Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Dean's List Vermont True Decadence Brownies

Last Saturday a local shop had a cheese tasting from Vermont Butter & Cheese Company. One of the owners, Allison Hooper was offering samples of her very special artisan cheeses. Her book, "In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen" was displayed beside her. I stood and thumbed through it as she presented her cheese. Each sampling drew me in more than the next, as I eyed the recipes in her book. I have bought her products for years, but had never tasted these cheeses. We chatted as she signed my book and she graciously allowed me to take a few pictures. She was headed to Paris that evening to judge cheese at the large exhibition there. When I returned home, I sat with the book and a cup of tea, trying to decide what to try first. My son is home on spring break from college and I showed him and his friend a few of the pictures from the book. It was a nice diversion from the math they were working on. Later that evening I asked my son if he had gotten his grades back yet from this last quarter. The guy of few words quietly said "yes", and I excitedly asked, "So what were they?" He got straight A's...Dean's list, again! OK, decision Humble Pie for him, he was getting Vermont True Decadence Brownies, or Dean's List Brownies, as we called them today!! Hopefully, I'll be making them often. As they sat on the counter cooling, I even noticed a squirrel at the kitchen door sniffing. Do squirrels like chocolate? Or was it the nuts I added...they aren't in the recipe, but we love nuts in our brownies. Nice addition. After they were cool, I gave a warm brownie to my son, and he ate it with a smile on his face the whole time! I then wrapped some up to take next door as a thank you to my neighbor for hauling away all of the large pine branches that fell last week during the storm. All in all, these Vermont True Decadence Brownies got an A+++ the whole way around. Thanks, Allison! Next I'm making the Goat Cheese Mini Souffles. Can't wait.

Vermont True Decadence Brownies
(Adapted from "In a Cheesemaker's Kitchen", by Allison Hooper)

10 ounces unsweetened chocolate
16 ounces cultured butter lightly salted
9 eggs
4 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
8 ounces crème fraîche
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
12 ounces of semisweet or dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

Grease a 13x18 inch sheet pan.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler over low heat, then cool to room temperature.

Whisk eggs slightly, then add sugar, vanilla extract, and crème fraîche. Mix until incorporated.

Fold chocolate and butter mixture into the egg and sugar mixture, alternating with the flour in 2 parts. Do not overmix! Fold in chocolate chips.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes. You will want these brownies to be slightly gooey. Cut the brownies into 2 inch squares.

Makes 24 squares.

Note: For a thicker brownie, use a 9x13 inch pan.

Diane's notes: I wanted the thicker brownie, but just wanted to make half of the recipe. I used an 8x8x2 inch square pan. I used 4 extra large eggs, about 7 ounces. I also added 1 cup chopped nuts. Walnuts or pecans work well. It took almost an hour in the oven. I checked often towards to end, so as to not over bake. This makes 16 squares, 2 inches high.

Vermont True Decadence Brownies recipe click here.

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Thibeault's Table said...

Your brownies look perfect. Is there anything better than rich chocolaty brownies full of walnuts?

And fresh shelled walnuts. I'm impressed.

I made brownies the other night but I didn't shell my own walnuts.

2 Stews said... have to keep those teenager's hands busy ;-) We have a group coming over today. Maybe we'll make bread if it snows again. You've been an inspiration in the bread making department!

Thanks for stopping by....Diane

linda said...

too funny...just discussing vermont butter vs. echire butter w/a friend...& decided to "check in" with you... to find this post!
would you weigh in...your valued comment would be most appreciated...since i have not used vermont butter (occasionally echire, kerry, plugra & more often land o lakes)...
i MUST purchase vt butter asap!

your brownies look truly decadent & your neighbor presentation was beautiful...
is the exquisite plate (the brownies so proudly rest on) an antique?
shout out to your son: way to go!!

La Table De Nana said...

Aahh what a great post! Inspiring! A dean's list son..(Congratulations!!!!!!) a cookbook author/owner of a Vermont cheese company....and a great baker w/ her adorable brownies paying it forward to the nice neighbor!
Not to mention le ♥..How cute is that?

Who can ask for more?
This is a little gift at the almost end of my afternoon~

By the way we love Vermont:)

Karen @ Mignardise said...

Another great brownie to try. One of these days I'm going to have a brownie cook-off.

I love VT Butter and Cheese. I've been buying their goat cheese for years, and just recently tried the butter. Big yum. The cookbook sounds wonderful.

Congrats to your son! That's not easy to do.

Linda said...

Beautiful brownies...congrats to your is wonderful when all that hard work pays off...

Linda@ Lime in the Coconut said...

Oh heaven! I was just contemplating what to send my kid in college. These should fit the bill quite nicely!

Love how you packaged them up for your neighbor...beautiful.

wanna be my neighbor?!

Haden News said...

Nothing is better than a great brownie...these look so good! Congratulations to your Son!!

Ju (The Little Teochew) said...

Congratulations, Diane!! Your son must make you feel so proud. :) How many people get onto the Dean's list AGAIN? ;) Fantastic news, and we're all so happy for you and him. Great brownies you made! No wonder he ate them with a smile. :) They way you did the wrapping for your neighbour is just precious.

Kathy Walker said...

Congratulations! It is so exciting when you hear the words, "Dean's List"! How proud you must be!

The brownies sound like a wonderful treat for all of that hard work....and, just because!

Memória said...

The nuts are so cute!! I love that the innards made the shape of a heart.

These brownies look amazingly moist. I love the addition of crème fraiche and 9 eggs. Wow. How rich!

Zurin said...

what cld be more perfect? decadent brownies, straight A son, dean's list, cook! congratulations to u and ur son ^^ ans wha a lucky neighbour. wish i lived next door to you ^^

food with style said...

monique said your post would make me smile, she is right :-)

congrats to your son, and those brownie pics are gorgeous~

2 Stews said...

Thanks for all of the comments everyone...I wish all of you lived next door, as well! I think we'd need Weight Watchers across the street though!! And yes, I am so proud of my son's hard work, it is nice to see it pay off.

Linda...that IS too funny about the butter. Vermont Butter & Cheese butter tastes like velvet. We had some last night on warm homemade bread. The hungry teenage boys devoured it! I haven't had Echire butter, but have had many French butters. It is a staple in a our house. Many flight attendants bring butter back from France. I had a customs agent sarcastically comment once that he thought the US sold butter...he didn't get it. I'll have to try the Echire butter. I've found that each country's butter has such a unique flavor that you can almost envision where the cow's grazed. I love Irish butter, too. The plate the brownies are on is a new Spode Archive Collection, "Jasmine" pattern. Guess where it is from?? Marshall's!!! A few years ago. are so sweet to send Jain my way....I'm smiling back!


Kathleen said...

Your brownies look fabulous! I love trying new brownie recipes. I think the creme fraiche sounds really interesting and unique! My son is coming home from college in two weeks. I've already started baking and stocking my freezer. It's shocking how much a boy can eat. Especially when he's been away cooking for himself on a budget!!!

pigpigscorner said...

wow congrats to your son! A great way to celebrate!

Barbara said...

Good for your son!
And these brownies are fabulous looking...I love the way you wrapped them up for your neighbor!

Kate at Serendipity said...

Oh, Diane, what a wonderful post! First, congratulations to your son. Dean's list! WAHOO!

Next, these brownies look amazing. I love the walnut photo. Who else would have thought of that?

The cheese. I don't know VT cheese, of course, but here in my part of Belgium we have a lot of artisanal cheeses. I love to buy them. They change with the seasons, depending on what the animals eat. We have goat, cow, sheep cheeses. Some fresh, some aged. All of them full of character.

Thanks for this post!