And I truly don't want to sound like I'm complaining—I live for this stuff—but it just really makes you think about all that goes into saying yes when sometimes it's just so much easier to say no. Yes equals work. No equals nothing.
Ad Hoc's version:
Brownies can be a tricky thing to find time to make when you live within walking distance of Sweet Lady Jane and Urth Caffe, the former of which offers squares of sea salt brownies for a dollar a piece. I guess it would fall under: Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for a dollar? Maybe. At some point though, around a month ago, Matt came across the recipe I’d printed out and taken with me to the grocery store. “Oh! Are you going to make these?”
A week later, this question became: “Hey, weren’t you going to make those brownies?” And then: “Whatever happened to those brownies you were going to make?” And so, with Matt’s newfound involvement and general enthusiasm for some homemade Thomas Keller-esque brownies, a year later and a month after gathering the ingredients, I finally finished what I'd started.
Anything less is waste time.) the recipe.
I had two and a half sticks of butter and everything else the recipe called for on hand. But more than that, I was at that point where I felt no other option but to cross these brownies off my to-do list. After all, I had already said yes to them, grocery-shopped, procrastinated for weeks, and had another person involved, another person who was not only living testament to my procrastination, but was also excitedly awaiting the results. And so, I made due. I winged it a bit. I haphazardly cut each ingredient’s measurement by what I non-mathematically felt was equivalent to the missing half stick. (See the recipe below for details on what this meant.)
Brownies via NPR via Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc3/4 cup all-purpose flour (I used 2/3 cup.)
1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder (I used 3/4 cup.)
1 teaspoon kosher salt (I used 3/4 teaspoon.)
3/4 pound (or 3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces (I used 2 1/2 sticks.)
3 large eggs (I used 3 too.)
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar (I used 1 1/2 cups.)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste or pure vanilla extract (I used scant 1/2 teaspoon.)
6 ounces 61- to 64- percent chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces (about 1 1/2 cups) (I used 1 1/4 cups.)
Powdered sugar for dusting
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. We use a 9-inch square silicone mold, because it keeps the edges from overcooking; if you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and our it. Set aside. Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside.
Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter over the bowl of butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.
In the bowl of a stand mixer tted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining our and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)
Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few minutes longer if necessary. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature. Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving. (The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)