Bake these gourmet brownies with the tips of Kokak Chocolates
It’s quite possible that even you, a die-hard chocolate addict, may not yet know about San Francisco’s Kokak chocolates. Founder and chief chocolate maker Carol Gancia opened her boutique, specializing in single-origin, small-batch chocolate, in the midst of the pandemic last summer, with everyone staying close to home. But this LGBTQ women-owned chocolate business in the Castro neighborhood is definitely worth a visit.
Gancia, an Irish-Filipino immigrant, grew up in Manila in a family that loved chocolate. When she moved to San Francisco in 2004, chocolate was her passion, but not her career. She was a television producer for the show “Check Please!” Bay Area ”and“ Jacques Pépin: No more fast food my way ”.
But as Gancia got more involved in the chocolate world, she fell in love with a single-origin chocolate called Naciónal, a rare cocoa variety sourced from the province of Manabí in Ecuador and protected by the Heirloom Cacao Preservation Fund. . Its genetic lineage dates back to the oldest known cocoa trees, cultivated around 5,300 years ago.
Gancia uses this distinctive, fair-trade variety in all of its products, including its sensational brownies. But if you can’t get your hands on Naciónal, don’t let that stop you from making these rich, dense brownies. Use the best quality chocolate you can afford, says Gancia. (Guittard is always a good choice.) And don’t be afraid to use darker chocolate instead of bitter chocolate. The trick to these dense textured brownies? Bake them in small cupcake molds.
Tip: you can cook them a day or two in advance.
Black brownie cupcakes with your favorite nuts
1¼ cup butter (2½ sticks)
1⁄2 cup all-purpose flour
1⁄2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1⁄3 teaspoon of salt
3 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 3⁄4 tablespoons brown sugar
3⁄4 teaspoon of vanilla paste (or vanilla extract)
3⁄4 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate, melted
1 cup chopped bittersweet chocolate
1/2 cup walnuts of your choice, toasted and chopped
Raw whole walnut pieces for garnish
Leave enough room in the freezer to hold a 12-unit cupcake pan.
Place the butter in a bowl in the microwave for about 30 seconds or in a pot on the stovetop and cook over low heat until half-melted. Stir until smooth. The butter should be creamy and opaque.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder and salt together. Put aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk, combine the eggs, sugars and vanilla, beating to combine well. Add the flour mixture and butter, alternating between the two and scraping the sides of the bowl between each addition.
Add the melted chocolate and mix until well blended. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, stir in chopped chocolate and chopped toasted nuts, stirring only until combined.
Cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 1 to 2 hours in a cool place. (Do not store it in the refrigerator.)
Preheat the convection oven to 325 degrees.
Divide the dough into 12 cavities of your cupcake mold. Garnish with a whole walnut or two on top. Bake for 14 to 16 minutes.
Immediately transfer the pan to the freezer to stop the baking process. Let your brownies cool for 15 minutes in the freezer. Take out of the freezer and unmold. Finish cooling to room temperature.
– Courtesy of Carol Gancia, Kokak chocolates