Monday, September 03, 2007

Heck Bars

A couple of weeks ago I checked out of the library a copy of Hidden Kitchens: Stories, Recipes and More from NPR's The Kitchen Sisters. Not your usual cookbook. In fact, I wouldn't call it a cookbook at all, but a collection of stories about people who cook, with some recipes thrown in. Great reading; typical NPR quality stuff. Anywhooo... this recipe popped out at me right at the beginning of the book. Except for the semi-sweet chocolate chips (I had on hand bittersweet so I used those instead), I had everything on hand. Very easy and quick to throw together. No mixer necessary. For these you'll need a 12 x 8 1/2 x 1 pan, which is actually called a quarter sheet pan. If you have bulk sheets of parchment, just quarter one and it will fit perfectly in the bottom of the pan. They come out kind of like a brownie and are perfect with a very cold glass of milk. Yummy!

Heck Bars

8 oz. unsalted butter
4-¾ oz. Unsweetened chocolate
4 extra large eggs
2 1/8 cups granulated sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/8 cup all purpose flour
1 ½ cup walnuts (optional)(I used unchopped walnut halves)
8 oz. semisweet chocolate chips (I had on hand bittersweet)

Directions: Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Gently melt chocolate and butter in double boiler. When chocolate is totally melted, set aside. In a large mixing bowl, combine eggs, sugar, vanilla and salt. Use a spatula or wooden spoon and mix just until blended. Fold melted chocolate butter into egg mixture.
Toss together flour, walnuts and 8 oz. of chocolate chips. Fold into chocolate-egg mixture. Note: Do not over mix; fold only enough to incorporate dry ingredients, or bar will be too tough and too cake-like.
Line a 12-inch x 8 ½-inch x 1-inch baking pan with parchment paper. Pour batter into pan; consistency should be like a thick chocolate sauce (batter does not rise much, so it is OK if batter rims the pan).
Place pan in center of oven and bake 40-50 minutes. Thirty minutes into baking, check surface; a thin crust should form. It is done when it's very moist inside, with a thin, crispy, sugary surface (like a thin crust of ice forming on a pool of water). To achieve a fudge-like consistency, you must under bake.

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