In the interest of keeping everyone's attention and perhaps attracting some more, I'm going to add a few new features.
First of all, if you'll visit the website, you'll find a poll. My brain is full of new flavors, but I'd like your input. So go to the website and give me your input!
Second, I'm going to start sharing some recipes and techniques. If there's something you'd like to see here, please comment or email, and I'll do what I can. In that spirit, here's the first recipe!
French Brownies (adapted from Dorie Greenspan "Baking: From My Home to Yours", Houghton Mifflin, 2006- via the NY Times)
Preheat the oven to 300℉. Line an 8 x 8 pan with foil and spray with cooking spray or very lightly brush with butter.
You will need:
10 tablespoons butter, cut into pieces
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup lightly toasted walnuts or hazelnuts (optional)
Melt the butter and the chocolates together in a bowl set over simmering water. Stir often to avoid burning. Set aside when melted.
Mix the flour and salt together, set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine eggs and sugar, beat on medium speed until very fluffy and pale yellow. Alternately, mix eggs and sugar in a bowl and beat with a hand mixer until fluffy and pale yellow. (Alternately alternate - whisk eggs and sugar by hand, just be prepared to do it for a while - it helps if you're ambidextrous)
Add the chocolate mixture to the eggs, blend until well combined. (*if your chocolate mixture is too hot to touch, put it over a bowl of ice or some ice packs and stir until it is cooled - if not, you may end up with chocolate scrambled eggs)
Gently and quickly fold in the dry ingredients until no flour remains visible (the best way to fold: think of the bowl as a clock face; draw your spatula from 12 to 6, rotate the bowl a quarter turn, and repeat).
Pour batter into the prepared pan, bake for 50-60 minutes, until top is shiny and dry. Remove from oven, allow to cool before cutting (yeah, right, I always do that).
This recipe came from a fairly recent NY Times article about brownies. I've cut down on the butter very slightly and changed the chocolate ratio from all bittersweet to bittersweet and unsweetened. When I made them before modifying the recipe, I found them to be a little too buttery, and not chocolatey enough. If you want to try them the other way, add two tablespoons more butter and use 6 ounces of bittersweet chocolate.