Our trips up to Yountville are never complete unless we stop in at Bouchon Bakery to pick up some goodies. If it’s your first visit, you must try the chocolate bouchon (right). It’s a cork-shaped brownie bite that’s their signature delicacy, and it puts those mass-produced Costco ones you’ve probably had to shame. If you’ve ever had the warm chocolate brownie for dessert at Ad Hoc, it’s the same thing…but bigger.
I’ve been wanting to make these ever since I got the Bouchon cookbook last year, and when I saw Sunday Nite Dinner’s epic Valrhona v. Scharffen Berger Chocolate Bouchon Battle, I was even more inspired. But I didn’t want to make the bite-sized bouchons. I was going for brownies.
This recipe is actually quite easy. The most difficult thing about it was getting the freshly mixed batter into a piping bag. I used a jumbo muffin tin because it was the shape and size that I was looking for, but if you actually want to make the bite-size bouchons, I’m sure you can find that online somewhere. Baking time on the muffin-sized brownies is 30-32 minutes. I had some left over batter that I refrigerated, and the next day I made some mini cupcakes using a mini muffin tin. Baking time on the mini cupcakes was around 12 minutes. (no pictures of those…sorry!)
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The original recipe calls for Valrhona Equatoriale semisweet chocolate (55% cacao). Normally I can find Valrhona at Whole Foods, but we missed our opportunity to look at the San Ramon store because they inexplicably close at 9pm when every other Whole Foods in the area closes at 10pm. (Damn bedroom communities!) I ended up finding some E. Guittard Tsaratana semisweet (61% cacao) at Nob Hill and snapped them up since I’m a big fan of Guittard chocolate. The cocoa was Hershey’s unsweetened.
When they’re finished, the brownies are dense and rich with little gooey chunks of chocolate. We tried them both fresh out of the oven and after they’d cooled, and they’re great either way. They’re even good reheated with some ice cream.
Butter and flour for the muffin tin
3-1/2 ounces (by weight) all-purpose flour
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 large eggs
1-1/2 cups plus 3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 sticks unsalted butter, melted and slightly warm
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chopped into pieces the size of chocolate chips
Confectioners sugar (for serving)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Butter and flour insides of muffin tin. Set aside.
- Sift the flour, cocoa powder, and salt into a bowl; set aside. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in another large bowl if using a handheld mixer, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until very pale in color. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about 1/3 of the dry ingredients, then 1/3 of the butter, and continue alternating with the remaining flour and butter. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to a day.)
- Put the muffin tin on a baking sheet. Place the batter in a pastry bag without a tip, or with a large plain tip, and fill each mold about 2/3 full. Place in the oven and bake for 30?32 minutes. When the tops look shiny and set (like a brownie), test one cake with a wooden skewer or toothpick. It should come out clean but not dry (there may be some melted chocolate from the chopped chocolate?a good sign!).
- Transfer the muffin tin to a cooling rack. After a couple of minutes, invert the muffin tin and let the brownies cool upside down in the muffin tin; then lift off the molds. (The brownies are best eaten the day they are baked.)
- To serve: Invert the bouchons and dust them with confectioners? sugar. Serve with ice cream if desired.
[Recipe adapted from Bouchon by Thomas Keller]