There are as many different brownie recipes as there are fish in the sea, but many of them have the same problem: they're just too sweet. I'm a big fan of that chocolatey smooth taste, but it wasn't until I started using chunks of unsweetened chocolate in my brownies that I realized how great brownies could be.
Brownies have always been a food around which I have little self-control. I'll admit that up front. I'm sure many of you can identify (even if in secret) with that moment when you realize you've had one brownie too many, and the sugar coma starts to come on. So when I added unsweetened chocolate to a batch of brownies, it changed my world and my view on the richness of sweets verses the depth of flavor.
These brownies happen to have a cream cheese swirl and a handful of walnuts in addition to the unsweetened chocolate!
A while back I came across a large stash of unsweetened chocolate for less than a dollar a bar, so I stocked up. Then, a few months later I realized I had 10 bars sitting in my pantry. What on earth was I going to do with it? I looked up recipes, but I wasn't using the chocolate fast enough. One bright morning I decided to mix up a batch of brownies. I used a familiar recipe for extra dark brownies with lime and sea salt and tossed in a few bars of chunked up unsweetened chocolate at the last minute. I liked how it tasted, but wondered what would happen if I substituted all of the sweet and semi-sweet chocolate called for with unsweetened chocolate?
For my next batch I used two bars for an 8x8 pan. When the brownies were cooked and cooled enough to be removed from the pan, I took a bite! Although tasty, the melted spots of unsweetened chocolate coated my tongue. They were good, but slightly off putting in that "I kind of like it" sort of way. But it wasn't until the next morning after the brownies had sat overnight on the counter that I realized what I had just created.
My once bitter and slightly raw tasting snack had completely transformed! The melted unsweetened chocolate had fused with the rest of the brownie. There were still bits of thick chocolate to bite into, but they were now surrounded and balanced out by the rest of the sugar in the recipe. This made them much more palatable than your average super-sweet brownie. They were extra rich and sinful!
Give it a try! Just make sure you let your brownies cool and even sit overnight to accomplish the fullness in flavor. Even though I'd never let a brownie pan sit for more than a few hours without stealing a bite, in this case, patience is greatly rewarded.
(Image: Sarah Rae)