Tuesday, November 20, 2007

its beginning to feel a lot like christmas

christmas concerts...

let me tell you how proud i was to be sitting in the audience listening to my husband perform!

...flurries in the air...

i can't believe how dirty my camera lens was! still, i love this photo of us - isn't mark handsome in his tux?

...even the desserts had a light dusting!

this weekend brought mark's choral concerts on friday and saturday nights. when he mentioned that he needed to bring treats for intermissions, i quickly jumped (again) at the chance to bake.

for those of you who enjoy rich (and i mean rich), chocolate-y desserts, try this brownie recipe. its perfect for every season, any occasion.

outrageous brownies

from the barefoot contessa cookbook

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs (i used 7 large eggs, instead)
3 tablespoons instant coffee granules
2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped walnuts (optional - i left these out, since mark doesn't enjoy nuts in his brownies)

preheat oven to 350 degrees. butter and flour a 12 x 18 x 1-inch baking sheet. [ i used a 11 x 15-inch baking dish for thicker brownies, and increased the cooking time by ~ 10 minutes. to butter the dish, i recommend using the foil wrappers from sticks of butter. these work perfectly, and can be saved for future use by folding and storing in your refrigerator in a plastic baggie.]

melt together the butter, 1 pound of chocolate chips, and the unsweetened chocolate in a medium bowl over simmering water.

allow to cool slightly. in a large bowl, stir (do not beat) together the eggs, coffee granules, vanilla, and sugar. stir in the warm chocolate mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.

in a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of flour, the baking powder, and salt. add to the cooled chocolate mixture.

toss the walnuts (optional) and 12 ounces of chocolate chips in a medium bowl with 1/4 cup of flour, then add them to the chocolate batter. pour into the baking sheet.

bake for 20 minutes, then rap the baking sheet against the oven shelf to force the air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. bake for about 15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Do Not Overbake! allow to cool thoroughly, refrigerate (very important for them to be cold when cutting!), and cut.

dust with powdered sugar and serve on a party platter, as picture above, or my favorite way to enjoy these delicious treats is to re-heat and serve with french vanilla ice-cream.

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