It was seriously starting to become an obsession.
I felt like every blog I turned to, or almost, featured a brownie. I'm not talking about any old brownie--all I read about was the Baked brownie.
Baked, for those not familiar with it, is a bakery in the Red Hook neighborhood of Brooklyn. If you live in New York, make a stop next time you go to Ikea. That, or go to Baked, then stop by Ikea. We all know it's difficult to be within a mile of Ikea and not step in. And once you've stepped in, well, the downward spiral begins: candles, pizza cutters, sheets... I know, you needed all that.
In any case, trip to Ikea or not, the brownie at Baked has made quite a reputation for itself. In its "true" version, it benefits from the addition of ancho chile powder and fresh ground ginger. I can only imagine the depth of flavor from the pairing of dark chocolate, sprightly ginger, and a little heat. I ran across the original version a few times, and then some tweaks, here and there. Toffee and pretzels were a welcome addition, and a pared-down chocolate-only brownie was equally appealing.
Daydreams and nightmares about brownies soon invaded my life--I could no longer deal with the pressure. Worse than Mean Girls and high school cliques, I just had to give in to the trend. I was finally going to get up close and personal with the Baked brownie.
It came together quickly, and I made two versions, both omitting chili powder. Mini brownies filled with peanut butter chips, for work, and a larger brownie for two (or three, but not really). The top seemed disappointingly cake-like, and I began to be doubtful. What if the Baked brownie didn't live up to all the hype in my kitchen?
My first bite proved me wrong: the texture is chewy yet silky. It melts in your mouth like a perfectly fudgy brownie should, yet it has de la matière, as the French say. This is a brownie that can be proud of itself, and that you, of course, could be very proud of as well.
Now if only I could find out how to recreate Red Hook and an Indian Summer in my apartment...
The Baked Brownie
adapted from Baked - New Frontiers in Baking
makes 16 brownies
3/4 c. all-purpose flour
1/4 TS salt
1 TB + 1 TS Dutch-processed cocoa powder
5 oz. dark chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces
3/4 c. granulated sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 TS vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter an 8x8 inch pan, muffin pan, or mini-muffin pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
Melt chocolate and butter over a double boiler. Turn heat off and add sugars. Mix until combined. Remove from heat and let cool for approximately 20 minutes.
Add eggs and vanilla to chocolate-butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Do not overmix!
Sprinkle flour mixture over chocolate. Fold in until combined, oce again without overmixing.
Pour batter into the pan and bake for anywhere from 15 minutes (in a mini-muffin pan) to 40 minutes (8x8 inch pan), until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
Cool completely before serving.