Decadent Chocolate Brownies- An Exploration
The realization came upon me suddenly, and I found myself smack dab in the middle of a lovely day. I woke slowly to a beautiful spring morning, read and drank coffee, visited and fed my 30 chickens and 3 turkeys, breathing in the air, enlivened and welcomed by the sea of trees beyond our lower field, the calls of geese and red wing blackbirds, the last croaks of the frogs. I ate a hearty breakfast of eggs, sautéed mushrooms and greens on homemade sourdough toast outside in the sun and then moved my body in restorative yoga sequence and a yoga nidra session in the grass under dappled sunshine and blue skies.
I have Yogurt incubating, about to have brownies baking, then out to visit with the plants and bake six loaves of lovely sourdough. Later, heading out with the brownies and a loaf of freshly baked bread, to an afternoon and evening meal with dear friends. Wow!!
Chocolate Brownie Recipe
adapted from Smitten Kitchen
141 grams of kerrygold butter
200 grams coconut sugar
65 grams raw cacao
½ tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
78 grams flour
Small Handful of chocolate chips for sprinkling on the top before baking
Or double the recipe, for a 9 x 12 baking dish and with lots of brownie love to share!
I begin to brew the magic that is brownies. I love brownies, dark, rich and dense, a little square goes a long way. This recipe is so easy and I love it because you can set the alchemy going with fire and water to melt the butter to combine it with the cacao powder and sugar while you dance around, read a book, love the dog, enjoy.
My eggs were not cold, the recipe specifically says ‘cold eggs’. The ones in the fridge were gone and I had a silly moment of drama ‘ahh.. I’m out of eggs! Hahaha’. But, because it’s spring and I have chickens, the ladies are steady layers again which means I have so many eggs. I walk over and grab a dozen from a crate holding at least 6 dozen, not counting the eggs that my boys have not yet packaged.
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
I raised the oven to 350 degrees. I need these to get done and I’ve cooked them at 375 degrees and 325 degrees. So I settle on some middle ground! This is often my way, pulling threads from many places, listening and responding to what energy this moment holds. Curious with a sense of wonder, in what ways will 25 degrees change this magical process?
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and (Medrich’s method) set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test.
Set the bowl aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
While stirring the batter, watching the flour disappear into the dark brown chocolate loveliness, the batter becoming thicker, my awareness becomes more conscious of my desire to head outside to pick dandelion flowers for a herbal infused oil.
I poured the batter into the prepared dish and I sprinkled some chocolate chips over the top. The batter is thick and glossy and delicious. It is a little on the salty side and combined with the coconut sugar, it has a hint of salted caramel. So good.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack. (I go further and throw mine in the fridge or freezer for a while; it’s the only way I can get them to cut with clean lines.)
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
I also experienced that they needed closer to 35 minutes to cook fully. These squares of dense chocolate deliciousness are divine. Adaptable to what you have on hand. I made then again recently and was short on coconut oil, so I used a bit of coconut butter along with some butter. These work well made with coconut sugar, cane sugar and brown sugar.
Benefits of Raw Cacao
Magnesium - rich in minerals that energize the body without overloading the nervous system. Magnesium helps protect the body from osteoporosis and lowers blood pressure.
Great source of iron which builds the blood and helps transmit oxygen throughout the body.
Boosts levels of serotonin which can increase of feelings of joy, happiness and a sense of well being.