With all the chaos that Hurricane Sandy caused, I almost forgot today was Halloween. Nothing happened here in Roanoke. I was more worried about my family since they live in the Northeast where the damages were more severe. Thankfully, my parents in New Jersey were not affected at all. I guess they were inland enough to avoid the effects of the hurricane. My sister in New York was also not affected so I am so thankful and blessed. My prayers are with the others who were affected. Even after looking at the pictures, it's hard to believe what has happened.
Enough fear caused my county to close schools yesterday so I got a much-needed day off. I did some retail therapy, caught up with a close friend, made kimchi, and baked. I have been wanting to make these brownies for one of my classes and since I would be handing them out on Halloween, I added some leftover candy corn on top. I was surprised they stayed in shape for the most part but when the brownies were in the oven for more than 30 minutes, the candy corn started bubbling. At least you can still tell what they are.
There are a couple great things about these brownies. First, you gotta brown the butter. Brown butter always makes things taste better. It does involve a bit more work so if you want to whip up a quick batch, just go with regular butter. Second, there's a bit of coffee. Maybe I put too much coffee in there (like that's really a problem) but it definitely stands out and makes these brownies more chocolatey. They are also quite fudgey (again, not really a problem). It may seem like it's not done when you take it out of the oven, but the toothpick you poke into the center is supposed to have a little fudge on it. It'll definitely set -- it just takes a while.
Seeing as how Halloween is on a weekday this year (and will be for another year or so), I am just staying inside and doing school work instead of celebrating. I already did my celebrating this past weekend when a group of us when down to Radford to meet up with a friend. Each of us was a member of the news team from Anchorman! We got plenty of cheers and compliments about our costumes so it was fun. Hope everyone else is having fun trick-or-treating or celebrating in your own way! Maybe with these brownies?
Brown Butter Brownies
From Catalyst Cupcakes
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
1/3 cup + 1 tbsp unbleached flour
1 cup walnuts (optional)
In a small bowl, combine sugar, cocoa, salt, espresso powder and whisk to combine and set aside. In a small cup or bowl, combine the eggs, water, and vanilla. Whisk together to combine and set egg mixture aside.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. When it starts to foam, stir it slowly for 2 to 4 minutes until you see the little brown bits of butter forming in the bottom of the pan. Remove pan from heat. Add in the cocoa and sugar mixture and stir until combined. It will look and appear gritty, but this is ok. Let mixture cool for 5 minutes.
After the mixture has cooled, add in half of the egg mixture. Quickly mix until well combined. Add in the remaining egg mixture and stir until well combined. It will get thick and may look a bit smoother now.
Add in the flour. Stir vigorously stir for 20 strokes, scraping down the sides of the pan after. The mixture will be thick and slowly become smoother. Stir vigorously stir for another 20 strokes, scraping down the sides of the pan after. Your mixture should now become glossy and smooth. Stir vigorously for another 20 strokes (totaling 60), again scraping down the sides of the pan after. Do not mix any more than this. At this point you can stir in the nuts in no more than 5 strokes, or just turn the mixture into the prepared pan.
Bake for 25 to 30 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center comes out nearly clean. It should still have some crumbs and look slightly like fudge, but it should not look runny like batter. If you see batter, cook for 3 more minutes and test again.
Cool completely before cutting/serving. Due to the soft fudge nature of the cake, it must cool completely, about 2 to 3 hours.