I like to cook, but I really love to bake. Separately, I love Tartine Bakery in San Francisco’s Mission District. There’s almost always a ridiculously long line to purchase their baked goods, but it is one of those places that is just worth it. My friend Debra lives nearby and it’s always a pleasure to wake up and grab a breakfast consisting of a pain au chocolat, a banana cream tart or really anything from their menu.
The bakery publishes a cookbook of some of their recipes, scaled down for home cooking, which I purchased some time ago but have not yet had the chance to make anything from. For a coworker’s birthday, I decided to make the brownie recipe from the cookbook. The recipe seemed easy and straightforward (always a plus), consisting of only seven ingredients.
I believe the results were rather spectacular. The brownies were fudgy, yet also airy (read not cake-like). They do not have an overwhelmingly chocolaty taste. Instead, the chocolate feels more refined and the brownies are not too sweet. Pictures and the recipe follow.
3/4 cup butter
1 lb bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
3/4 cup + 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
5 large eggs
2 cups brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350° F. Butter a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.
Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, sugar, salt and vanilla. Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.
Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Using a sharp knife, cut into 24 squares, or size desired. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to one week.