Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Sophisticated Brownies with coffee & cinnamon (Dessert)

This brownie is very sophisticated and very easy to make. I have included my notes where I deviate from the recipe. Your call as to how you want to make them, of course.

Unsweetented cocoa powder for dusting baking pan
3 counces (generous 1/2 cup) blanched Hazelnuts (I don't bother to blanch them. Also, you can substitute walnuts or pecans if you wish)
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
4 ounces semisweet chocolate
2 tablespoons finely ground dark-roast coffee
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly butter an 8-inch square baking pan, dust it with cocoa powder.

2. Scatter the nuts in another small baking pan and toast them in the oven until lightly colored and fragrant, 5-7 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven & leave the oven on. Coarsely chop the nuts and set aside. (Note: I never roast the nuts)

3. Melt the butter and chocolate in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over low heat. Add coffee, cinnamon and vanilla and stir until smooth and combined. Remove from the heat and stir in the sugar. Add eggs, one at a time, stirring briskly after each addition. Stir the mixture until it is thick and shiny. Then, stir in the flour, salt and all but 2 tablespoons of the nuts. (Note: I finely chop the reserved nuts for sprinkling ont the top, almost to a powder consistency. It looks nicer that way.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread it out evenly. Sprinkle with the reserved nuts. Bake in the middle of the oven until the brownies are firm to the touch and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 30 - 35 minutes. (NOTE: I think that this is too long. I bake the brownies for 28 to 29 minutes and they are perfect. ) Remove from the oven and cool completely in the pan. Then cut into four squares and cut each square into four triangles.

5. Serve and enjoy the compliments.

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