Brownie Bash

In case you need a reason to try a yummy new recipe, tomorrow is National Brownie Day. It seems every day of the year has been designated to celebrate something. Anything! Why not brownies?

It is often thought that brownies are the lucky result of a cook’s mistake. Rumor has it that the cook in question left the baking powder out of her cake and it fell in. She didn’t want it to go to waste so she cut squares of the flat cake and served it as a new delicacy. While it makes for an entertaining tale, it can hardly be true, as brownies are denser than a fallen cake and contain no liquid other than eggs.

Basic brownie recipes don’t contain any leaveners like baking powder or soda and they always call for the chocolate and butter or margarine to be melted. The classic brownie consists of very few ingredients: butter or margarine, sugar, chocolate, eggs, and flour. These ingredients result in a fudgy brownie that purists habitually claim are the only authentic brownie. Melting the butter rather than creaming it with sugar yields a denser, fudgier outcome.

Here are some of our favorites for you to try.

Coffee Brownies

These brownies pack a real coffee punch! They contain plenty of caffeine so you might want to enjoy them early in the day.

2 cups sugar

1 cup oil

3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa

3 tablespoons very finely ground fresh coffee beans

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/4 cups flour

8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped

8 ounces whipped topping, thawed

3 tablespoons freshly brewed strong coffee

Chocolate coffee beans

Preheat oven to 350° F. Spray 13×9-inch baking pan with baking spray. Combine sugar, oil, cocoa, ground coffee, and salt in large bowl. Mix until ingredients are blended. The texture will be grainy. Whisk in eggs and vanilla. Fold in the flour.

Spread batter in prepared pan. Bake brownies until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 25 minutes. Cool brownies in pan.

Place chopped chocolate in a small bowl. Bring topping and brewed coffee to simmer in small saucepan; pour over chocolate and stir until melted and smooth. Let ganache stand until cool and beginning to thicken, about 1 hour; spread evenly over brownies. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cover and store at room temperature.) Cut brownies into 15 squares. Top each with a chocolate coffee bean.

Chocolate Turtle Brownies

This beloved chocolate-caramel-pecan brownie is a classic!

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick) cut into chunks

7 ounces bittersweet
chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup flour

2 eggs

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup chopped pecans, about 3 ounces

1 1/4 cups dulce de leche

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a piece of parchment paper 15 inches long. Fold it lengthwise to fit into a 9-inch square pan, allowing excess to hang over the edges of the pan. Spray with baking spray.

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler set over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir occasionally until smooth and combined; set aside to cool. Beat eggs. Add sugar, salt and vanilla; whisk until combined. Add cooled chocolate mixture; whisk until incorporated. Add flour and stir to combine. Add chopped pecans.

Spread half of brownie batter in prepared pan. Drizzle 1/4 cup dulce de leche over batter. Drop remaining batter in large mounds over caramel layer. Drizzle additional 1/4 cup dulce de leche over batter. Using the tip of a knife, swirl caramel and batter. Bake brownies for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with some moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies on wire rack for 1 1/2 hours.

Heat remaining dulce de leche until it is warm and runny. Pour caramel over brownies. Spread caramel to cover surface. Refrigerate brownies uncovered at least 2 hours.

Holding the parchment edges hanging over the edge of the pan, lift out brownies. Peel away and discard paper. Cut brownies into 25 squares. Press a pecan half onto surface of each brownie. Serve chilled or at room temperature.