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applesauce cake

adapted from Gale Gand's Applesauce Cake 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened to room temperature 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light), ...

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

update: "the best brownies" are now "the perfect brownies!"

it's time for me to update my recipe for "the best brownies," because I tweaked the recipe a little and made them, in a word, perfect. the changes required actually make them a little more simple to make, and the ingredients a bit easier to find. who knew? also, doubling the recipe and baking in a slightly larger pan made them the ideal thickness. you can cut this recipe in half, but you will need to find a pan smaller than 8 x 8 inches to make them come out right. I prefer to make a bigger batch, and find the "extra" brownies disappear just as quickly.

these have everything I want in a brownie, and nothing I don't: a crisp, crunchy top, delicious, fudgy interior and wonderfully chocolately, sweet, rich, balanced flavor. an added bonus: I've made the mixing technique much less fussy, but it still yields excellent results. here's the new recipe:

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
  • 2 ounces unsweetened baking chocolate, chopped or broken up into approximately 1/2" pieces
  • 4 eggs
  • 2-1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup regular cocoa (not Dutch-processed -- the naturally slightly acidic flavor of regular cocoa makes a very important difference in the flavor. the brownies need that extra acidity to be perfect! and regular cocoa is available everywhere and often less expensive
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • a little more than 1/2 teaspoon salt (this makes a big difference -- you can go all the way up to just shy of 1 teaspoon, if you're using kosher salt)
  • 1-1/3 cup flour, unsifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
preheat the oven to 350 °F. butter and flour an 9 x 13 inch baking pan. place chopped chocolate in hot melted butter and allow chocolate to melt while preparing other ingredients. in a large bowl, gently whisk the eggs (you do not want to incorporate extra air here; brownies are best when dense and just barely leavened) with the sugar, cocoa, vanilla, and salt. pour in the melted butter and chocolate, and stir or gently whisk to combine thoroughly (but do not overbeat).  sift the flour and baking powder directly over the bowl, all at once. again, gently whisk it all together until just combined -- i.e., no streaks of flour unincorporated; batter is thick and homogenous. using a flexible spatula or spoon, scrape the brownie batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly and smothing the top out a bit. bake for 25 minutes. test center for doneness and continue to bake, checking every 5 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. cool on a rack and enjoy. while warm brownies smell incredible, in my opinion they taste even better when cool.

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