Sunday, May 24, 2015

Fudgy cocoa and strawberry brownies

I have talked about strawberries so much in the past five and half years on this blog that sometimes I feel I have nothing more to say about them.




But then strawberry season starts and suddenly I’m overwhelmed with joy and it’s all I want to talk about. Their juiciness, that spectacular red-pinkish color, their small yellow seeds that stubbornly and, often irritatingly get stuck between my teeth, that aroma—oh the aroma—that penetrates the nostrils and lingers long after you’ve tasted them.




I love them in ice cream, both types, with tsoureki or any sweet bread for the perfect spring bread-and-butter pudding, in a salad dressing, jam of course, in refreshing drinks, in crispy galettes, on top of puff pastry tarts, inside beautifully moist cakes.


One of the best flavor combinations for me is chocolate and strawberry. I love pairing the two, especially in ice cream, scooping one flavor on top of the other, creating my ideal ice cream cone, but what I discovered recently is that I adore this flavor combination in brownies as well.




They are fudgy, moist, dense and deeply cocoa-y with a caramel flavor coming from the brown sugar without being too sweet. The strawberries hiding inside make for the best surprise as you bite into one of them and their juices run out while the aroma hits your nose and, suddenly, the flavor is refreshing and slightly tart.


It is such a simple yet rewarding treat that’ll make you enjoy this glorious fruit in yet another way. It’s pure heaven.









Fudgy cocoa and strawberry brownies

Use the best quality cocoa powder as it will make a difference both flavor- and texture-wise.

I keep them in the fridge because the cold makes them even fudgier and denser, but they are equally delicious at room temperature, albeit softer.




Yield: 16 squares

Ingredients
140 g unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing the pan
250 g soft light brown sugar
85 g Dutch-processed cocoa powder
¼ tsp salt
2 medium-sized eggs
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
60 g all-purpose flour
200 g fresh strawberries, hulled and chopped

Special equipment: wire whisk, square baking pan (18x18 cm or 20x20 cm), baking paper


Preparation
Butter the bottom and sides of the pan and line the bottom and sides with a piece of baking paper.

Place the butter, sugar, cocoa powder and salt in a bowl set over a pan of barely simmering water (bain marie) and keep stirring until the butter is melted and you have a homogenous mixture. The bottom of the bowl must not come in contact with the simmering water. Once the mixture is smooth, remove bowl from the top of the pan and set aside to cool slightly.


Preheat your oven to 180°C.

In a small bowl, add the eggs and the vanilla and mix with a whisk. When the butter mixture is lukewarm, add the eggs and whisk vigorously to combine. Then add the flour and beat with a wooden spoon until fully incorporated. The mixture should be smooth and there shouldn’t be any visible white patches of flour. It will take about 20 stirs to achieve that. Add the chopped strawberries and fold them in the mixture being careful not to break them up.


Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan, smooth the top with the back of the wooden spoon and place on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs attached. Start checking at the 30 minute mark to make sure you don’t overcook the brownies. Keep in mind that they will continue to cook as they cool down. Also, if the toothpick comes out clean, it means that the brownies will be dry rather than fugdy.

Once the brownies are ready, take the pan out of the oven and place it on a wire rack to cool for about 20 minutes. Then, remove the brownies from the pan by inverting it onto the wire rack. Remove and discard the baking paper and allow the brownies to cool completely. Invert them onto a cutting board and cut them into 16 squares. I find, however, that it is easier to cut these after you have left them in the fridge for half an hour.
Also, as I have already mentioned, I prefer to keep them in the fridge rather than at room temperature, as they are fudgier and denser that way. But you can keep them at room temperature if you wish. They will be softer and feel less dense.

Keep the brownies covered, at room temperature, for 3-4 days or in the fridge, wrapped with aluminum foil, for 5-6 days.


10 comments:

  1. Wow - what a great combination! This is so much easier than my strawberry chocolate tart - and the brownies probably taste better! Thanks for the inspiration! David

    ReplyDelete
  2. Magda!!!! Those little dark squares look sooooooo tempting! I better close the window now, cos I'm just craving for many bites on those beauties :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha thank you! They look good don't they? :)

      Delete
  3. Just fantastic...both the recipe for brownies using strawberries and your photos as always. Strawberries are ripe and plentiful here in Nashville, Tennessee right now so I have been doing my share of cooking, eating and eating and eating them as well! Your brownie recipe looks terrific. Thanks

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Teresa. Enjoy the strawberry season!! :)

      Delete
  4. This was super delicious, we tried it yesterday and went down very well and pretty quickly too :) One thing we did add were some crushed walnut, it added a bit of texture

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Emanuele! Thanks for trying my recipe and glad you enjoyed the brownies. I'm not a fan of nuts in brownies, I like that uninterrupted fudgy, soft texture, but the walnuts sound good!

      Delete
  5. these brownies are incredible. thanks for the recipe.

    ReplyDelete