This story begins in 2011 when I visited my Aunt who lives in San Francisco, CA. We decided to explore the Mission District area in search of awesome food and we sure did find it. One of the places we went to was Tartine bakery, a place consistently ranked on tops of 'Best Bakery' lists for their incredible fresh bread and baked goods. In 2012 I started working for Trader Joe's and having rarely been to one previously (there were only 2 in Florida at the time), I was intrigued by many of the unique items they carried. One in particular, the 'Pound Plus' bar caught my eye as an absurd amount of chocolate - what would you even need that much chocolate for if you weren't a professional chocolatier?! I would ask every customer that came through my checkout line how long it would take them to finish it and they would giggle and answer me unrealistically (3 days? YEAH OKAY.) But secretly I longed for an excuse to use a POUND of chocolate to make something insane.
In 2013 I got my wish. It was my turn for Sunday Night Dinner, a group of us that rotate making a gourmet dinner for the others every Sunday night, and I had decided to do an upgraded TV Dinner with some neat aluminum trays I had come across. Drab processed meat loaf became balsamic glazed lamb meatloaf. Bland veggies were renewed as fragrant peas and carrots cooked with shallots and onions. Flavorless mashed potatoes were turned into roasted rosemary fingerling potatoes. And of course, the dessert - a classic brownie - became this most amazing brownie I've ever created in my entire life using Tartine's brownie recipe and adding a twist of my own.
The brownie literally calls for A POUND of chocolate for one tray of brownies. I'm still not totally clear how I managed to fit that much chocolate in one baking dish but I'm not going to question it - science. I once read that for the perfect brownie the flour is added semi-hold it together so it isn't liquid but it still pretty much is. You mix in the flour is little as possible to end up with an intensely fudgey brownie.
And do you know what I did next? I UPGRADED IT. I baked the brownies directly into the aluminum pans and into the center of each I placed a Ferrero Rocher ball. For those of you who have never had one, first of all do so immediately, but secondly the ball is a "whole hazelnut, coated in milk chocolate, surrounded by a hazelnut filling, and encased in a nut croquante (topping)". SO GOOD. In the world of grocery store check-out chocolate it's one of the higher end items which is why I broke it out especially for this top-tier brownie.
If you like brownies, listen to me carefully, make. this. one. Eating this brownie is like that feeling you get when you finally have a nice beer and realize "wow, natty light is literally water why did I think this was acceptable for so long??" The natty in this situation would be any other brownie you've ever had in your life, especially *shutters* boxed mix. So take my advice and grab yourself a literal pound of chocolate to make this incredible brownie.
Ferrero Rocher Stuffed BrowniesAdapted From: Tartine
3/4 cup butter
1 pound bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
5 large eggs 2 cups brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
Ferrero Rocher Balls, optional
1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch glass baking dish.
2. In a small saucepan, melt the butter over low heat. Remove from the heat and add the chocolate. If the heat from the butter does not fully melt the chocolate, put the pan back over the heat for 10 seconds and stir until melted. Set aside to cool.
3. Sift the flour into a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat on high speed until the mixture thickens and becomes pale in color and falls from the beater in a wide ribbon that folds back on itself and slowly dissolves on the surface, 4 to 5 minutes.
5. Using a rubber spatula, fold the cooled chocolate into the egg mixture. Add the flour and fold it in quickly but gently with the rubber spatula so that you don’t deflate the air that’s been incorporated into the eggs.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared dish and smooth the top with a spatula. If you are using Ferrero Rocher, submerge them now.
7. Bake until the top looks slightly cracked and feels soft to the touch, about 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack.
8. Using a sharp knife, cut into 12 squares, or size desired. The brownies will keep in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 1 week.