Thursday, March 15, 2012

Browned Butter & Amaretto Brownies

I'll admit that one thing I've always used mixes for are brownies. I had not, until recently, found a brownie recipe that was any better than a mix and the mixes are just so easy. But then I found the Bon Appetit Browned Butter and Walnut Brownies recipe. Seriously. Like, SERIOUSLY. These are the easiest and best brownies I've ever had.

After making these amaretto cupcakes a few weeks ago, I've been compelled to put amaretto in everything. These brownies were no exception to my amaretto compulsion, and, if I do say so myself, they were fantastic! These are rich, chocolaty, dense brownies with an almond-y after taste. My friend and I used them to make brownie ice-cream sundaes to conclude a feast we prepared on Oscar night. And by we, I mean she. Real food is not my forte-- I'm only good for desert. :-)

(For a printable version of this recipe, click here)
Brown Butter Amaretto Brownies - Yield 9 average sized brownies
Adapted from Bon Appetit Browned Butter and Walnut Brownies

10 tablespoons butter
1 1/3 cups sugar
3/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup amaretto
 2 large eggs
1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon all purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Step #1 - Preheat oven to 325* F. Line an 8x8x2 pan with foil, then grease the pan/foil. The foil should stick out over the edge on either side about two inches. This will allow you to simply lift the brownies out of the pan after baking-- it's kind of genius!!

Step #2 - Melt butter in a medium/large sauce pan over medium heat until butter browns, stirring constantly.
As you are doing this, the butter will first melt, then it will foam up, and then it will very quickly brown. There is a fine line between brown and burnt, so watch carefully! Once it starts to foam, be sure to stir (I like to use a whisk) quickly and watch the color of the liquid. As soon as foam subsides, be on the look out of the butter to take on a light brown/toasted coloring. Remove from heat as soon as this color appears. It will smell AWESOME.

Step #3 - Remove from heat and immediately add sugar, cocoa and amaretto. Mix well so mixture is smooth; there should not be any lumps.

Step #4 - Allow to cool for 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well with each addition. The mixture will still be warm when you add the eggs, but not hot. 
If you do not let the mixture cool slightly, the eggs will start to cook when added and then your brownies will be gross. After you add the eggs and mix well, the batter should be thick, smooth and glossy.

Step #5 - Mix flour and baking powder together, then add to the cocoa/butter mixture and beat until well blended. Transfer batter to greased/foiled pan.

Step #6 - Bake at 325* for 20-25 minutes. Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean, with just a few crumbs attached.
Allow brownies to cool and then run a butter knife down the two non-foiled edges of the pan. Lift up on the foil flaps and the brownies should lift easily from the pan. I like to cut mine 3x3 for a total of nine brownies.

These are delicious on their own or topped with ice-cream. They keep well when stored in an air-tight container and also freeze very well.

I used some leftover Valentine's boxes to pack up a couple of "To-Go Sundaes" for some friends.

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