Sugar High Friday: Milk Chocolate Brownies

Whew! Getting in under the wire with this one . . . truth be told, I wasn't sure I was going to get to this month's SHF, hosted by Jasmine. But some days feel more seductive than others, and sometimes an inspiration strikes.
Though we've already celebrated Valentine's last weekend, there can never be enough sweet seduction, or seduction by sweets. I found a recipe for milk chocolate brownies, milk chocolate being Rob's favorite, today and decided to give it a go.
I learned you don't try these sorts of things with untested recipes that you decide to double on a moment's thought: the milk chocolate (Cadbury, if you're interested) seized when it was in the butter - one second grainy, the next a lump of brown sitting in the pot in a sea of melted butter - and no amount of mixing or coaxing was going to mix those two. I forged on though I didn't quite know what to expect, as I've never had that problem melting unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate with butter for brownies. Adding in the sugar only seemed to make things worse, but the eggs, wonderful little peacemakers, brought it back into something resembling brownie batter. I was once again stumped when I needed to add the rest of the chocolate - did I want it stirred in until smooth, or should the batter have chunks of milk chocolate throughout? I tried to compromise by stirring until the chunks were smoother and smaller, but still there. The batter was a bit streaky with unincorporated chocolate and rather thick, but it plopped into the pan, and then refused to let itself be spread. Oh dear.
But I'll be darned if it doesn't look like a brownie and smell like a brownie baking. I cut them just out of the oven to get the picture (probably a bad idea, and the cause of the melting whipped cream, but oh well) - they're dense inside, and though the tester came out clean they have a soft, fudgy inside - but this could also be because they haven't cooled properly yet. The flavor is intense, I still think I'd prefer brownies made with bittersweet chocolate, but the milk is an interesting twist and definitely a sweet choice.

adapted from Gourmet, February 2007

2 sticks unsalted butter, plus some for the pan
18 oz. milk chocolate, chopped
1 c packed light brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
4 large eggs
1 1/2 c flour
2 Tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder, plus more for pan
1 tsp vanilla salt
1/2 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9x13 inch pan well and dust the bottom and sides with cocoa powder, tapping and shaking the pan to remove the excess.
Melt the butter and half of the chocolate in a 3-quart saucepan over low heat, stirring, until smooth (if it seizes or separates, ignore it no matter how bad it looks, and press on). Remove from heat and let cool to lukewarm. Stir in the vanilla and brown sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.
Whisk together the remaining ingredients and then stir into the chocolate mixture. Stir in the remainder of the chopped chocolate.
Spread batter into the prepared pan and bake until a tester in the center comes out with only a few crumbs attached, 25-30 minutes.


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