Friday, September 16, 2011

Brownie Tarts

So. These brownies.

I made them on a whim, deciding halfway through the day, I’d like to bake something! I think I’ll bake something!
They’re a little fancy. I decided to make them in little tart pans because I’m a sucker for individual desserts. You get a whole tart to yourself! If you’re a serious brownie person, then you know that means exponentially more crispy edges (which happen to be the best part about brownies).

But then things veered a little. I ended up committing the cardinal sin of baking (or at least, my own cardinal sin of baking): don’t mess with the proportions or ingredients.

Turns out there weren’t as many chocolate chips in the cupboard as I thought. Also turns out we didn’t have baking powder. So I made it work. Tim Gunn would be proud.

And can I tell you something? It was pretty fun, mixing things up. I even used one less tablespoon of butter, since I was feeling so rebellious and all.

But despite by bit of culinary deviation, the finished tarts… er… brownies were perfect. Intensely chewy and fudgy with a crackly sugar crust, they were eagerly devoured.

I like to think that I’m usually restrained around desserts like these. A few savored bites and I’m good. But these are dangerous. It’s all too easy to tell yourself you’re just going to eat a few crumbs (which don’t count, since they’re crumbs and all) and then find that half of a brownie is gone. Don’t ask me how I know that, though.

You’ve been warned.

Individual Brownie Tarts
Adapted from Ina Garten

These brownies are very similar to Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies, but I feel better about making and eating them since they have about 1/8 of the butter called for in that gargantuan recipe. I made a few changes to the recipe and was actually very happy with how the brownies turned out, so I’ve reflected those changes below. I think the most important thing about making these brownies is how you prepare your tart pans. Whether you use a larger tart pan or several smaller ones, be sure to grease them extremely well. I didn’t grease them as thoroughly as I could have and the brownies were sort of a pain to remove. The recipe calls for 3 cups total of chocolate chips. I had only 2 cups but used 1 cup of finely grated chocolate to supplement the rest. This will work in a pinch, but I like the semi-melted texture of the whole chocolate chips stirred into the batter at the end better. If you’re a nut-in-your-brownies type of person, add a cup of chopped nuts to the batter along with the dry ingredients.

Yield: 6 small (4-inch) tarts, or 1 9-inch tart

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon brewed coffee
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
½ cup all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon table salt

Adjust the oven rack to the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Thoroughly grease and flour your tart pans (or tart pan) and place on a baking sheet lined with foil.

In a medium bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt the butter. Add 2 cups of the chocolate chips and remove from the heat. Stir with a wooden spoon or heatproof spatula until the chocolate melts completely. Set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl with a hand mixer or in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs, sugar, coffee, and vanilla on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the cooled chocolate and mix to combine.

In a medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and remaining 1 cup of chocolate chips. Fold the flour mixture into the batter just until combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the individual tart pans and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, until the center is puffed and a toothpick inserted into the middle of the brownies emerges with crumbs still attached (this ensures a fudgy texture).

Cool to room temperature before removing the sides of the tart pans and devouring.

The brownies keep, stored well in the refrigerator, for up to a week.


  1. Ooh I love the idea of individual desserts! Although I must admit I feel more secure when eating brownies from a pan... that way no one can really tell how much you've eaten. :P

    And didn't you know there aren't any calories in crumbs?!

  2. these look delicious! and I love the pretty napkin in the background!

  3. Love the napkins and the pretty photos! I'm not a huge chocolate person but I will admit to loving the crispy edges of brownies!

  4. darrrrrrrrling - and i love fudgy dense brownies !

  5. This looks delicious. Would love for you to share this with us over at