I am always quick to offer to make dessert for any occasion. So when my sister invited my husband and me over to celebrate the arrival of her new dining room chairs, I knew I had to make something special!
One of the challenges I find with making desserts for small groups of four or five people, is that a whole cake is simply too much food. I was gravitating towards brownies for this dinner party, but brownies didn't seem special enough; we were after all, celebrating some pretty nice chairs. But when I found this recipe from Martha where you make brownies in a springform pan, I knew these were the ones for me. What I loved about them was that immediately the presentation factor was up five notches, while you could eat a larger slice than say, a cheesecake, so the left-over factor went down five notches. How could I go wrong?
These brownies were rich and dense with a smooth, creamy, truffle-y ganache on top. I was amazed how smooth and thick the topping got too. A nice change to traditional brownies and perfect for a dinner party.
For the batter:
- 4 tbsp butter, plus more for the pan
- 3 ounces good-quality unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup all purpose flour
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the topping:
- 4 ounces good-quality semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
- 2/3 cup heavy cream
- Preheat oven to 325F. Butter a 9-inch springform pan, and set aside.
- Make the batter: put the butter and chocolate in a heatproof medium bowl and set over a pan of simmering water; stir until melted. Let cool slightly.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer, put the sugar and the eggs and beat on medium speed with the whisk attachment until pale and fluffy, about four minutes. Add the chocolate mixture, milk and vanilla and beat until combined. Add the flour mixture; beat, scraping down the sides of the bowl until well incorporated.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake until a cake tester into the brownies (avoid centre and edges) comes out with a few crumbs, but is not wet, 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan.
- Make the topping when the brownies are cool. Put the chocolate in a medium bowl. Heat the cream in a small saucepan on medium-high heat until just simmering. Pour over the chocolate; let stand five minutes. Gently stir until smooth. Allow the ganache to cool, stirring every 10 minutes until slightly thickened, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Pour the ganache over the cooled brownies in the pan, let set about 20 minutes. Refrigerate until cold, 30 minutes to an hour. Let brownies stand at room temperature at least 15 minutes before serving.
- Cut the brownies into wedges, wiping the knife with a hot damp cloth between each cut.
Recipe from the Martha Stewart Living Cookbook: The New Classics