I'm a relatively annoying person, which is quite unfortunate for those that I work with. I spend eight hours a day with these people and half the time I'm talking about food and the rest of the time I'm complaining about something or someone. I'm sure there are many hidden eye rolls and muffled sighs whenever my voice carries over my cubicle wall (which is often, I'm not a quiet person either). I feel especially bad for those I speak to frequently and face to face since they don't even have the opportunity to roll their eyes right away.
I have mentioned this before but I have a tradition that the week before I go on any type of planned vacation (whether for a few days, a week, or more) I bring in some baked goods for my coworkers (announced with an email containing an attempt at humour and a shameless promotion of my blog). On this particular week as my “birthday vacation” neared I must have been feeling extra happy and brought in Snickerdoodle Blondies on the Monday and these brownies on the Friday (my birthday). Hopefully these annual edible gifts of goodwill make up for some of my more annoying habits :).
There were a few of reasons I decided to bring in brownies and specifically these ones. First, it was a about time these brownies had their own post. They were featured as the brownie layer in my “Epic Brownies” and are one of my favourite brownie recipes overall. But also, and perhaps more importantly, it had been some time since I brought something into work that was chocolate. Amazingly one of my buddies at work doesn't like chocolate (I don't get it either) so I don't bring chocolate in as much as I would like. But since I had already appeased his chocolate hating ways on Monday, it was time for a rich, decadent chocolatey treat to make an appearance.
Unlike a lot of brownies that I would describe as super rich and chocolatey, these ones are not at all dense. They are quite light in texture which could lead you to eating many more than you expected. This is only made worse by the fact that these brownies are ridiculously fudgy and just sweet enough so they're not bitter. They're just so good. Sometimes I forget the texture of a proper fudgy brownie. Most of the brownies I make have a bit of chew but I would still consider them fudge like. These brownies serve to remind me what a fudgy brownie is and should be. They are the type of brownie that when you take a bite you don't even need to chew, it just melts in your mouth. Just thinking about them is making me salivate. I really do love these brownies, they're something special. And my only change to the original recipe was to reduce the sugar a tad as it seemed like a bit much.
As for the reaction from my coworkers, well I usually receive excellent reviews and compliments from anything that I bring into the office, but lets just say that most bites of these brownies were followed with a deep inhale, a muted moan, and an “oh wow.” A chocolate hater even stopped by (where do these people come from?) and after being pressured into trying one, proclaimed them excellent. Yup, they're that good :). So if you love a good fudgy brownie that's light, but rich with a deep dark chocolate flavour, start preheating that oven.
I work with a great group of people, who really seem to appreciate the things that I bake, so it's always my pleasure to bring things in for them. An added bonus is that my managers have become quite addicted to my baking; so come review time, there may be murmurs of my mixer going on strike :).
Fudgy Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen3/4 cup plus 2 tbsp cocoa powder (82g)
1/2 cup all-purpose flower (65g)
1 cup plus 2 tbsp sugar (225g)
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp unsalted butter (141g)
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 325F and line a 8x8" baking pan with foil.
Place a medium heat proof bowl over a pot of simmering water. Add sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and salt. Stir periodically until butter has melted and the mixture is “hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test” (verbatim from original recipe, excellent tip).
Remove from stove and allow to cool until mixture is warm.
Add vanilla to mixture and with a wooden spoon stir to combine. Add eggs one at a time and mix until completely combined. The batter should now be shiny and thick.
Add flour and stir until it is no longer visible. Stir batter as hard as you can for about a minute.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs (this took me 24 minutes). Remember: a slightly underdone brownie is better than a slightly overdone brownie :).
Allow to completely cool in pan on rack before slicing and serving.