The other side of Love: Love is a malady, a sickness. It ravages our soul and divorces us from our wits and self-possession. It disorients us and causes acute bewilderment. We are entranced; alienated from ourselves and our dignity. This infection leaves our identity a hollow shell. We become strangers to ourselves and, when this illness has run its course, we are left without even our sense of self to comfort us. Who are we once this fever passes? We are defeated, undone.
Nothing speaks of love like chocolate and, since today’s theme focuses on love’s darker side, nothing but the darkest bittersweet chocolate confection will suffice.
Dark Chocolate Fudge Brownies with Cocoa Nibs
Adapted from Ruth Cousineau, Gourmet June 2008
Makes 16 large brownies
|2 sticks (8 oz.) + 1 T.||Unsalted Butter|
|12 oz.||Bittersweet chocolate (60% cacao), divided|
|1 cup||Brown sugar, packed|
|2 T.||Espresso or very strong coffee|
|1 t.||Vanilla extract|
|2/3 c.||All-purpose flour|
|1/3 c||Unsweetened cocoa (Dutch process preferred)|
|½ c.||Heavy whipping cream|
|1/3 c.||Cocoa nibs, roasted|
Brownies: Preheat oven to 350 degrees and position rack in middle of oven. Butter and flour a 9×12-inch pan (or 13×9). Melt 2 sticks of butter and 7.5 oz. of chocolate in a heavy saucepan on low heat, stirring until smooth. Remove from heat and cool to lukewarm. Whisk in sugar, espresso and vanilla. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time until mixture is glossy and smooth and sugar has dissolved. In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder and salt. Whisk into chocolate mixture just until combined (don’t over mix).
Spread batter in pan. Bake about 15-20 minutes until beginning to set and rap the baking pan against the counter to compress the brownies slightly and force any air to escape. Bake another 10-15 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs (25-30 for 13×9). Cool slightly.
Ganache: Place 4.5 oz. bittersweet chocolate, ½ c. cream and 1 T. butter in a small saucepan over medium-low heat and whisk until completely melted and combined. Pour over brownies and smooth. Sprinkle with cocoa nibs. Let set for an hour or two, or refrigerate until set. Cut and serve.