Sunday, August 29, 2010

Thomas Keller autograph and Brownies

"Mom, what is THAT?'"
"It's a pure natural brownie. You know it's not every day you see white boys with dread locks."
"Judy it's made with REEFER in it!"
"It's my body and I can eat whatever crap food I want'
Transformers 2

 I was not planning on making brownies this weekend. My son requested them . When i think of "Brownies".................................

I love this recipe, but the first time i baked  it, i had a few problems, so i was happy to try them again. Plus, this recipe is all over the blog-o-sphere, so i guess i can post it .
I have to thank my "foodie friend" ( I horrible term, i know) or should i say --Gastronome?..maybe?.. but being compared to a GNOME, i am not sure is any better. 

However, my friend Walter graciously stood in line to have Thomas Keller sign my copy of Ad Hoc . I wish i could have been there myself, but work and commitments..well you know. Walter is a superior cook, with great taste.  He has  a huge collection of cookbooks. A ROOM full. Many signed with bookplates. He also reads my blog! I am soo honored. I hope one day to capture his collection for this blog.  I only wish i was a better writer.

looks like he used a Calligraphy pen

 I love the cover.  A blackboard with a chalk pig :)
"Ad Hoc" Brownies
by: Thomas Keller

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
 (we use valhrona) I used Hershey's -DUTCH, NOT SPECIAL, that stuff is horrid)
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste I used one teaspoon cognac)
6 ounces 61 to 64% chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces ( about 1 1/2 cups) I used 2 0z 85%, and 4 oz 50 %- Callebaut
  • Powdered sugar for dusting
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. At Ad Hoc, they use a 9-inch square silicone mold, because it keeps the edges from overcooking; if you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and flour it. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside
Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature. Think  cottage cheese butter
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla/cognac. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter.
  6. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

  7. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary.
  8. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.
 Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving. (The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)

These brownies can be a challenge to bake with out the silicone pan. My first baking I used a metal pan, and the edges got really crispy. TOO crispy.  So on my second baking, i used a glass dish. I double parchment the pan, and foiled it. The sides came out perfect, but the bottom was a bit soupy. So a note to my self, do not foil and parchment the bottom. Hopefully that will make a perfect texture.

Let them cool COMPLETELY! before cutting. They are soo moist, i had a hard time getting even shapes to hold. Once cut, they seem to  firm-up .

OR I may just use TWO sticks of butter, vs the THREE . Three sticks seems a bit much?? :/

These are hand down my favorite brownies I have ever tasted and baked. I love the easy production. Plus, you do not have to wait for the butter to soften to room temp.  I frequently forget.



  1. One pastry chef I met said not to use over 58% Cocoa Chocolate when baking, but I've used 72% and not had a problem with them being mushy. He says the higher amounts are good to eat, but not to bake with. I like to experiment. Maybe I'll buy the 58% next time out .... or not. LOL

  2. These brownies look really good! I love all the tips you give. I'm always looking out for another brownie recipe. Nice and gooey! YUM!

  3. The first time I heard the chocolate advice was from a Chef at a Restaurant in my home state of Rhode Island. (Old wives tale?) More recently I read it in David Lebovitz's book Ready For Dessert, on page 6. He says he doesn't bake with more than 70 percent due to their lack of fluidity and greater acidity. I've used 72% and not had a problem with either ... so far.

  4. Did I see cognac in place of vanilla? I like the way you think ;)

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