Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Buckwheat Brownies

I'm pretty sure I have at least two brownie recipes on this blog already (yup, one and two), and one already purports to be the "best." I am overfond of using hyperbolic phrases, but this time round, I swear to you, I have perfected the brownie. This is the best brownie ever.

Now, there is all kinds of debate about brownies and what qualities are best found in one. I am of the camp that believes brownies should be fudgy. Cakey brownies aren't really brownies - they're cake! (This was an especially troubling topic for me in England, where all the farmers market bakers have a "brownie" that they swear is amazing but is really just dry, flat cake. I would try to explain to them what a "real" brownie is but I think it was always lost in translation.)

We just returned from two weeks in Maine with my mother, and since I had a big kitchen to work with, the sea air as inspiration, and free babysitting, I baked almost every day. And it was in Maine that I finally baked the best brownies. All who have tasted agree, except my husband, who feels brownies should be cakey. (I feel he should reconsider ever saying that to me again.)

In addition to being the perfect, fudgey brownie, this is also a GLUTEN FREE brownie. I already knew that using cake flour was ideal, but this time round I felt like using what I had on hand. Buckwheat is just as fine a flour as cake flour so the texture is the same, plus it imparts a wonderful nutty flavor as well.

Only one caveat to this recipe. I think part of the success has to do with the ingredients. Definitely use Baker's brand chocolate, and use the highest quality butter and eggs you can find. I discovered Kate's butter while in Maine and it was a revolutionary, almost religious, experience. (My freezer is now stocked with it.) But Cabot makes a good butter too, and lots of other small-scale local businesses do too. And never use old butter. Butter has a way of picking up the odors of other things in your fridge, so freshest is best, or freeze until you need to use it.

Happy fudgey brownie baking!

Best Brownies (really)
based loosely on Baker's One-Bowl Brownie recipe

1 stick unsalted highest-quality butter
4 oz unsweetened baking chocolate (preferably Baker's)
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cup buckwheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350. Butter a 9 x 13 inch baking pan (I prefer glass.)

Melt the butter and chocolate in a big glass bowl in 30-second intervals in the microwave. Stir in the sugar and vanilla and mixed until combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour and salt until just combined. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour batter into pan and smooth top. Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes, until they are just set. Do not overbake! They might still look under-done and a tester will NOT come out clean.

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