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Smokin’ Brownies

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Increasingly, the souvenirs I bring back from vacations tend to be food. Ingredients and local treats tend to be less lasting than hats or books, although hardly less memorable. A recent trip to Maine yielded this jar of hickory-smoked salt. I had been hearing about smoked salt, but had not seen any in my local stores. The fact that this originated in Maine only made it that more compelling, to buy as a souvenir.

I got it home and immediately tried it “raw.” It has fantastic smokiness, and could practically be a bacon substitute. On chicken and beef, it was a no-brainer, on fruit, delightful. But it was when I decided to sprinkle some on my favorite brownie recipe that its reason for being became clear. It captured that sublime, smoky-sweet flavor that’s been appearing in high-end chocolate lines for the past year or so. I just sprinkled the coarsely ground salt on top of the unbaked brownies, but next time, am planning to make a caramel ganache to top the brownies, then sprinkling that with the salt. (Thanks to the Basement Baker, Andy, for that suggestion!)

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  • User avater
    LisaWaddle | 07/12/2009

    Sure thing. The recipe is from Fine Cooking issue 79:

    Rich, Fudgy Brownies
    by Nicole Rees

    Serves sixteen.
    Yields one 9-inch-square pan of brownies.

    8 oz. (1 cup) unsalted butter; more softened butter for the pan
    3 oz. (2/3 cup) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
    2 cups granulated sugar
    4 large eggs, at room temperature
    1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
    2-1/2 oz. (3/4 cup) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. table salt
    Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 9-inch-square metal baking pan, tapping out the excess flour.

    Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat. Whisk or stir in the sugar, followed by all four of the eggs and the vanilla. Stir in the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt, starting slowly to keep the ingredients from flying out of the pan and stirring more vigorously as you go. Stir until the batter is smooth and uniform, about 1 minute. If you’re using the portsoaked cherries, stir them in at this time, along with any remaining liquid from the saucepan.

    Spread the batter into the prepared baking pan, smoothing it so it fills the pan evenly. Bake until a toothpick or a skewer inserted 3/4 inch into the center of the brownies comes out with just a few moist clumps clinging to it, about 40 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely in the pan on a rack.

    Cut into 16 squares. Keep the brownies at room temperature, well wrapped. You can freeze them, too.

    From Fine Cooking 79, pp. 44

  • RegBen | 07/09/2009

    Sorry - meant re-post

  • RegBen | 07/09/2009

    Hi - can you report the recipe? It's not listed any longer.

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