Chewy Bittersweet Brownies

makes 16 – 2-inch pieces

Music Pairing: In a Sentimental Mood by Duke Ellington & John Coltrane

I know a lot of people are anti-microwave, but I find it super convenient for melting chocolate. You could do that step in a double boiler on the stovetop, if you prefer.

As for the sugar measurement, it’s a finicky one, I know, but really is the proper amount. Look at it as incentive to get a scale, and bake by weight—then you can just measure everything directly into the bowl!

Last, but most definitely not least, let’s talk about the chocolate. As with anything you set out to cook, the quality of the ingredients will affect the final flavor. The chocolate discs and cocoa powder should be of the best quality possible, and the cocoa should most definitely be dark. You can use regular cocoa, but the color will not be as dark, and the taste will not be as intense. I never like to be so rigid in the kitchen, but do want you to be aware that making substitutions will result in something different, so consider this my disclaimer. I use these Guittard bittersweet chocolate discs, but Valrhona or Callebaut would be good, too. The cocoa powder I use is from Guittard also, but I can’t seem to find it online; I get it at a store by my house. Valrhona makes one that is dark, too, which I think may be more readily available. I also see King Arthur has a black cocoa, which I’m sure will work, though I’ve not used it.

6 ounces (168 grams) bittersweet chocolate discs

1/3 cup (50 grams) whole wheat flour

1/4 cup (25 grams) good quality dark cocoa powder

1 tablespoon (15 ml) strongly brewed coffee

1/2 teaspoon (2 grams) fleur de sel

1 stick (4 ounces) butter, cut into pieces

1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract

2 large eggs (100 grams)

3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (175 grams) granulated natural cane sugar

Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Cut a piece of parchment paper large enough to cover the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square  baking pan. Grease one side of the parchment, and fit it (ungreased side down) into the pan.

Add the chocolate to a medium, microwave-safe bowl with the butter. Cook on high power in the microwave in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each cycle, until the chocolate and butter are melted. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. The timing depends on the wattage of your microwave. Add the vanilla extract and coffee to the bowl, and stir to combine; set aside to cool slightly.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, and salt; set aside.

Add the eggs and sugar to a clean, large bowl. Whisk until they become thick and pale yellow, 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the flour mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly to the sides. You can give the pan a tap on the counter to help it settle, too. Bake for 30 minutes until the center is set and the edges gently pull slightly away from the sides of the pan. Let cool completely before cutting.