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  1. Thursday, February 14

    My New Favorite Cake Pan AND Brownie Recipe

    Happy Valentine’s Day! You know I couldn’t let this day go buy without a little chocolate, right?

    Before we get to the chocolate, though, I have a question. Why has no one ever told me how great cake pans with super square edges are? My sister Anne’s 8×8-inch baking pan has those super right-angled edges. Cate’s giraffe birthday cake this year was cut from an 8-inch square cake. I borrowed Anne’s cake pan knowing the squared-off edges would work better for cutting the pieces for the cake. Well, the pan worked fabulously for the cake…and then, last week, I used it for brownies and loved it! I had to return the pan, but you can bet your bottom dollar I will be buying one of my own, in the 8″x8″ and 9″x13″ sizes!

    On to the chocolate. I tried Ruth Reichl’s “A Better Brownie” recipe last week. Awesome recipe, people. Nate, who does not have a sweet tooth, said to me that night, “Jane, these brownies are dangerous.” If you’ve got Nate jonesing for a dessert item, you know it’s good. They are super chocolatey and moist but still light in weight and texture. Such a great combination of qualities that you rarely find in a brownie. (PS…Ruth has lots of “How To Make a Better XXX” recipes on the Gilt Taste website. Definitely a good read!)

    I’m putting the recipe here because in the past when I’ve simply linked to recipes, I’ve run the risk of the links disappearing for various reasons and forever losing recipes I love. Not that Ruth Reichl is going anywhere anytime soon…but who knows what those pesky links will do! I didn’t change anything about the recipe and I have absolutely nothing to add. Except that the recipe works beautifully as written.

    Ruth Reichl's "A Better Brownie"
     
    Author:
    Ingredients
    • ⅔ cup (5 ounces) unsalted high-fat butter (like European or European-style butters)
    • 5 ounces unsweetened excellent chocolate
    • 2 cups sugar
    • 2 teaspoons best-quality vanilla extract
    • 4 farm fresh organic eggs (Jane note: my eggs were not farm fresh, everything was fine!)
    • ½ teaspoon sea salt
    • 1 cup all-purpose white flour, sifted (Jane note: I just now realized I forgot to sift the flour - whoops!)
    Instructions
    1. Butter a 9x9 square pan and line the bottom with parchment paper. Butter the bottom again and lightly dust the pan with cocoa powder.
    2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
    3. Melt the chocolate and the butter in a small saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly until the mixture is smooth and glossy. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.
    4. Beat the eggs and salt in a stand mixer. Add the sugar and beat on high for about 10 minutes, until the mixture has turned quite white. Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, beating on low until just mixed.
    5. Gently stir in the flour until it just disappears.
    6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, place in the middle of the oven and immediately turn the temperature down to 350 degrees. Bake for 40 minutes; the brownies will be quite fudgy and a toothpick should come out not quite clean. Cool on a rack.
    7. Invert the pan, remove the parchment paper and invert again onto a cutting surface. Cut into squares.