topped brownie

I love those days that you walk into a kitchen with a thought in your head — in this case, “God, I’d really love some brownies right about now,” and you think on it for a minute, then you give it a shot.  Then the batter looks good, and the brownies look good, and then they even taste good, which, really, is all anybody can ever ask for out of a sleepy evening with some chocolate cravings.  :-)

These are some lovely cake-like brownies that I like to eat with stevia-sweetened whipped cream and nuts on top, but they’re also good enough by themselves that I think I went through a third of the first batch in a fifteen-minute snacking fit.  There are a couple somewhat elusive ingredients — namely, cocoa butter and caramel extract — but you could probably substitute more butter for the cocoa butter and leave out the caramel extract if need be.  (I haven’t tried it that way, but fortune favors the bold, right?)

Brownies

Yield:  1 9x9x2 pans’ worth (so, 9 brownies of standard size)

Ingredients:

Directions:

1.  Preheat the oven to 350.  Lightly powder a 9x9x2 baking pan with cocoa powder, and set aside.

2.  In a saucepan on a low burner, melt the butter and cocoa butter.  This’ll take a few minutes, but resist the temptation to turn up the heat or you’ll burn the cocoa butter — plus, you don’t want the mixture too hot.  Go ahead and whisk in the vanilla, stevia, and caramel extracts while the butters melt.

3.  While the butters melting, mix the dry ingredients (baking soda, salt, locust bean gum, tapioca starch, cocoa powder, and carob powder) in a large mixing bowl.

4.  Once the butters are just melted, remove the pan from heat and let cool slightly.  Add the eggs and whisk them into the warm mixture until fully combined.

5.  Pour the warm liquid mixture into the dry mix, then whisk firmly together until fully incorporated.  The result will be a thick, smooth, shiny batter (which, by the way, is absolutely fantastic to lick off the spatula when you’re done!).

6.  Use a floppy spatula to spoon the batter into the prepared pan, and spread it gently but firmly into the corners, as evenly as possible.

7.  Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or so, or until it just passes the toothpick test.

8.  Let cool slightly, then serve warm (or warmed back up in the microwave later) and enjoy!