Orange Brownies

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The New York Times recipe’s name for these brownies is “supernatural,” and after tasting them, I’m inclined to agree!  The addition of orange zest is my own touch, but I happen to love the combination of chocolate and orange in chocolate bars, so why not orange-flavored brownies?

Update: I discovered that if you drizzle key lime cream cheese glaze over these brownies, they become even more delicious.

Original recipe

Orange Brownies
Adapted from Julia Moskin in the New York TImes

Yield: 15 large or 24 small brownies

  • 16 tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar (such as muscovado) OR 1 cup granulated sugar+generous dollop of molasses
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons citrus zest (I used the zest from 2 cuties, but an orange or even a lemon should be fine)
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts OR 3/4 cup whole walnuts (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF.  Butter a 9″ x 13″ baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper.
  2. In the top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter, chocolate, and sugars together.  (Actually, I melted everything together in a small non-stick pot over very low heat, but that runs the risk of burning the chocolate.)  If using just granulated sugar plus molasses, you’ll add the molasses in a later step.  Don’t worry if the mixture looks somewhat grainy at this stage.
  3. Cool mixture slightly.
  4. While it’s cooling, whisk eggs in a large bowl or mixer.  Whisk in molasses, if using.
  5. Whisk in salt and vanilla.
  6. Whisk in chocolate mixture and stir in zest.
  7. Fold in flour just until combined.  (Don’t worry about over-mixing if you’re using gluten-free flour.)  If using chopped walnuts, stir them in.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan.  If using whole walnuts, arrange on top of batter.
  9. Bake 35-40 minutes, or until shiny and beginning to crack on top.
  10. Cool in pan on rack.  The brownies will be a lot easier to cut and handle if you cool them completely first.  Of course, they also taste great warm if you don’t mind using a spoon to help scoop out portions!
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Pumpkin Swirl Brownies

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These brownies turn out very moist and delicious, plus swirling the pumpkin and chocolate batters together is fun.

Original recipe

 

Pumpkin Swirl Brownies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 16 brownies

  • 8 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 2 cups gluten-free OR all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2-1 3/4 cups sugar, depending on how sweet you want them
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1-2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

 

  1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Butter a 9″ square baking pan or dish. Cut a length of parchment that will cover the bottom and two sides (makes it much easier to remove), and line the pan with it. Butter the lining as well.
  2. Melt chocolate and butter in a heatproof bowl in a microwave or over a pan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until smooth.
  3. Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; beat until fluffy and well combined, 3-5 minutes.
  4. Beat in baking powder, cayenne, and salt.
  5. Beat in flour.
  6. Pour a little over half of batter (about two cups plus a few tablespoons) into a separate bowl and stir chocolate mixture into it.  You want the chocolate and pumpkin batters to be about the same consistency so they’re easier to swirl together.
  7. In other bowl, stir in the pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  8. Transfer half of chocolate batter to prepared pan, smoothing top with a rubber spatula.
  9. Top with half of pumpkin batter.
  10. Repeat to make one more chocolate layer and one more pumpkin layer. Work quickly so batters don’t set.
  11. With a small spatula or a table knife, gently swirl the two batters to create a marbled effect. Be sure to get your knife all the way to the bottom of the pan.
  12. Bake until set, 45-48 minutes if using gluten free flour, or 40-45 minutes if using normal flour.
  13. Let cool in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.

Belgian Brownie Cakelets

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Back in undergrad, our biology TA’s would reward us after each stressful midterm and final exam with delicious, dense, brownie cakelets.  This recipe reminds me a lot of those little cakes and the happiness I felt when eating them.

As a note, Smitten Kitchen suggests replacing the regular flour with cocoa powder but observes that the tops of the cakelets lose their shiny finish.  I used gluten-free flour and my cakelets stayed shiny.

Original recipe

Belgian Brownie Cakelets
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Yield: 12 cakelets

  • 7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 14 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon gluten-free flour OR cocoa powder OR all-purpose flour

 

  1. Place chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl. Either over a saucepan of simmering water or in the microwave in 15- to 30-second bursts, stirring frequently, melt the two together.
  2. Remove the bowl from heat and whisk in sugar, which should cool the mixture down significantly.
  3. Whisk in salt, then eggs, one at a time.
  4. Stir in flour.
  5. Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. The batter will thicken a bit as it stands.
  6. Heat oven to 325°F.
  7. Either coat a 12-cup muffin tin with nonstick spray or line it with cupcake papers.
  8. Spoon batter halfway into each cup and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of cakelets comes out batter-free. (Fudgy crumbs are to be expected.)
  9. Let cool on a rack for 5 to 10 minutes before unmolding. Puffed tops will fall as they cool.