519rnhIo4wL._SY300_When we were still in Switzerland, Sara picked up a copy of Le Larousse du chocolat, a book by a renowned French chef Pierre Hermé. As the name implies, it is a dictionary for all chocolatey things. While it’s a little tricky to find exact substitutes for the ingredients in some recipes (like bicarbonate de sodium officinal?), our first target from this book was a recipe for brownies with a list of 6 simple ingredients.

These brownies are made with solid chocolate, not cocoa powder. Rather than employ a double-boiler, I used the microwave method that I saw on Good Eats (of which Alton Brown is the host; are the name of brownies a mere coincidence?) This is a lot easier and faster, and prevents the chocolate from seizing up. You repeatedly microwave the chocolate chunks in a bowl for 15 seconds and stir it each time; the goal is to use the minimum amount of nuking power, carrying it at the end to uniform smooth meltiness by stirring. I think I used 3 or 4 15-second bursts and a 10-second one at the end. You can see Alton’s video from that episode here, although for this recipe we use much less chocolate and we don’t really care about the exact temperature achieved.


Pierre Hermé’s Brownies

  • 1 cup room-temperature butter
  • 140 g melted dark chocolate with 60% cocoa content
  • 250 g powdered sugar
  • 4 eggs (room-temperature if possible)
  • 120 g sifted flour
  • 120 g chopped unsalted nuts (walnuts, pecans or pistachios)

Preheat the oven to 340°F. With a mixer or by hand, beat the butter until homogeneous. Add the ingredients in the order listed above, incorporating each one at a time.

Pour into a 9″ square pan or 10″ diameter round pan, lined with parchment paper and/or buttered.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until a knife inserted does not come out gooey.


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