Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Triple Chocolate Brownies with Fleur de Sel

I love really good chocolate and I love salt, so it is only natural that I seek out recipes that can satisfy both these cravings. It all began with a giant chocolate cake I made last fall with salted caramel. This thing was so good, I haven't stopped thinking about it since.

These brownies are along the same theme--lots of dark chocolate and a sprinkling of salt. My friend Erin (one of the lucky eaters of the aforementioned cake) gets credit for them. She busted out these brownies as part of sundaes at a dinner party she threw a few weeks ago. She used Gourmet's recipe for Triple-Chocolate Fudge Brownies and spread a good layer of kosher salt on top. My version uses a light sprinkling of Fleur de Sel (French sea salt), which is much stronger (hence the light sprinkling--as I recognize that not everyone loves salt as much as I do).

I made these for my friend Rose's recent backyard party, so I sliced them up pretty small. They're so rich that you don't really need much more than a bite or two, so these are great for large parties.

Triple Chocolate Brownies with Fleur de Sel

6oz. fine-quality bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 c. unsalted butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
4 large eggs
1 tsp. salt (regular kosher or table)
1 c. all purpose flour
1 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 1/2 TB Fleur de Sel or other fancy salt

You'll notice right away how little flour these is in these things, which is what makes them so good. Flour is a great binder of ingredients, but doesn't contribute much in taste. The best dessert recipes often have just enough flour to make things not resemble soup.

In a metal bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (your ad hoc double-boiler), melt the bittersweet and unsweetened chocolate with the butter, stirring the mixture until smooth. Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool until it's lukewarm. (Very important since if it's still hot you'll have scrambled eggs in chocolate.)

I didn't set up the double-boiler, I know. If you don't either just be very, very vigilant with your stirring or else you'll burn the chocolate.

Stir in the vanilla and add the eggs, 1 at a time, stirring well after each addition. Stir in the regular salt and the flour until just combined, then add in the chocolate chips.

Pour the batter into a buttered and floured 13 x 9 inch baking pan and sprinkle the Fleur de Sel evenly over the top.

Smooth out the top and bake at 350 for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a tester comes out with crumbs suck to it. Let cool completely on an oven rack and cut into bars.

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