Barcelona Brownies

  • Serves: Fourteen 3 inch by 1 inch by 1 1/8 inch high brownies
  • Baking Temp (degrees F): 325
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  • Comments: 0

Variation: Cherry Barcelona Brownies
We baked these at the event for dessert that Rose Levy Beranbaum invited me to! I have adapted this recipe from her. They are dense from the inclusion of cream cheese and moist, and get their fudginess from cocoa powder and chocolate. For an extra creamy chocolate punch, optional little plugs of ganache are poured into holes made with a chop stick after baking. They are baked in individual molds; silicone works well because the brownies pop right out after baking. You can even use the batter to make Madeleines with.

This batter can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator as there is no leavening to dissipate.

I first tasted these fudgy delights when Rose invited me to a Spanish Food Event a few years ago!

Here's a photo of yours-truly on the right, with Rose on the left!

Rose Levy Beranbaum (left) Photo by Sarah Phillips

pecans, broken or chopped medium-coarse - 2/3 cup / 2.6 ounces / 75 grams
unsalted butter - about 9 tablespoons / 4.6 ounces / 132 grams
bittersweet chocolate, preferably no higher than 62% cocoa mass - 2 ounces / 56 grams
unsweetened cocoa powder (preferably fine quality Dutch-processed - 6 scant tablespoons / 1.2 ounces / 33 grams
sugar - 3/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons / 5.5 ounces / 157 grams

2 large eggs / 3 fluid ounces / 3.5 ounces / (weighed without the shells) 100 grams
pure vanilla extract - 1 1/2 teaspoons

cream cheese. cut in pieces - 2/3 of a 3 ounce package / 2 ounces / 56 grams

all purpose flour, unbleached - 1/3 cup / 1.7 ounces / 47 grams
salt - a pinch

Optional Ganache Plugs
bittersweet chocolate (see above), coarsely chopped - 2 ounces / 56 grams
heavy cream (room temperature) - 1/3 liquid cup / 2.7 ounces / 77 grams

Special Equipment:
Financier molds or individual cupcake molds, preferably silicone, filmed with baking spray with flour or shortening and flour.

Mix and Bake the Brownies:
1. Preheat the Oven: 20 minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

2. Toast the Pecans: Place the pecans on a cookie sheet and toast them, stirring occasionally, for about 7 minutes or until very lightly browned. Cool completely.

3. Melt the Chocolate and Butter: In a double boiler over hot water or microwave-proof bowl, melt the butter and chocolate, stirring 2 or 3 times.

4. Mix the Batter:
Beat in the cocoa, then the sugar, beating until it is incorporated. (If you are doing this by hand, use a whisk.) Beat in the eggs and vanilla. When incorporated, beat in the cream cheese until only small bits remain. Add the flour and salt and mix only until the flour is fully moistened. Stir in the nuts and scrape the batter into a piping bag or freezer-weight resealable bag. (You can use a spoon but it’s a lot faster and easier to use a pastry bag or resealable bag with one corner cut.)

5. Fill the Molds: If using a silicone mold, set it on a baking sheet and pipe the batter into the cavities, filling them about three-quarters full (1.5 ounces/45 grams in each). With a small off-set spatula or the back of a spoon, smooth the tops.

6. Bake the Brownies: Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until the batter has set. The batter will puff and rise a little above the top of the cavities but sinks slightly on cooling. An instant read thermometer should register about 194 degrees F. and if pressed lightly with a finger tip they will spring back.

While the Brownie are Baking, Prepare the Ganache & Fill the Brownies
1. Prepare the Ganache: Melt the chocolate in a microwave, using 15 seconds bursts on high power and stirring several times, or in a double boiler over hot but not simmering water, stirring occasionally. Add the cream and stir gently until the mixture is smooth and dark. If necessary (if the cream was too cold and the mixture not entirely smooth), return it to the heat until totally fluid and uniform in color.

2. Fill the Brownies: As soon as the brownies are removed from the oven, grease the end of a wooden chopstick or dowel (1/4 inch diameter) and insert it into the brownie, at 3 evenly-spaced intervals, all the way to the bottom, twisting slightly as you insert and withdraw it. Fill the holes with the ganache until slightly rounded above the surface of the brownie.

3. Place the pan on a wire rack and cool completely. The ganache will sink in as it cools and more ganache can be added, to fill in any depressions, as long as the brownie is still warm enough to melt it. (If necessary, you can set the brownies under a lamp to heat the ganache puddles and make them smooth.) If making the optional ganache plugs, allow it to sit at room temperature until the puddles are firm to the touch. Then invert the mold of if using silicone, push each out with your finger pressed against the bottom of the mold. (If not making the ganache the brownies can be removed after 10 minutes of cooling.

Store wrapped airtight in plastic wrap and stored in an airtight container: 1 week at room temperature, 1 month refrigerated, or several months frozen. Try eating them frozen or chilled if you like a chewy brownie, room temperature for a softer creamier texture.

Cherry Barcelona Brownies: Replace nuts with 2 ounces dried tart cherries, chopped plus 2 T Cherry Herring or half Kirsch half water.

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