Monday, May 23, 2011

Barcelona Brownies

This week's Heavenly Cakes selection was actually one of the first things the group baked together in October 2009. Marie titled her post "(How Not To Make) Barcelona Brownie Bars" because she forgot to make the ganache ahead of time, but really, it is hard to mess up brownies. Here's Marie's Last Cake, Next Cake summary of the group's brownies. (Marie redeemed herself in February 2011, making the brownies again; this time she made the cherry variation and omitted the ganache.)

I actually sort of made these brownies back then, but I was in SF helping out my sister after the birth of my favorite nephew in the world, and didn't have a camera handy. More importantly, my sister didn't want bittersweet brownies with nuts and cream cheese and ganache plugs, so I didn't bother posting that I sort of baked the recipe, adding more sugar and butter (to make up for the cream cheese) and using chocolate chips. They were still pretty good brownies, but they weren't the real thing.

barcelona brownies

May 23, 2011
Name of cakey things: Dreamy Brownies
Occasion: HCB
Constituents: bittersweet brownies with cream cheese and pecans (ganache omitted)

First off, Rose published this recipe on her blog, so if you don't have the book (WHY DON'T YOU HAVE THE BOOK??) you can still bake these brownies.

barcelona brownies

In the comments of that post, someone asked about making them in a regular 8x8 pan because they didn't want more edges, and if they could decrease the flour to make them more gooey. Rose replied with this:
when the brownies are baked in the financier pan the edges aren't dry but crisp and the insides light yet fudgy. it's a completely different experience. and the little pools of ganache make them a little gooey as well. but if you'd like to turn this into a totally gooey type brownie 1 1/2 times the recipe would work for an 8 inch square pan and 2 times the recipe for a 9 inch square.

my guess is that they would take about 40 min. to bake but it's important to start checking early on so that they don't dry out. when a toothpick comes out clean one inch from the sides of the pan they're done!

i wouldn't decrease the flour as they might not set--these really don't have much flour in them to begin with.

i suspect these could be the brownies of your dreams.

I love that last line.

barcelona brownies

So that is what I did, as you all know how I feel about the financier pan. I did 1.5x the recipe for an 8x8 glass pyrex pan and it was finished baking at about 30 minutes at 325. I also sprinkled the top with fleur de sel, because chocolate salted brownies might just be the brownies of my dreams.

My allergies have kicked into high gear this last week, which is actually two months later than they usually start (hooray for a cold rainy spring...I guess), and they are always worse after I eat sugar. So after a restless, phlegmmy night, I decided I would bake these brownies, have a tiny slice, and them give them all away.

barcelona brownies

As I melted the chocolate and butter over a double boiler, I began to look forward to my one brownie square. As I whisked the sugar, eggs, and vanilla into the melted chocolate and butter and watched the batter turn glossy and thick, I thought maybe I'd save a couple of brownies so I could try one with the strawberry ice cream in the freezer. Once the flour and toasted pecans were folded in and the batter scraped into the pan, I licked the spatula and thought about keeping maybe four brownies. When I pulled the salted brownies from the oven and the chocolaty smell filled my kitchen, I thought about forgetting to drop them off with my friends and keeping them all for myself.

barcelona brownies

These are, in my opinion, the perfect brownie. I like my brownies rich and soft, cakey around the sides and a little more fudgy towards the centers and these brownies are just that. Typically I don't like nuts in my brownies so next time I will fire the nuts and think about the cherry variation. Or, a caramel swirl. Or, maybe meringue bits. Or, leave them plain and simple, soft and salty, slightly cakey and slightly fudgy. Rose was right, these are the brownie of my dreams. Don't tell my friends they're ready.


  1. I love that you filed this under the tag "cakes that are good for breakfast". *grin*

  2. Ditto, anitsirK, love the cakes that are good for breakfast.

    I made the cherry version; it's great!

  3. Kristina, brownies are the perfect breakfast food!

    Lois, I can't wait to make the cherry version!

  4. Oh they look lovely. And I love the idea of salted brownies. I must try that sometime.

  5. Thanks so much for repeating Rose's reply in your post. You have no idea how long I looked for that. I knew I read it somewhere. I wanted to make a 8x8 version a while back but couldn't find the X factor (1.5x). Will make a note in the book. Very happy you liked these. I made them in February and liked them a lot too.

  6. I tried to post a particularly long comment last night that blogger discarded with an error. The short version: Brownies for breakfast=yay
    financier pans for brownies=yay
    nuts in brownies=boo, hiss
    and try Smitten Kitchen's spiced up Baked Brownie (or just the spices added to rose’s recipe), because it will rock your world!

  7. Melissa, salted brownies are just about the best thing ever, do try it!

    Hanaa, you are welcome! These really are dreamy brownies.

    Amanda, I know, blogger did that to me too. I was annoyed :(

    you like the financier pan for brownies? sigh. maybe someday i will get the damn pan.

    and ohgod, chipotle, cardamom and cinnamon in a brownie?? YUM.

  8. Speaking of spices, try adding 1/2 to 1 tsp of cayenne to your brownies. Hello! They've become a favorite here at work, seriously!

  9. I got the lekue silicone financier pans. That way they don't take up too much can just wad them up into a corner of your cupboard. The edges are great, and they make such neat and tidy little brownies!

  10. Hanaa, I really should make the spicy brownies, that sounds so good!

    Amanda, I like the idea of wading up a pan and shoving it in the corner.

  11. I wish you had not described these in such glowing terms. Now, I have to make them.

    Chocolate Chip cookies and Brownies may be mundane but I am looking for the perfect recipes for each. Of course, I have to make eat them to accomplish this.