Best Brownies Ever

best brownies ever.jpg

These dark chocolate brownies with flaky sea salt are officially the best brownies ever. And I'm sharing the recipe below!  There's nothing interrupting the perfectly fudgy texture of these brownies-- no chunks of chocolate or walnuts to get in the way of your ability to savor the rich chocolate flavor in each bite. 

I wanted a recipe that I could make quickly and easily, and that would be easy to transport since I was heading to a barbeque in New Jersey. I came across this crazy-good looking recipe from Buzzfeed, so I decided to give it a try.  Plus, with all that crunchy, flaky sea salt on top, I knew the brownies would be a hit. And they were!  

 The flaky sea salt makes these brownies next level!

The flaky sea salt makes these brownies next level!

One thing to note.. these brownies will only be as good as the chocolate you use. So, do yourself a favor and use some really good chocolate!  What's good chocolate you ask?  Well, a few of my favorite brands are Valrhona, Callebaut and Guittard.  You can find one or all of them at Whole Foods, or even your regular grocery store.  

Best Brownies Ever

8 ounces dark chocolate (about 60% cacao), finely chopped
3/4 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder, divided (63 grams)
1 tablespoon instant coffee or instant expresso powder
1 and 1/4 cup (2 and a half sticks) unsalted butter, melted (282 grams)
2 cups granulated sugar (400 grams)
1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed (110 grams)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons salt
6 eggs, room temperature
1 cup all purpose flour (125 grams)
flaky sea salt

Prepare a 9 x 13 inch pan by lightly buttering it, lining it with parchment paper, and lightly buttering the parchment paper. (By using parchment paper, you will be able to easily lift the brownies from the pan.)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Add the finely chopped chocolate into a medium-sized bowl. Sift in 1/4 cup (21 grams) of the cocoa powder and the instant coffee powder.  Melt the butter. Don't let the butter cool-- immediately pour it over the chocolate, and stir until the chocolate has melted. (Feel free to give a taste test at this point-- the chocolate sauce is deeeelicious!)

In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, add the granulated sugar, salt and vanilla.  Add an egg and whisk on low.  Add the remaining eggs while the mixer is going, and gradually increase the speed to 5/10.  Whip until the mixture transforms into a beautiful, thick-looking batter.  This will incorporate tons of air.  It should take about 7-9 minutes. With the mixer still running, slowly pour in the chocolate mixture.  Once the chocolate is fully incorporated, turn the mixer off and remove the bowl.

Sift in the one cup of flour and remaining one half cup (42 gram) of cocoa powder.  Gently fold in the flour and cocoa powder with a rubber spatula until they're fully incorporated.  Pour the mixture into the prepared baking pan.  Smooth the top so that the brownie batter is evenly spread across the pan.

Bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from the oven and bang the pan against the table a couple of times. Bake again for an additional 20-25 minutes.  (Total bake time is 40-45 minutes.) A toothpick inserted in should come out crumbly with the mix.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a cooling rack. Use a serrated knife to cut. 

Serve to friends, and have them love you and ask them to make these brownies again and again.

Recipe adapted from Buzzfeed Tasty.  Their video is awesome-- watch it here.

 

 

 

Bake from Scratch 2018's "Baker's Dozen"

I am incredibly honored that Bake from Scratch named me as one of their 2018 Baker's Dozen.  The feature is in the July/August issue, on newsstands now.  It feels amazing to be in such awesome company of people and brands that I admire.  I hope you get a chance to check out this awesome magazine!

bake from scratch 2018 baker's dozen.jpg
bake from scratch feature .JPG

Beignet Recipe + The Chew Video

'Foodie in New York' food blogger Vallery Lomas makes beignets! For complete recipes, go to TheChew.com From the June 18, 2018 episode of The Chew.

Hello!  Thanks to everyone who tuned in to watch me on The Chew!  If you missed it, there's a clip in the video above.  You can also watch the full segment by clicking here (starting at the 27:50 mark).

I actually made my beignet recipe again yesterday!  This recipe takes me back to chilly Saturday mornings spent ordering beignets and cafe au lait (mixed with a little hot chocolate).  "Coffee Call"-- Baton Rouge's version of "Cafe du Monde"-- was a favorite spot for my friends and I to meet up in high school to enjoy the pillowy fried dough. I always ended up wearing a considerable amount of powdered sugar by the time I left--there was no escaping the clingy white powder.  Even though there were heaps of powdered sugar on the beignets, there were little shakers on the cafe tables willed with even more powdered sugar, and I'd always add more.

homemade beignets.jpg

This recipe is unique because the dough uses evaporated milk.  The dough is also enriched with egg, melted shortening and sugar.  Here are three tips to being successful with this recipe:

1. Monitor the temperature of the oil.  The oil should be as close to 370 F as possible throughout the frying process.  Too cold oil and your beignets will be greasy. Too hot and they'll brown before they're cooked on the inside!  Get a thermometer and only friend when the temp. is right in the 370 range.

2. Use enough flour when rolling it out.  The dough is a "sticky dough."  If you handle it without enough flour, it will become a sticky mess!  A dough scraper (or large spatula) can help you transfer the dough easily.  Before rolling it out, be SUPER generous with the flour--both under the dough and on top of the dough.  Generously flour the surface, turn the dough on to the surface, and then generously flour the top of the dough. Roll the dough, cut it, then transfer each square to a heavily floured area.  (I noticed that if I don't separate the squares, they will continue to rise while I'm frying, and they will all stick together.)

3.  Once in the oil, flip after 15 seconds, and keep flipping during the first minute.  This prevents the beignets from ballooning too quickly.

With those three tips, I'm positive that anyone can be successful making this recipe!  Keep the oil temperature steady, use lots of flour, and flip those beignets!  (Sticky doughs can be scary, but they make for some of the lightest pastries!)

 Be very generous with the flour. Otherwise, the sticky dough will get stuck!

Be very generous with the flour. Otherwise, the sticky dough will get stuck!

 Once the squares are cut, seperate them and place in a heavily=floured spot. 

Once the squares are cut, seperate them and place in a heavily=floured spot. 

Homemade Beignets

1 and 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
3/4 cup warm water (6 ounces)
1/3 cup granulated sugar (67 grams)
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
3 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (455 grams) (divided, plus extra for dusting)
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening (melted)
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar (for dusting)
Canola oil (for frying, plus extra for greasing)

Grease a large bowl with oil, set aside. Line a large pan with paper towels and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add yeast, water and sugar. Hand whisk to combine and set aside to bloom, about 5-10 minutes.

To the bloomed mixture, add evaporated milk, and egg, and whisk to combine. Add salt and 1 and 3/4 cups flour. Using a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook attachment, mix on level 3/10 until combined. Add shortening and remaining flour, and knead on level 3/10 until dough is smooth, about 4-5 minutes.

Using a dough scraper, transfer dough into prepared bowl. Cover with plastic or towel and set aside until it doubles in size, about 2 hours.

In a large Dutch oven or deep fryer, preheat 4-inches of oil to 370ºF.

On a clean workspace dusted with flour, roll out dough to a 1/4-inch thickness, dusting with flour as needed. Cut the dough into 3-inch squares and carefully transfer into the oil. After dropping the squares in the oil, flip after 15 seconds and continue to flip every 15 seconds for the first minute or so. This will prevent a "hump" from forming. Fry until they are golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes. Transfer them to a paper towel, dust generously with confectioners' sugar and serve immediately with cafe au lait. 

Recipe also may be found here

beignet recipe.jpg