, used excellent cocoa powder (assumed it was a non-alkalized one), and subbed in 125 g of baking chocolate instead of using prepared chocolate chips, and increased the amount of eggs used. These brownies are rich, but not too sweet, you can opt out of topping with walnuts, but their bitterness complements the deep rich chocolate perfectly.

On a side, I am in love with Lucien Massaux butter, and the Cote d`Or Culinaire chocolate.

Belgo-American brownies
Yield: enough for a party (about 20-24 squares depending on how you cut them, 2” x 2” is good)

Ingredients (listed in order of use)
45 g butter (or ½ cup butter)
½ cup peanut oil
2 cups sugar
125 g baking chocolate (or 4.5 oz)
1 and ½ cups flour; 1 cup pastry flour and ½ cup all purpose flour
¾ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 and 1/2 cups cocoa powder (probably Dutch process); I used the top shelf Selection Carrefour 100% cacao without any added sugar.
1 tbsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs (or 5 medium ones - I think the eggs are smaller here, on a visit back to the US I was astounded at how large eggs were) the yolks help to emulsify everything and make the brownies less greasy.
1 cup whole walnuts, toasted then crumbled


  1. Combine the peanut oil and butter in a medium saucepan and heat over medium-low heat. Once the butter dissolves stir in sugar.
  2. Lightly grease a 9” x 13” pan and preheat oven to 350º F or 170º C. When it’s warm, toast the walnuts for 5-8 minutes.
  3. The sugar won’t dissolve all the way. Stir it around for about 5 minutes and then stir in the 125 g of baking chocolate. Then get out one large mixing bowl and one medium one.
  4. In the smaller mixing bowl whisk together the flours, baking powder and salt.  
  5. Place the chocolate-sugar-oil mixture in the big mixing bowl.  
  6. Add the vanilla to the bowl.
  7. Mix in, or beat in, 1 egg at a time. The batter will turn into a smooth batter by egg 4 or 5.
  8. While mixing, gradually add in about 3 increments, stopping occasionally to scrape the sides of the bowl down.
  9. When done pour batter (it’ll be thicker than cake batter) into the prepared pan. Top with the nuts, and bake in the oven 25-35 min, or until done (when a fork or toothpick inserted comes out clean).
  10. Let cool before cutting.
  11. Devour. Store leftovers in an airtight container only after they have completely cooled.

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