Monday, October 15, 2012

Ad Hoc Brownies

Who doesn't like a brownie? If you don't, then that makes me a little sad.

I'm assuming you are still reading, so my second question is, are you an edge or middle person? Some people like the inside part of the brownies. Maybe you fancy the piece where the brownie is extra moist, super soft, chewy, sticky & has a chance to be a little underdone.

But I fancy an edge, and if I get really lucky, I snag a corner. Nobody puts this baby in a corner, unless I've got a corner brownie to keep me happy. Have you heard of this pan? It was my Christmas present a couple years ago, & the most expensive pan I own. It is also worth every penny.

So when I received my new Thomas Keller book Ad Hoc at Home, I was super excited to try the brownie recipe. Chef Keller uses a 9 inch silicon mold, which I might use if I was making brownies to please everybody. But right now, momma needs an edge brownie, and that's just what I'm gonna do.

Ad Hoc Brownies

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter (cut into 1 tablespoon pieces)
3 large eggs
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract
6 ounces 61-64% chocolate (chopped into chip-sized pieces, about 1 1/2 cups)
Powdered sugar for dusting

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Sift together the flour, cocoa powder & salt.  Set aside.

Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat & put the remaining butter in a medium sized bowl to the side. 
This butter is patiently waiting

Pour the melted butter over the bowl of butter and stir until creamy. 
Melted butter over cooled butter

Using a paddle attachment, mix together the eggs & sugar on medium speed for three minutes - the mixture should be thick & pale. Add the vanilla. On low speed add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/3 of the butter and continue to alternate. 

Thick & pale...this might describe someone I know, but I'm not saying
Add the chocolate and mix to combine. 

Note: it says the batter can be stored up to 1 week. I've never in my life made batter and NOT baked it immediately, but you never know.

Spread batter evenly in the pan. 

The batter is a little challenging to get in this pan, but well worth it. 
Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean. Cool in the pan until the brownies are a bit warmer than room temperature. Run a knife through the edges, invert the pan. Cut into 12 rectangles & dust the tops with powdered sugar before serving. 

Store in an airtight container for up to two days. 

These brownies are super delicious and well buttery. If you're going to splurge with these guys, buy the better butter. Trust me, it makes a difference and a few bucks goes a long way. Below are some pictures of the complicated clean-up process. It's hard to be on the dish washing crew sometimes. Enjoy!
Clean up is easy

This is my sous chef, actually I am the sous chef. 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Hail State

I've never been one to have school spirit, and that is a gross understatement. But now, I am a Mississippi State bulldog fan! My cousin, #15, Dak Prescott is a freshman quarterback attending MS State. If you know me, you are aware I know nothing about football. Yet, I found myself at work using the phrase, "dual threat" when speaking of Dak. I've learned a thing or two this football season, so let's recap.

It's a long way to Mississippi from Central Texas, so we stop in Shreveport to settle down, rest & meet Aunt Peggy, Dak's mom, then it's Mississippi bound. We've been to two games and headed back for two more before the end of the season. It's loud, crazy, full of cowbells and a total blast.
We went to the season opener in Starkville, and were there to see Dak's first SEC touchdown. Here's the proof.

I've learned a few things on these road trips. 
1. You can't buy your own cowbell, it's considered bad luck.
2. We don't say "Ole Miss" in Starkville. It's called, "the school up north." The bulldogs are THE Mississippi school.
3. Dak can run the ball. 
4. Hotel pools can turn your navy colored bathing suit gray. No, I will not post a picture.
5. Ed makes a mess at a continental breakfast.
6. Bring cash for parking, duh. Actually double duh. 
7. The iPad is the greatest investment we've made in recent history. As Derek says, "we invested in our sanity."
8. You get what you pay for when it comes to hotels. Enough said. 
9. I feel a little special when pizza is delivered poolside at a hotel. Big pimpin' baby. 
10. Annabelle says "Ont" not "Ant" when saying Aunt Peggy. 
11. Mississippi State football games are a blast! We've had the best time. 

The man we are there to see #15 - Intensity baby!

Ed making friends in the stands

Ed & myself enjoying the Jackson State game

Family shot after the game

Stopping at the Mississippi/Louisiana State Line

Ed & myself in front of the mighty Mississippi

Aunt Peggy & Annabelle aka 2 of the biggest Bulldog fans

Look at that form! Hail State.