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Joy of baking

Dark chocolate brownies

(Sheryl Julian/Globe Staff)
February 3, 2010

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Makes 30

Dark as night, with an intensity to match, these brownies are worth a permanent place in the baking file. They announce chocolate front and center, with a fudgy texture to match the bold flavor. It’s possible to take this formula and make a batch of brownies that are more cakey by adjusting the flour and baking powder. Increase the flour to 1 1/2 cups and the baking powder to 1/2 teaspoon. During baking, check the brownies after 40 minutes (they take less time than the fudgier version below). In either case, bake the brownies in advance and store big, uncut blocks in the refrigerator for two weeks or the freezer for up to six weeks. Cut them and shower the squares with confectioners’ sugar just before serving. Chocolate fanatics: The only challenge will be keeping them on hand.

Butter (for the pan)
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut up
8 ounces unsweetened chocolate, cut up
1 1/4 cups flour
1/3 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder (such as Droste)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt, preferably fine sea salt
3 cups granulated sugar
5 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Confectioners’ sugar (for sprinkling)
1. Set the oven at 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 9-by-13-inch baking pan.

2. In a saucepan, combine the butter and chocolate. Set it over low heat and heat the mixture, stirring often, until it is melted and smooth. Set aside to cool to lukewarm.

3. In a bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

4. Pour the melted chocolate mixture into another larger bowl. Add the sugar, then the eggs, one by one, followed by the vanilla. Stir in the flour mixture, then the chopped chocolate.

5. Transfer the batter to the baking pan, spreading it into an even layer.

6. Bake the brownies for 45 minutes or until the top does not tremble when the pan is lightly jiggled and the edges are slightly puffed. There may be some hairline cracks on top. The brownies will firm as the mixture cools; overbaking may dry out the edges.

7. Let the pan cool on a wire rack for 1 hour, then refrigerate for 3 hours.

8. To cut bars: With a long sharp knife, make 5 horizontal cuts and 4 vertical cuts to form 30 rectangles. Use an offset spatula to remove the bars from the pan. Store in an airtight tin.

9. Just before serving, sift confectioners’ sugar on top.

Lisa Yockelson