decadent triple chocolate brownies

cloudy, dreary days call for brownies.  actually, every day calls for brownies but on a rainy day, they seem to be just the thing to brighten the day.  maybe it is just the impending move and the many goodbyes i have had to share with friends that left me craving chocolate.  it could have also been the need to clean out the cupboards of many small quantities of ingredients; brownies were the perfect solution.

when it comes to brownies, there are some pretty polarizing views.  for some, they must be cakey while for others, fudgy is the only option.  personally, i like them a little fudgy and a little chewy but not at all cakey.  finding that perfect fudgy-chewy balance is challenging.  the fudgy factor comes from using unsweetened chocolate and butter in larger percentages than cakey recipes call for while the chewiness comes from a higher ratio of sugar.

let’s face it, unless there are extra goodies like nuts or chocolate chips added, it doesn’t matter how fudgy or chewy the brownies are because they are just plain boring.  when i make brownies, i love them to have nuts and chips. to make them a little extra chocolatey without making them any more dense, some unsweetened cocoa powder folded in with the flour works wonders.

remember how i mentioned i was cleaning out the cupboards?  i came across some odds and ends that i normally might not have thought to add to brownies.  first of all, i am not a fan of milk chocolate; i love the bitter flavor of nearly unsweetened (think 75% to 85%) chocolate.  as i pulled out the contents of my baking stash in the pantry closet, i came across a partial bag of milk chocolate chips, roughly 2/3 cup and then i found 3 milk chocolate hershey bars (1.75 oz each)  with almonds.  what on earth would i do with them???  no time for smores and no smoldering fire or marshmallows…i kept digging and pulled out an opened bag of golden raisins that were a little dry.  i put the milk chocolate chips, the hershey bars and the raisins on the counter and gathered the rest of the ingredients for the brownies.

raisins are another ingredient that you either love or hate.  personally, i prefer golden raisins because they taste less raisiny and i almost always have a bag in the pantry.  even though i was a little skeptical, i decided to go ahead and blend my dark, fudgy brownies with milk chocolate chips and candy bar pieces along with some golden raisins.  before i could proceed, the raisins needed to be plumped so i put them in a pot, covered them with water and brought them to a simmer.  after letting them soak for 5 minutes, i drained them and prepared the recipe.  while you may not notice them in the pictures, the raisins are there and they add the perfect amount of chewiness to the bars without being obvious; from now on, they will be my secret weapon in brownies!

one last note, since i am in the middle of preparing for a move from nashville, tn to williamsburg, va, i was only able to use a scale for this recipe so the weights are in ounces with the digital conversion-sorry, no cups this time!

decadent triple chocolate brownies
makes 1 (9″x13″) pan
32 (1 1/2″x 2″) bars 
8 ounces (.50#) unsalted butter
4 ounces (.25#) unsweetened chocolate
2-3 ounces (.12#-.18#) golden raisins (measure before plumping)
15 ounces (.94#) granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large eggs
6 ounces (.38#) all purpose flour
1 1/2 ounces (.15#) unsweetened natural cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 (1.75 ounce) hershey’s milk chocolate bars with almonds, chopped 
3 ounces (.18#) milk chocolate chips
preheat the oven to 350.  grease a 9″x13″ pan, line the bottom with paper or foil and grease the paper.  set the pan aside while you prepare the batter.
place the butter and the unsweetened chocolate into a heat proof bowl and carefully melt it over a pot of almost simmering water.  take care not to let the bowl touch the water or receive direct heat from the flame/heat source.  while that melts, place the golden raisins into a sauce pot and barely cover them with water.  heat the pot over a medium flame until it starts to simmer.  turn the heat off and let the raisins sit for 5 minutes.  drain the raisins and let them cool while you finish preparing the batter.
when the chocolate is melted, remove it from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla.  whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and continue mixing until completely combined.  place the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a sifter or mesh strainer and sift over the batter.  fold the batter together until no flour streaks are visible.  finally, fold in the raisins, chopped candy bars and the chocolate chips and scrape the batter into the prepared pan.
bake until the brownies rise up about 1/4 inch above the pan and a crust forms across the top, about 40 minutes.  remove from the oven and cool completely before cutting.  for the best results during cutting, chill the brownies for at least 2-3 hours or overnight.  by chilling them, you will get nice, smooth cuts without crushing the brownies.
if you chill the brownies, the best way to get them out of the pan is to gently heat the bottom of the pan a bit and flop them out onto a cutting board.  remove the paper from the bottom of the brownies and place a second board over the brownies.  invert the boards, remove the top cutting board and cut the brownies, marking them first using a ruler to get a consistent size and smooth cut.

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