Flourless Bittersweet Brownies

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Sometimes, I just need to shove some chocolate into my face.

It feels like more than just a craving. It’s a necessity. Without it I go through withdrawals, getting easily disoriented and inexplicably anxious. It’s gotten so bad that after tearing apart my kitchen without finding so much as a single chocolate chip, I’ve sprinted out into the rain at one in the morning to the 24-hour store just to pick up a couple chocolate bars. (My roommate at the time hesitantly joined me, more out of fear of my chocolate mania than out of solidarity.)

brownie mise melted chocolate

Chocolate isn’t just delicious, people. It runs through my veins.

So if you’re like me, then you know most brownies just don’t make the cut. They’re more sweet than chocolatey; or more cake than brownie. And I’m officially done with those. Because when you can have these rich, chewy, decadently dark chocolate brownies, there’s no point wasting your taste buds on anything less.

eggs and sugar ribbons

Did I mention these are flourless? There’s no flour in this recipe – of any kind. So they’re gluten-free, but without any weird gums or sneaky vegetables keeping things together (here’s looking at you, black bean brownies). To make these, I just created a hybrid recipe of my two favorites and replaced the flour with cocoa powder. The result is a super-rich and extra chocolatey brownie that isn’t the least bit cakey. Yet it isn’t overly sweet like fudge, either. It’s just right.

batter spread

Oh, and I’m pretty sure these will more than satisfy your chocolate cravings. The batter alone will have you drooling.

spoon batter

Feel free to halve the recipe and make them in a smaller 8×8” pan, or leave the recipe as-is and make them in an 8×8” pan for extra thick brownies, or even double the written recipe and make them in a 9×13” pan to get a lot of extra thick brownies. But because these are so rich and decidedly bittersweet, it’s easy to be satisfied with only one.

batter unbaked baked

If you don’t have an electric mixer to beat the eggs and don’t want to kill your arm, but still want a flourless brownie, I recommend these.

Flourless Bittersweet Brownies
by L., partially adapted from Flour Bakery and Barefoot Contessa

2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter
4 oz (1 cup) unsweetened chocolate
2 oz (1/2 cup) bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 cups granulated sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp Kahlua or liqueur of your choice (optional)
1 cup cocoa powder (measured loosely, as you would flour – both dutch and non-dutch processed work)
1/2 tsp salt

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and line a 9×13″ pan with parchment paper (or butter it up really well).

Roughly chop all the chocolate and the butter and toss them together into a medium sized bowl. Melt them completely – I use the microwave for 1-2 minutes, stirring after 30 seconds, or you could use a double boiler -and stir until totally homogenous and you have a gorgeous silky chocolate mixture. Resist the urge to drink it, and let it cool to room temperature.

Crack your eggs into the bowl of an electric mixer and, using the whisk attachment, beat them on high. After a few seconds, when the eggs are broken up,  slowly add all of the sugar. Continue whipping the eggs and sugar on high for 5-10 minutes, or until at least double their original volume. They should be light and thick and make ribbons when you lift up your whisk.

Lower the speed and pour in the vanilla extract and Kahlua (or liqueur of your choice) and mix until combined. On the lowest speed, pour in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture slowly. When it’s all in, increase the speed to medium for just long enough to fully incorporate the chocolate, but don’t overdo it – you don’t want to deflate the eggs.

Turn off the mixer and add the cocoa powder and salt. Starting on low so your cocoa doesn’t fly up at you, beat the batter until the cocoa powder is slightly moistened then increase the speed and beat until it’s all combined and smooth. The batter will be thick and gorgeous.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly to the sides and corners – it won’t even out that much in the oven, you have to make sure to spread it as evenly as you want it to be.

Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the top has formed a thinly cracked crust and a toothpick comes out with wet crumbs sticking to it. Don’t over bake them!

Let them cool for 10 minutes on a rack, then refrigerate (or freeze if you’re impatient like me) until completely cooled. They have to cool to firm up and be chewy, because otherwise they are very delicate. Cut and serve with a tall glass of milk, and a sprinkling of coarse sea salt on top if you’re feelin’ fancy. They can be kept for a few days in an airtight container at room temperature, a week in the fridge, or a month in the freezer.

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