photo-117 copyBrownies have always been my favorite dessert (for as long as I can remember, at least). When I was younger, I could basically pass on anything sweet unless the thing happened to be a brownie.

photo-116 copy 3It 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.

photo-118 copyWhy 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.

photo-116 copy

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.


6 thoughts on “brownies

  1. I also love brownies, but I don’t have the strong preferences you have. I must say, I’ve never met a brownie I didn’t love! Having said that, I must also say that my very favorite brownie is served at Water Street Oyster Bar, and I also must confess, it has no frosting. So what do you say…let’s go to Corpus come October and have a treat?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s