Alice Medrich is not called The Queen of Chocolate for nothing. The lady knows her stuff.
My first introduction to Alice was through her most recent book Pure Dessert, which I absolutely adore. Everything I made from it was so delicious, I had to get more of her books. Many of them are out of print, unfortunately, and therefore quite pricey. I did, however add Bittersweet to my collection. I bought it used in like new condition on Amazon for quite cheap, though when it arrived, it was not quite in the condition I expected it to be in. I was about to complain to the seller, when I started leafing through the book, and there on the title page was Alice's signature. Well, it was rather thrilling to be holding a book that she had held, and I felt like anything I decided to make from it was destined to be amazing. I don't think the seller knew it was autographed, because those copies usually go for $50 or so, and mine was around $7...
These brownies are absolutely amazing. The chocolate in them is cocoa powder, not cocoa solids, which Alice says gives the softest center and crunchiest crust. The brownie is topped coconut macaroon clumps. Oh my. You must make these.
The brownie recipe is available here on Epicurious.
For the coconut macaroon topping:
1 large egg white
1 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup sugar
pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Combine all ingredients in heat proof bowl, preferably stainless steel, and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir the mixture, stirring to prevent burning, until it is very hot to the touch and the egg white have slightly thickened and turned opaque, about 3-4 minutes.
Using your fingers to drop clumps of the coconut topping over the brownie batter, and bake until brownies puff at the edges and the shreds of coconut turn deep golden brown and crusty. About 25 minutes.* Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Lift by parchment sling and cut brownies into 25 squares.
* Alice says 25 minutes, though I've made these twice and both times they needed more in the ballpark of 40-45 minutes. In order to avoid over-browning of the coconut, I tented my brownies with foil as soon as they were deep golden.