Saturday, August 30, 2008

Outrageous Symphony Bar Brownies

This recipe resulted from the combination/adaptation of two ridiculously extravagant brownie recipes: The Barefoot Contessa's Outrageous Brownies, and Cathy's Symphony Bar Brownies. Paula Dean might even balk at the ingredient list. Keep reading, I guarantee your jaw will drop, but do not let the copious quantities of chocolate, butter, and eggs deter you! Just make the brownies, and then cut them into really really teeny tiny pieces. Then, tell yourself that you will just eat one piece. Bye bye baking guilt!

Ok, maybe we're kidding ourselves. If you're the type to wolf down the entire box of chocolates, maybe you should save yourself the grief, and buy that fat-free mix stuff from Trader Joe's. I hear it's not too bad. I'll wager it's at least edible. If, however, you are ready to face the ultimate test of self-control, bake-on!

Unlike most brownies, these are best eaten completely cool, or even refrigerated. Cooling allows the butter-fats and the Symphony bars to solidify, creating a smooth, fudgy consistency. The texture of the toffee bits transforms from gummy to crisp, so that a slight, yet satisfying crunch accompanies each decadent bite. The coffee and dark chocolate mellow as the brownies cool, such that the flavors stand out and complement one another, doing justice to the name "Symphony" Bars: a dark hint of coffee bass melding with a lyrical chocolate baritone, the liquid-smooth chord of butter, and a staccato toffee-almond crunch.

If you expect to be bested by impatience, have some vanilla ice-cream and black coffee on hand to cut the overwhelming chocolate experience of hot-from-the-pan brownies (so dark and rich that the term "chocolate flavor" doesn't adequately convey what it is like to fork the gooey mass straight to your eager mouth - it will shock your gustatory senses).

I promise that the grimace on your doctor's face when he tells you your cholesterol level will not make you regret trying this recipe. These brownies are to-die-for.


1 pound unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing the pan
Two 11 or 12 ounce bags of semisweet chocolate chips
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 extra-large eggs
3 tablespoons instant coffee powder
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/4 cups flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
6 toffee-almond Symphony bars (you can find these at grocery stores in the candy aisle)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease a 13 by 18 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan with butter.

Melt together the butter, 1 pound chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate. Be careful not to burn it- I usually melt everything together in the microwave using 30 or 45 second intervals, stirring between each interval. Cool slightly. Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar. Blend the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture (make sure the chocolate mixture is not too hot or it will cook the eggs) and cool to room temperature.

Stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Add to cooled chocolate mixture along with the chocolate chips. Pour half of the batter into the prepared pan and spread it evenly. Lay the Symphony bars over the top of the batter. You may need to break some of the bars into smaller pieces so that they fit the pan. Try to cover the batter completely with the Symphony bars. Pour the rest of the batter over the Symphony bars, and spread it evenly.

Bake for about 30 minutes. Cool completely. Serves about 80 self-control freaks, 40 dessert-lovers, or 20 masochistic gluttons. Discover your dessert profile today!