It had to be a specific brownie though. Preferably nut-free, and absolutely, positively frosting-free. I love walnuts, so I can enjoy them in brownies. But the moment frosting is smeared over a pan of brownies, the brownies basically become a sheet cake. Tragic.
Why anyone would want to frost over that gorgeous, paper-thin, crinkly, shiny layer will remain a mystery to me forever. I am very sorry if you like frosting on your
brownies sheet cake (and if I have offended you by the opinions expressed in this post).
Do yourself a favor, keep it simple, and make these amazing brownies. You’ll never need another recipe (or box) again. They are brownies of integrity.
Recipe from America’s Test Kitchen
⅓ cup dutch-processed cocoa powder
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional, but totally recommended)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, very finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons neutral oil
2 large eggs
2 egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ½ cups (17 ½ ounces) sugar
1 ¾ cups (8 ¾ ounces) flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped, almost shaved (*see note below)
Make a parchment paper “sling” for a 9×13 baking pan. This will make them easy to remove. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and move a rack to the lowest position.
Whisk cocoa powder, espresso powder, and boiling water in a large bowl. Whisk in unsweetened chocolate until melted and smooth. Whisk in butter and oil. Whisk in eggs, yolks, and vanilla until smooth. Whisk in sugar. Incorporate the flour with a rubber spatula, then fold in the bittersweet chocolate.
Pour the brownie batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-35 minutes. A toothpick inserted into the center should come out with a few crumbs attached, and it’s definitely better to err on the side of underbaking with brownies.
Cool for an hour and a half in the pan, then lift the brownies onto a cooling rack and cool for another hour. They’ll be much easier to cut if they’re completely cooled.
*Note: Another of my brownie preferences is “chunk-free” (read: no chocolate chips). That’s why I chop the chocolate super fine so that it will melt into the brownies as they bake. But if you like the pockets of melty chocolate, just chop the chocolate into 1/2-inch pieces, or use bittersweet chocolate chips.