Monday, December 11, 2017

Orange-Scented Brownies

I’m a sucker for orange and chocolate together, from the chocolate oranges my mom would put in the toe of our stockings every year to the Barefoot Contessa’s orange chocolate chunk cake to the chocolate covered “orange sticks” you see everywhere around the holidays. It was really only a matter of time before these brownies happened.

I know there are two kinds of brownies and two corresponding camps of brownie lovers. If you care to know, these definitely fall under the “fudgy” brownie category. I used a brownie recipe that I already loved and added fresh orange zest for a nice, bright flavor and enough chocolate chips to add some texture without detracting from the fudgy-ness of the brownies. (You could certainly add orange zest to your favorite brownie recipe instead.) The chocolate flavor is strong enough to satisfy my inner beast who is constantly demanding cocoa-based products (my arteries have politely asked it to leave, but it never listens), and the orange flavor is strong enough to please my inner Christmas elf who wants to spread holiday cheer. Everyone is satisfied.

Note: If you don’t have a tool to get zest from an orange, I highly recommend this Microplane zester. It’s my favorite non-electric kitchen gadget because it serves a lot of purposes while taking up very little of my precious kitchen space. I use it all the time to grate not only citrus zest but also Parmesan cheese, fresh ginger, garlic, and nutmeg.

Orange-Scented Brownies

adapted from various sources

3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped if you want it to melt faster

6 tablespoons of butter

1½ cups sugar

¼ tsp salt

3 eggs

2-3 tsp orange zest (from two oranges)

½ tsp vanilla

¾ cup flour

1/3 cup chocolate chips

powdered sugar, optional


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-inch square cake pan, and line with parchment paper for extra non-stick power.

Place chocolate and butter together in a glass bowl set over simmering water, and stir occasionally until the chocolate is completely melted. Remove from heat. (You could also melt the chocolate and butter in the microwave, stirring every 30 seconds.) Stir in sugar, salt, and orange zest. Then add the eggs and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Finally, add the flour and chocolate chips, and stir just until the flour is incorporated.

Spread the batter in the prepared pan, and bake for 30-35 minutes until dry on top and a toothpick stuck in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs (just not batter). Let cool, then cut into squares, and dust with powdered sugar, if desired.

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