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Once upon a time, there was a woman who diligently read the food section of the LA Times each Wednesday. Even though it was shamefully skimpy and often featured wine articles she didn’t care about, she still looked forward to reading the stories, drooling over the recipes, and lusting over the gorgeous photos. One day she spied a recipe for “Midnight Chocolate Brownie Bites,” dense and fudgy chocolate brownies flavored with orange. These sounded divine, so she clipped the recipe and vowed to make them soon.
A few weeks later she planned a picnic with friends. Aha, she thought, the perfect opportunity to make those delicious brownies. She made the recipe diligently, but about halfway through, she paused. The recipe called for chocolate and butter to be melted together, then sugar was added, then eggs, then dry ingredients. She thought this methodology was suspect, and that the sugar should be whisked with the eggs instead of being added separately. However, in the end she deferred to the recipe–after all, it was published! Surely it wouldn’t be wrong.
How wrong it was. The brownies, although tasty, came out a crumbly, grainy mess. They resembled several inedible, unappetizing things.
One minor change in method resulted in majorly disappointing brownies.
Not to be defeated, she made the brownies again the next week. This time, she whisked the sugar and eggs together before adding them to the chocolate. Success! The brownies were moist and fudgy, with a rich interior and a crisp top. The difference was obvious:
I would like to say the moral of this story is something along the lines of “believe in yourself” or “listen to your heart” or “every beast is just a handsome prince waiting to emerge, blah blah happily ever after,” but the truth is, I just really hate to be defeated by recipes, especially when I know I’m right, and also…I like brownies.
Here is the modified Chocolate-Orange Brownie recipe. I recommend eating them warm, right out of the oven, with a tall glass of milk. You will NOT be disappointed.
- 1/2 cup butter (1 stick)
- 1/2 pound bittersweet chocolate
- 3/4 cup brown sugar (packed)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tbsp orange juice
- zest of one orange
- 2 eggs
- 1/4 cup best-quality cocoa
- 1/4 cup flour
- 1/8 tsp salt
- 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
- Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8-inch-square baking dish with aluminum foil, leaving a 1-inch overhang. Lightly spray the bottom and sides of the foil with nonstick cooking spray.
- Melt the butter and bittersweet chocolate in a large microwave-safe bowl. Whisk together the eggs and the brown sugar in a separate bowl, then add the mixture to the chocolate. The mixture will be thickened at this point.
- Stir in the vanilla, orange zest, and orange juice.
- Sift together the cocoa, flour and salt, then stir the flour mixture into the batter until blended. Fold in the mini chocolate chips.
- Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, smoothing the top. Bake for about 35 minutes, until puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center emerges with a few moist crumbs. Do not overbake. Cool while still in the pan, on a wire rack.