Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Classic Brownies

I credit Cook's Illustrated magazine for this brownie recipe. The better the chocolate, the better the brownie. Be sure to use cake flour as opposed to all purpose flour, this produces a very tender brownie.

1 cup (4 oz) pecans or walnuts, rough chopped (optional)
1 1/4 cups (5oz) cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 Tbs (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 oz) sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tbs vanilla extract

1. Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325F. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into the corners and up the sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of baking pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet. spray foil lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

2. If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.

3. Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in a medium bowl; set aside.

4. Melt chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber scraper until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

5. Transfer batter to prepared pan; using rubber scraper, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. sprinkle toasted nuts evenly over batter and bake until toothpick inserted into center of brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2 inch squares and serve.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Roasted Tomato and Black Bean Soup

I found this recipe in Readers Digest (11/2009). It is from Ellie Krieger's So Easy: Luscious, Healthy Recipes for Every Meal of the Week.

7 medium tomatoes, quartered
1 large onion, cut into large pieces
3 garlic cloves peeled
2 Tbs olive oil
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
5 cups low sodium chicken broth
2 (15.5 oz) cans black beans (low sodium)
1 1/2 tsp cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp Tabasco Sauce
1/4 cup non fat sour cream
1/4 cup chopped cilantro

Preheat oven to 375F. Toss tomatoes, onion, and garlic with oil, 1/2t salt, 1/4t pepper in a large bowl, then transfer to baking sheet. Roast until garlic has softened, onions have browned, and tomatoes have collapsed, 40 minutes, stirring once after 20 minutes.

Transfer roasted vegetable mixture to a 4 quart saucepan. Add broth, beans, cumin, chili powder, and remaining s&p. Bring to boil, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes.

Remove from heat and blend until smooth with immersion blender. Stir in hot sauce. Garnish each serving with a dollop of sour cream and a sprinkle of cilantro.