For hard-core "fudgies," the perfect brownie is a dense, chocolaty confection that practically sticks to the roof of your mouth. In the other camp are "cakies," who say the ideal brownie has leavening and extra flour and tastes like a piece of cake.
It's the kind of a no-win culinary argument we try to stay out of because we know that even if there were a meeting of the palates, the next questions would be about adding nuts or brickle bits.
No one would be more surprised by all the fuss than Fannie Farmer, who published the first brownie recipe in 1896. Farmer's brownies, called "elfin cakes" after popular cartoon characters, were baked in individual tins and flavored with molasses. In addition to nuts in the batter, each cake had a walnut half on top.
Our Fudgy Mint Brownies, similar to Farmer's original recipe with butter, melted chocolate and a small amount of flour, tend to be a combination of fudgy and cakey. The inside squares are dense and moist, and the outer ones are more cakey. We've finished them off with a ridiculously simple chocolate mint candy glaze.
FUDGY MINT BROWNIES
Note: Chocolate mints scattered over the brownies when they come out of the oven make an incredibly easy, chocolate glaze for these bars.
1/2 cup butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1 ounce semisweet chocolate
1 cup sugar
11/2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
14 Andes mints
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with cooking spray. Line bottom and two sides with foil, letting edges extend over sides. Coat foil with spray. Place butter and unsweetened and semisweet chocolates in the top of a double boiler; cook over simmering water until melted. Cool slightly.
Beat eggs, sugar, cocoa, vanilla and butter mixture with mixer until blended. Turn to low speed, add flour and beat just until blended. Pour into prepared pan. Bake 22 minutes or until a tester comes out barely clean. Immediately place mints over top and let stand 1 minute or until mints melt; lightly swirl to spread mints. Cool, remove from pan with foil and cut into squares.
Makes 24 brownies.
NUTRITION PER BROWNIE: 130 calories, 6 grams fat, 1 gram protein, 17 grams carbohydrates, 0 fiber, 35 milligrams sodium.
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