On the flip side
My favorite part of the brownie as a child was bit between the fudgy part and the pan. That thin layer of overbaked goodness that had a little crunch, and was extra chewey. Bakeries often cut these off and discard them, selling only the "center cut" brownies. And as the one often doing the cutting, I have done most of my brownie nibbling off these ends.
I recently came across a recipe that gives me the same delight these "best end" of brownies have. It's called a Melting Chocolate Meringue. The recipe calls for a very minimal list of ingredients; eggs whites, sugar, and melted chocoalte. But rather than drying the cookie out in the oven for hours as meringues are commonly treated, this cookie is baked for a mere 10 minutes.
The result is a crackled, flaky top that gives way to a chewey interior. The flavor will reflect all the characteristics of the chocolate you include as it's only companions in the recipe are egg whites, and sugar, neither of which interfere with the chocolate.
Again I will include the recipe, as I often neglect to do. But it's sunday, I have all day, and I just happen to have the recipe at home with me. The recipe comes from a book that any fan of chocolate, and books that are centered around sound methodology and well tested recipes will find invaluable.
Melting Chocolate Meringues
6 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped coarsely
2 large egg whites at room temperature
1/8 tsp cream of tartar
1/2 tsp pure vanilla
1/4 cup sugar
3/4 cups chopped walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350
Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven
1. Melt the chocolate over a double boiler. Keep melted chocolate in a warm place.
2. In a large bowl, or the bowl of your kitchen aid, beat the egg whites with the cream of tartar and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add the sugar, continuing to beat until the egg whites are stiff and glossy, but not dry.
3. Add the warm chocolate, and nuts if desired, and fold in with a rubber spatula until the color of the batter is uniform. Do not let the batter wait.
4.Drop tablespoonfuls of the batter at least 1 inch apart onto parchment or silpat lined cookie sheets. (The perfectionist in me uses a piping bag and large round tip to pipe out quarter sized mounds.) Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, rotating the sheets form front to back, and top to bottom about half way through the baking period. The surface of the cookies should look dry and feel slightly firm but still gooey inside when you press them.
5. Slide the paper or silpat with the cookies attached onto a cooling rack. Let cool completely before removing and storing.