Separating The Best From The Rest: The Ultimate Brownie Recipes

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For the past month now, we have been dealing with a bit of an oven fiasco. None of the repairmen seem to know what’s wrong with it and how to fix it. As someone who bakes about every day, this has been extremely painful.

Last night we had a glimmer of hope. The lower oven started responding to the dials when we did an experimental run. My dad asked if there was anything I wanted to bake.

“Brownies!” my mom yelled, “Hurry!”

We all held our breath waiting for the oven to go out, but it stayed on, miraculously. It must have known how badly we needed something that was baked, rich, and chocolately.

Brownies are a classic that everyone can make. You don’t need any fancy equipment and they are quick and easy. Navigating the infinite recipes from cookbooks and the Internet can get overwhelming and is not always reliable. Trust me, there is nothing more disappointing than a bad brownie!

There are a few things to look for in a brownie recipe to know whether or not it’ll be a keeper. A keeper brownie is one that is the perfect height- not too thin nor too thick, fudgy, moist, slightly chewy, and huge on chocolate taste.

Here are the qualities of a keeper brownie recipe:

1. Lots of eggs

2. Lots of butter

3. Real chocolate, with or without additional cocoa powder

Simple, but true. Eggs may get bad press from time to time, but they are an invaluable baking ingredient. Eggs contain lecithin, an emulsifier, which evenly distributes fat particles throughout the batter. This creates a very tender finished product.  Eggs also add lots of moisture.

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Butter is more obvious, it adds flavor, richness, moisture, and texture to baked goods. When melted, it produces a cakier texture.

Using chocolate in a brownie recipe simply makes them more gooey (and certainly increases the chocolate taste!). A good-quality cocoa powder adds an intense chocolate flavor to baked goods, but if you’re going for something that is more dense and fudgelike, use real chocolate.

Below are two of my favorite brownie recipes. The first is a thicker brownie and the epitome of a “keeper brownie”. Instant espresso powder adds a further note of complexity to the chocolate flavor. It’s the brownie photographed for this post, since that’s what was on hand at the time. You will not be disappointed.

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The second recipe is so rich the brownie itself  melts in your mouth- and so fudgy that it’s almost creamy in texture.

One last rule of thumb: Check your brownies 10 minutes before they are supposed to be done. Sometimes they will be done early. Brownies can go from being perfect to overbaked very quickly!

The Baked Brownie (Baked by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito)

  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 11 ounces coarsely chopped dark chocolate (60 to 70% cacao)
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 5 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch baking pan.

In medium bowl, whisk flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.

Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth.

Turn off heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature-not too hot.

Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Don’t overbeat the batter.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture until just a bit of flour mixture is visable.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.

Let the brownies cool completely before cutting for easiest handling.

Brownies (The Pastry Queen by Rebecca Rather)

  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease and lightly flour a 9 x 9 inch baking pan.

Melt butter and chocolate in a medium metal bowl over a saucepan filled with 2 inches of simmering water. Sitr until chocolate has melted completely.

Add the sugar and eggs to the choolate mixture, whisk about 1 minute until the mixture is glossy and smooth. Stir in the flour, salt, and vanilla. Do not overmix.

Pour into the prepared pan and bake until the brownies are just firm to the touch, about 30 minutes. Cool on wire rack. These are very dense so they cut best when completely cool.

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There Are 2 Responses So Far. »

  1. Thank you very much for posting this great recipe on the brownies. My wife enjoyed makingthese brownies. Thank you.

    Stuart

  2. That’s an amazing brownie!

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