|bittersweet chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao, chopped||.|
|unsweetened (alkalized) cocoa powder|
|pure vanilla extract||.||.|
|cream cheese (65° to 70°F/19° to 21°C), cut into pieces|
|all-purpose flour, either bleached or unbleached|
|fine sea salt||.||.|
One 8 by 2 inch square baking pan, wrapped with a cake strip, coated with shortening, lined with two pieces of crisscrossed parchment or heavy-duty aluminum foil (bottom and sides), extending a few inches past the edge of the pan, attached to each other by a thin coating of shortening, then lightly coated with baking spray with flour
Twenty minutes or longer before baking, set an oven rack in the middle of the oven and
Break the pecans into medium pieces. Spread them evenly on a baking sheet and
In a double boiler over hot, not simmering, water (do not let the bottom of the container touch the water), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring often. Scrape the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer or large mixing bowl.
Stand Mixer Method In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, beat the cocoa and sugar into the melted chocolate mixture on medium speed until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Beat in the eggs and vanilla for about 30 seconds. The mixture will become thick and glossy. Beat in the cream cheese until only small bits remain. Add the flour and salt and mix on low speed just until the flour is moistened, about 10 seconds. Add the pecans and mix for 3 seconds.
Hand Method In the bowl containing the melted chocolate mixture, whisk in the cocoa and then the sugar until incorporated. Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. With a blending fork or wooden spoon, stir in the cream cheese until only small bits remain. Add the flour and salt and stir just until the flour is moistened. Stir in the pecans.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with an offset spatula.
Let the brownie cool in the pan on a wire rack until completely cool to the touch, about 2 hours. To speed cooling, the pan can be set in the refrigerator. Run a small metal spatula between the pan and the parchment to ensure that no batter has leaked through and stuck to the sides. Gently grasp the ends of the parchment and lift it up a little to make sure the brownie will release from the pan. If desired, lift the brownie out of the pan, use a long serrated knife to level the top, then return the brownie to the pan.
Scrape the white chocolate buttercream onto the brownie and, using a small offset spatula, evenly frost it with about
Grasp two of the opposite overhanging edges of the parchment and lift out the brownie. Set it on a countertop. If desired, for perfectly squared off corners, use a serrated knife to trim the sides of the brownie. Use a thin bladed knife, run under warm water and wiped dry between each cut, to cut the brownie into squares. To retain the pristine white of the buttercream, cut straight down and then pull the knife straight out. If desired, cut each square in half diagonally to make triangles.
Starting at the center, with the measuring cup’s spout just above the buttercream, slowly pour the ganache glaze, moving the cup as needed to coat all the buttercream. With the small offset spatula, smooth the glaze evenly on top. Refrigerate for a minimum of 1 hour to set the glaze.
Airtight: room temperature, 1 day; refrigerated, 2 weeks; frozen, 6 months.
Copyright © 2014 by Cordon Rose, LLC. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.