I've been making my brownie recipe for about 15 years, and one of the most enjoyable aspects has been coming up with variations on the theme. This one has been lots of fun to develop. I've asked people to taste them (I'm allergic to chocolate) without telling them what is in them, besides the obvious of course, then stand back and watch their expressions change as the range of flavors rolls across their palates.
When you mix them, be sure to sift the cocoa powder over the chocolates and butter. It's lumpy, and can be difficult to mix in if you don't sift it. I used to sift the cocoa in with the dry ingredients, and recently began adding it in with the chocolates and butter to see of anything different would happen. The color of both the dough and the actual brownies is much deeper, and people say that chocolate flavor is, too.
One more mixing tip: whisk the orange zest and hot paprika into the eggs and sugar and let the mixture sit while the chocolates melt. The fats in the yolks take up the orange and spice flavors very nicely, for another deeper layer of flavor.
- Serves 12 to 16
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 ounces unsalted butter
1/4 cup cocoa powder
1 3/4 cups sugar
zest of 1 orange
2 teaspoons hot Spanish paprika
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon sea or kosher salt
1 cup heavy cream for garnish
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Sprinkles of cocoa powder
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Set a heat-proof bowl over a pot containing a couple of inches of simmering water. Break or chop the chocolates into medium-sized pieces and add them to the bowl. Cut the butter into 1” cubes and add to the bowl. Sift the cocoa powder over the top of the chocolates and butter. Allow to melt completely, then stir to blend.
- While chocolates and butter are melting, whisk together the sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl. Add the orange zest and hot paprika.
- When chocolate mixture has melted completely, temper it into the egg mixture by pouring in a slow, steady stream, while whisking continuously.
- Sift the flour and salt onto a sheet of parchment, then tip it into the mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly with a spatula.
- Set a 9”x9” baking pan on the parchment and trace the outline of its bottom. Cut inside the lines, then set the square in the pan. Brush sides with soft butter, or spray with pan spray. Pour in brownie mixture and level it with you r spatula.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes. Brownies are done when you can tap the center and they feel soft, but not liquidy.
- Remove from oven and cool completely before cutting. If you try to cut them when they're too warm, they tend to crumble a bit. Alternatively, if that doesn't bother you, dig in!
- If you want to gild the lily, serve with a scoop of lightly sweetened, soft-peak whipped cream. I just whisked it in a metal bowl that I set in the freezer for a few minutes. I finished with a sprinkle of cocoa powder after I'd garnished the brownies.