I wanted to surprise Dick tomorrow on Valentine's Day with some brownies tucked into his bag lunch to take with him to his car show. My time was limited today, though, so I didn't have the luxury of trying a second recipe if my first attempt turned disastrous. Brownie recipes vary greatly. What I personally look for in a brownie is a crusty top that crunches as you first sink your teeth into it. I like a lightweight brownie that has some height to it. I don't like dry brownies; they must be moist but not gummy. They should not require icing. They should have just the perfect sweetness to stand on their own. Equally, or more importantly, they should not have 1 lb of butter (that's 4 sticks!), 1 lb + 12 oz chocolate chips (that's more than two large bags!), 6 large eggs, and 2 1/4 cups sugar as in a recipe I stumbled upon from Food Network's Barefoot Contessa (Ina Garten) a while back. Today, without hesitation, I went straight to Food Network's Healthy Eating with Ellie Kreiger where she came through for me once again. I have not once been disappointed with her recipes. This recipe has all of the characteristics that I think make an ideal brownie. To keep the printed bags that I made yesterday from getting an oil spot, I inserted an unbleached natural waxed paper sandwich bag before placing the brownie inside. Enlarge the photo by clicking on it so that you can see the bag's small print that says homemade chocolate brownies. Perfect... Oh, yes. I am happy.
8 ounces bittersweet baking chocolate, broken into squares (I used semisweet since it’s what I had.)
2 tbsp unsalted butter
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or ancient grains combo)
¼ cup baking cocoa
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp baking soda
4 large eggs
1 cup packed light brown sugar (Try 1/2 cup?)
½ cup plain low-fat yogurt
¼ cup canola (or coconut) oil
2 tsp vanilla
¾ cup chopped walnuts (I would have used them, but I had none.)
Preheat oven to 350°. Coat a 9 x 13-inch baking pan with cooking spray. (I used an 8 x 11-inch cake pan instead because it was the largest pan I had that would fit in my toaster convection oven. I lined the bottom of the pan with natural unbleached parchment paper coated with a little oil.) Melt the chocolate and butter in a double boiler or heatproof bowl set over a pot of barely simmering water, stirring occasionally. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking soda. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until smooth. Add the yogurt, oil, and vanilla and whisk to combine. Add the melted chocolate-butter mixture and whisk until blended. Add the flour mixture and mix until just moistened. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and sprinkle with nuts, if using. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool completely in the pan on a wire rack. Cut into squares.