As much as I love ice cream, the prospect of running to the freezer to stir frozen custard every twenty or so minutes as I do not own an ice cream machine and will not be purchasing one anytime soon made me turn to Ms Greenspan's French Chocolate Brownies instead.
How could something so American be French? Well, the story goes that Ms Greenspan was making fondant for dessert. She had the flash of inspiration to throw in some flambeed raisins to the batter, and came up with something that her French guests happily mistook for brownies.
This is my second sojourn in fondant cakes. The first incarnation on this blog appeared last April's fools as the gooey chocolate lava cake also called a fondant au chocolat:
Looking at the fondant au chocolat above, you can just imagine how intensely creamy this would be when baked as a brownie.
The crisp exterior crackles when cut and reveals an exquisitely fudgy centre:
As for the flambeed raisins and nuts? I skipped them. I'm a bit of a brownie purist and think that large chunks of nuts, cream cheese, marshmallows and other frills are excessive to the point of being gaudy. Rather than extending my ingredients list, I would rather upgrade quality. Use Callebaut chocolate, please, and leave the ubiquitous Baker's brand to gather dust on grocery shelves..
- Thanks, Dolores, for hosting this week's event. Please excuse that I am choosing a past recipe.
- Hardcore brownie traditionalists will specify unsweetened chocolate only - a stipulation that I find results in a one-dimensional taste and far too limiting.
- A thin, crackly crust can be achieved by not beating the eggs.
- Stir the brownie batter as little as possible for a fudgy result.
- Brownies are always better slightly underbaked. Take it out when there a tester inserted into the centre pulls out with lots of moist crumbs. If it pulls out with batter on it, then a little more baking is needed.
- The higher the cocoa percentage, the quicker the brownie will bake.
- Brownie failed to set? Don't worry - you are on your way to the fudgiest bars ever. Cool the pan to room temperature, cover with foil or Saran, then pop in the fridge for a few hours to overnight.