I actually called Nanette from the grocery store today. She was gracious enough to serve as my interweb researcher to make sure I had all the ingredients I needed to bake brownies. (Josh is already rolling his eyes at my lack of iPhone and he hasn't even read this yet.) Once home, I intended to make the Baked brownie, but three minutes of research suggested Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownie recipe is stellar, so I opted for those instead. The recipe makes a 9x13" pan with approximately the same amount of ingredients. It does require an obscene amount of chocolate chips, however.
The brownies are delicious: fudgy, chocolatey, and rich. I will have to taste them again to determine if they are that much better than my usual (Steffi's brownies), but eating them is certainly not a hardship. In fact, I think they may have too many chocolate chips for my taste, so next time, I'd probably reduce the stir-ins to 1 cup.
Oops, I just realized a couple of errors. In halving the recipe, the version I used mistook the amount of chocolate. The original calls for one pound plus 12 ounces, divided (aka 28 ounces), and my recipe called for 18 ounces, divided. For the record, since I'm all about the weight conversions, one cup of chocolate chips equals 6 ounces. I also misread the recipe and used 1 1/2 teaspoons - not tablespoons - of instant espresso powder. Lastly, I don't like nuts in brownies, so I omitted those. Truth? I was satisfied with the amount of espresso powder, and as mentioned above, I thought there was too much chocolate. So let's stick with my mistakes in the modified version below.
Not-Quite Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies
(halved, to fit in a 9x13" pan)
1 cup unsalted butter, cut in chunks
2 1/2 to 3 cups (15 to 18 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips, divided
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla
1 1/8 cups (8 3/4 ounces) sugar
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/8 ounces plus 1/2 ounce) flour, divided
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/2 cups diced walnuts (go ahead and omit these)
Line a 9x13" pan with tinfoil and spray it with nonstick spray. Have I sung the praises of nonstick spray with flour? LOVE it. Preheat the oven to 350F.
Place butter, 1 1/2 cups (9 ounces) chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave, a minute at a time, until melted. Stir to mix thoroughly. The beauty of using the microwave in short bursts is that the chocolate mixture doesn't get as hot as over a double boiler, so you don't really have to wait for it to cool.
In a small bowl, whisk eggs, espresso powder, vanilla and sugar together. Add to the chocolate mixture and whisk together. Add the 1/2 cup flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir until flour is incorporated completely. In a small bowl, toss the remaining 1 to 1 1/2 cups (6 to 9 ounces) chocolate chips and the remaining 2 tablespoons flour, and the nuts, if using, to coat. Add to the batter and use a rubber spatula to incorporate. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, until a tester just comes out clean. Halfway through baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough. (I have never heard of doing this, but I figure Ina's a smart cookie, so let's listen to her.) Do not over bake!
Cool completely, refrigerate, and cut into squares. Or, if you're me, and you impulse-bought not one but two fun-shaped brownie cutters at the grocery store today, cut into fun, zig-zag-shaped triangles or other shapes. Feed to friends. They will thank you.
This is the zig-zag cutter.
This is for the truly lazy: a rectangle cutter with a zig-zag divider that yields two triangles. So a2 and b2 are straight lines, and c2 is rounded-zig-zaggy. Both cut very well; I'll have to try them on other textures like lemon bars. Truthfully, I thought they'd be fun for catering and making things look fancy.