To say that I am a huge fan of chocolate is an understatement. Chocolate, like music, has the power to capture my attention among so much competition and slow down my world to where, for a moment, there is nothing else. It is a sweet ballad with layers of satisfying depth just enough to leave you yearning for a tiny bit more.
I have always viewed baking as an exact science with parameters and rules by which the baker must comply. I usually like to cook by eyeball and estimate, adding a pinch here and a touch more there. For this reason, I’ve mostly left baking to the realm of the scientists who can construct cakes of unrivaled proportions, create cupcakes as gorgeous as a winter wonderland and fuse candies that can bear the weight of a ten ton truck, but melt in your mouth upon contact.
Today, however, I decided to embrace the scientific realm. I turned to Mark Bitman’s “How to Cook Everything: The Basics: Brownies” for the recipe as baked by Alaina Sullivan. To my great delight, I discovered that a simple, basic recipe actually lends itself to creativity and alteration so that I too could gracefully leave my mark on the world of baking and create a chocolate brownie rich and complex enough to make you sigh with satisfaction.
I daringly altered this recipe’s ingredients slightly by lacing the batter with lots of chopped almonds, reducing the quantity of butter, and using egg whites instead of eggs and they still turned out wonderfully. With only seven players on the team and four simple steps in the game, you don’t need a science degree to make these delicious brownies.
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, plus a little more for greasing the pan
- 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 egg whites
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- Pinch salt
- 1/2 cup of chopped almonds
1. Heat the oven to 350°F. Grease a square baking pan with butter or line it by overlapping 2 pieces of parchment paper or aluminum foil crosswise and grease the lining.
2. Combine the butter and the chocolate in a small saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate is just about melted, remove the saucepan from the heat and continue to stir until the mixture is smooth.
3. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and stir in the sugar. Then beat in the egg whites, one at a time. Gently stir in the flour and salt and most of the almonds, leaving some over to sprinkle on top when they’re finished baking.
4. Pour and scrape the mixture into the prepared pan and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until just barely set in the middle. Cool on a rack until set. If you used parchment, lift it out to remove the brownies. If not, cut them in squares right in the pan. Store, covered, at room temperature, for no more than a day or in the fridge if you like them cold and more solid.