This week's Barefoot Bloggers recipe was Ina's Outrageous Brownies, selected by Eva of I'm Boring (which she definitely isn't!). They could be outrageous because you start with a pound of butter, add over two pounds of chocolate, a small amount of flour for the amount of butter and chocolate, a half dozen EXTRA LARGE eggs, some walnuts and other ingredients, and bake them in a half sheet pan. I've never in my life made brownies in a sheet pan, but I've never owned a successful catering business, been a policy wonk in the White House, driven a BMW (now a Mercedes) or been married to someone who was a Dean at Yale. Maybe baking brownies in a sheet pan is something one does after achieving these other things in life. Me, I work for a not-for-profit affiliated with a university, am a CPA, drive a Prius, and am joined at the hip with a romantic yet pragmatic electrical engineer. So my brownies are baked in 9 x 13 or 8 x 8 pans. Until I made these.
It's always a joy to make a recipe where one needn't worry about how to utilize the remaining sticks of butter. This recipe dispatches with the whole pound right off the bat, so I don't have to worry about them going bad in my refrigerator. Nor will I be tempted to spread some on toast or make grilled cheese. My hips thank you, Ina!
I didn't get why Food Network considers this recipe "difficult." Maybe they knew I'd be making them at the same time as my Tuesdays with Dorie Chipster-Topped Brownies. I briefly considered chopping chocolate for these, until I came to my senses and realized if chocolate chips were good enough for Ina with her up-market taste, they were certainly good enough for me and my Toyota-bean counter-non-profit-mad scientist life. So I pulled out my best chocolate chips (Ghirardelli) and forged on. Instead of instant coffee, I added the instant espresso powder, even though some commenters on Food Network said it was overpowering (we love chocolate and coffee, so it seemed like a no-brainer).
I wasn't up for buttering and flouring the pan, so I used my secret pal, Baker's Joy. I evenly spread the batter in the sheet pan and put it in the oven for 30 minutes, only realizing after 27 minutes that I was supposed to rap the pan on the oven rack at the halfway point. I didn't do that until 27 minutes in, so I'm blaming everything (including my hip size and falling real estate values in California) on my failure to rap on time. My brownies baked 33 minutes before they tested done. I let them cool on a rack before bypassing the refrigeration part and slicing into the corner.
They were...OK. Seriously, these aren't going to lead to world peace (there's a cookie for that) or even a cure for cancer, though they are tasty and chocolaty. I found the espresso flavor to be too prominent, and the texture was meh, but again, I assume that's due to my delinquent rapping and lack of refrigeration. This fact alone did not prevent me from sampling a couple more small slices from the pan...I was trying to be sure, just for your sake. I have a brownie that I believe is more ethereal than these, one which I've never shared with you but will have to in the future.
Thanks, Eva, for a wonderful pick!
I also made Ina's Tuna Salad (selected by Kate of Warm Olives and Cool Cocktails) this week. This one was supposed to be posted while we were on vacation, and I'm just now getting around to making and writing about it. We loved the dressing (though next time I would cut back on the salt and add more wasabi). I grilled the fish instead of sautéing it). I was doing three other things at the same time, so I sort of overcooked the tuna. It wasn't rare at all. I served it over lettuce from last week's CSA. It was phenomenal, and I would definitely make it again. Especially since this one gives the cows a day off--no butter or cream required!