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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