Unlike any other brownie recipes I've made, this recipe calls for adding a little bit of cream cheese to the batter. This adds both flavor and moisture. Interesting, huh? That's what I thought anyway. I happened to have a 1 oz piece of leftover cream cheese in the fridge, so I decide to make half the recipe (yes, I'm lazy!) :o)
The recipe calls for pecans so I deliberated on whether to use toasted almonds instead, or leave the nuts out completely. I had toasted whole almonds on hand so I chopped them by hand very coarsely (aka each nut is chopped into 3 pieces - I know, I'm weird!). To make things simple, I didn't make the ganache plugs. Instead, I decorated the top of each brownie with 3 pieces of sliced almonds, to give you a hint of what's inside :o)
The batter came together easily. Just melt butter and chocolate (I used a 50% European chocolate). Combine with sugar and unsweetened cocoa.
Add the flour (I used bread flour) and salt. Mix well and then fold in the nuts.
I followed Rose's suggestion of piping the batter into the molds. Since my molds were smaller than the suggested silicone molds, I filled them with 30 grams of batter. Half a recipe yielded about 11 brownies.
Into the oven they go, for about 15 minutes.
This is what these beauties look like on the inside:
|Look at that chocolaty goodness! Bon appetit!|
- I really liked these brownies. When I took them out of the oven, they smelled so good. It's a good thing I was busy making bread otherwise I would have broken my "eat one" rule and eaten all of them. The aroma from the chocolate perfumed my entire kitchen. And every once in a while I could smell a coffee aroma too even though I didn't add any to it. I'm thinking that's from the chocolate and the roasting process of the cacao beans.
- When I took my first bite, I was pleasantly surprised by the texture. It was dense, moist, a little fudgy and velvety smooth. It actually reminded me of a truffle. The crunch from the toasted almonds was a very nice contrast. The flavor was amazing. It had a great dark chocolate flavor and it wasn't not too sweet (which is why I think hubby won't like them too much - he hasn't tried them yet).
- Recap of my changes: used unbleached "Better for Bread" flour instead of unbleached AP flour. Substituted almonds for pecans. Omitted the ganache plugs.
- I have frozen the rest of the brownies. They wouldn't take too long to thaw out and would be great for when you have a chocolate craving. I wish I hadn't waited this long to make these :o)