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The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook: Outrageous Brownies

A completely over-the-top brownie recipe from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook. They take a bit more work than regular brownies, but the results are excellent. One big problem, however: the batter burned around the edges of the pan.

The recipes in this book are clearly designed for a large food service or bakery operation. Garten tells the cook to bake this very large recipe in a 12-by-18-by-1-inch baking sheet. This size is usually known as a half-sheet pan, and while you might use it for baking cookies, in a home kitchen it's not in common use for a heavy, sticky batter such as these brownies. I used the pan called for in the recipe, and my brownie batter nearly bubbled over the sides of the shallow pan. The edges were hard and stuck to the metal rim with a death grip. I had to sacrifice about an inch of brownie on all sides of the pan, because the edges were overcooked and their texture was horrible. And this was after baking the brownies for 30 minutes, which is about 5 minutes less than the recipe states.

I made the brownies again, but not in a half-sheet pan, and my results were much better. Simply divide the batter between two 9-by-13-inch Pyrex baking dishes; watch carefully after the first 20 minutes of baking, since you don't want to overcook the brownies. The recipe can also be halved and baked in one 9-by-13-inch Pyrex baking dish.

Make sure that you allow the batter to cool all the way to room temperature before adding the chocolate chips. If the batter is still warm, the chips will melt and you'll lose their texture in the finished brownies.

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: about 30 to 35 minutes
Yield: 20 large or 40 regular-sized brownies

1 pound unsalted butter
1 pound plus 12 ounces semisweet chocolate chips, divided
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 Tbsp instant coffee powder
2 Tbsp real vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (1 cup for batter and 1/4 cup in the chips and nuts)
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp kosher salt
3 cups diced walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-by-13-inch baking pans.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.

Stir together 1 cup of the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture. Toss the walnuts and 12 ounces of chocolate chips with 1/4 cup flour to coat. Then add to the chocolate batter. Pour into prepared pans.

Bake for about 30 to 35 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean. Do not over-bake! Cool thoroughly, and cut into squares. Uneaten brownies can be kept refrigerated for up to 1 week.



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