Chocolate is a magical ingredient. I remember in culinary school, when we were learning all about mousses, you needed to get your sugar to a certain temperature, you needed gelatin and all sorts of stabilizers and it ended up feeling very complicated. Then there was chocolate mousse, the holy grail of mousses. And it was SO simple. Whisk some eggs, boil some sugar, melt some chocolate and whip some cream and before you know it, you have deeply decadent chocolate mousse that is light and ignition to an unpleasant night for the lactose intolerant who forgot to take a pill in the hopes that having just one spoonful at a time (over the course of hours) be any harm. But that’s really a story for another day, or to never actually see the light of day. The whole point of that was that chocolate is unique ingredient.
In a way, it is quite similar to butter that it melts at high temperature and is hard when it’s cold. But unlike butter, chocolate gets REALLY hard when it’s cold. So when you’re mixing chocolate in at the melted stage and incorporating it in amongst all of the tasty ingredients, you create a network of little tiny, itty bitty chocolate building blocks that, once set, will keep everything in place. For that reason, it’s why it’s so common to find flourless brownies. Brownies that are ooey and gooey and full of joy. They may not rise miles into the sky, but they are fudgy and dreamy and heavenly.
Over the years I have made many brownies. Brownies from a box. Brownies from Ina Garten. Brownie recipes I’ve made up. Brownie recipes I’ve found online. Brownies from all over. All the brownies. I don’t go out of my way to make flourless brownies because I’m gluten free (because I’m not) or to be healthy. I often make them because I don’t have enough flour at home or because I really just don’t feel like dipping into the flour bin and get white dust everywhere. However, if you were to add just a hint of flour and baking powder to this recipe, you’d get a regular batch of brownies.
But I like my brownies gooey. If a recipe said that they should be baked for 25 minutes, I would bake them for 20. I hate overdone brownies. If I wanted chocolate cake, I would make chocolate cake. If I wanted something dry, I would just eat a cracker. Brownies NEED to be moist. They need to be chewy. Then need to melt in your mouth. They need to be loaded with chocolate. And they NEED to be fudgy and ooey and gooey. There is no other way.
Maybe a month ago we had some friends over for a game night…where we ended up not playing any actual games and instead just drank and ate all night. Which I have no problem with. Although, I do love a good game of Balderdash! or Cards Against Humanity. Anyways, I decided that I would make some brownies to snack on. I also had some strawberries about to turn all gross on me. Just like those cleaning out the fridge soups, this was sort of a cleaning out the fridge brownies, except I only used one thing from the fridge (two if you count the eggs…ok, three with the butter, but you know what me…STOP JUDGING ME!).
They smelled fantastic and tasted amazing. I was quite pleased. However, some things that I noticed were that I wanted a bit more strawberry flavor in them. Originally I just halved the strawberries and plopped them on top of the batter. But because this is flourless and the halves were heavy. They sunk a bit and when you lifted up a piece with a giant chunk in it, it broke apart. They also needed more than a few hours to set at room temp (mostly because I underbake my brownies). So those were all things I knew I needed to address when it came to finally make them again.
And make them again I did. To add more strawberry flavor, I mixed in some strawberry preserves into the jam. I also sliced the strawberries thin so they wouldn’t put too much weight onto the bed of brownie batter. I also found it best to cool the brownies to room temperature and then pop them into the fridge to chill and set up a bit more to make it easier to cut. Using the tart pan was mostly because it was pretty, but what ended up happening was a very cool “happy accident.” The brownie batter creates a thing crust layer on all the parts touching the tart pan. The rest remains gooey, making it even more tart like. A shell and filling all at once! As Ina Garten would say, “How easy is that!?”