Di of Di’s Kitchen Notebook has chosen…French Chocolate Brownies on pages 92-93 of Baking from My Home to Yours. Thanks so much for this treat.
I like the story of how these brownies got their name but, I told my husband these were rum and raisin brownies and- By Golly! That worked for him.
These little treasures of richness really are closer to the fondant cake end of the spectrum, but luckily when baked in individual size molds you really play up the crispy edge thing that brings it closer to its spiritual home of brownie-ness.
I shared these with a dear friend who just doesn’t get my love of dried fruit. I managed to get the sultanas drunk enough that they couldn’t remember they were sultanas, and Mel didn’t pick them until I asked what she thought of them.
Yes, I am the kind of friend that will serve you things you may have said you don’t like, if I think I can sucker you into going “Gee,that’s pretty good”.
So, one of the things Matt brought back from the States for me were the pyramid shaped moulds. Now, I have a kitch streak a mile wide. I made my Paris Brownies in a pyramid shape to echo the Louvre pyramids. (this links to where I found my lovely picture) That is pretty daggy now I come to think of it.
These came together very very simply. The chocolate melting method is almost exactly the reverse of what I have been doing (generally I melt the butter first and then add the chocolate to that- same result different order).
I think the reason Dorie told us to heat the rum for 30 sec was so we could get our cameras ready for blogging purposes. Trying to capture the excitement of flambe on camera while making sure the rum doesn’t get carried away with itself really should be a 2 person job. But, I like to live on the edge.
One small grumble is the sultanas sink straight to the bottom of the mix. Something that causes presentation problems when using silicone molds like me.
These will absolutely, positively get made again (working oven be willing). An obvious substitution is dried cherries flambed in brandy.
It is just mean to tease myself like that with an oven on the blink.
Here is the recipe with metric conversion.
French Chocolate Brownies
– makes 16 brownies –
Adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours.
1/2 cup (65g) all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
1/3 (50g) cup raisins, dark or golden
1 1/2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 tablespoons dark rum
6 ounces (175g) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons; 6 ounces 170g) unsalted butter, at room temperature and cut into 12 pieces
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 300°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil, butter the foil, place the pan on a baking sheet, and set aside.
Whisk together the flour, salt and cinnamon, if you’re using it.
Put the raisins in a small saucepan with the water, bring to a boil over medium heat and cook until the water almost evaporates. Add the rum, let it warm for about 30 seconds, turn off the heat, stand back and ignite the rum. Allow the flames to die down, and set the raisins aside until needed.
Put the chocolate in a heatproof bowl and set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Slowly and gently melt the chocolate, stirring occasionally. Remove the bowl from the saucepan and add the butter, stirring so that it melts. It’s important that the chocolate and butter not get very hot. However, if the butter is not melting, you can put the bowl back over the still-hot water for a minute. If you’ve got a couple of little bits of unmelted butter, leave them—it’s better to have a few bits than to overheat the whole. Set the chocolate aside for the moment.
Working with a stand mixer with the whisk attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until they are thick and pale, about 2 minutes. Lower the mixer speed and pour in the chocolate-butter, mixing only until it is incorporated—you’ll have a thick, creamy batter. Add the dry ingredients and mix at low speed for about 30 seconds—the dry ingredients won’t be completely incorporated and that’s fine. Finish folding in the dry ingredients by hand with a rubber spatula, then fold in the raisins along with any liquid remaining in the pan.
Scrape the batter into the pan and bake 50 to 60 minutes, or until the top is dry and crackled and a knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool to warm or room temperature.
Carefully lift the brownies out of the pan, using the foil edges as handles, and transfer to a cutting board. With a long-bladed knife, cut the brownies into 16 squares, each roughly 2 inches on a side, taking care not to cut through the foil.
Serving: The brownies are good just warm or at room temperature; they’re even fine cold. I like these with a little something on top or alongside—good go-alongs are whipped crème fraiche or whipped cream, ice cream or chocolate sauce or even all three!
Storing: Wrapped well, these can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days or frozen for up to 2 months.