The Best Brownies Ever

The best brownies ever.

Baking, in its purest form, is chemistry. Baking has rules, exact measurements, chemical reactions and controlled variables. Baking is science. But like many sciences, once you master the basics (after many, many reps), you begin to move into the realm of art. Each recipe is a canvas to be tuned and tweaked for new textures and flavors. New dishes emerge, but without undoing the fundamental chemistry of the dish. The hard science yields to something evolutionary. The magic seeps through. Those moments of evolution are rewarding for the cook, and the eater, alike.

And while it is a big leap to say we have the “best” anything, these brownies do represent Carolyn’s never-ending quest to pack as much chocolate into every brownie as is humanly (and scientifically) possible. When we say “best” chocolate brownies, we mean it. We are talking about a couple of pounds of chocolate, and chocolate in every, single, possible step. Chips, chunks, cocoa powder, melted and whole chocolate every way you can. And while we don’t have scientific data to back it up, we bet most people will be ok with that. Most people need want more chocolate in their brownies. Most people need want more chocolate in their lives…..

The recipe we use is classic “brownie 101″, but Carolyn has additions that make the difference between just good and the best. Carolyn greases the baking sheet and then dusts with cocoa powder, rather than flour. The recipe has two flavors of melted chocolate and then bittersweet and white chocolate chunks (instead of nuts). Carolyn uses instant coffee to amp the chocolate flavor (coffee enhances chocolate). And finally a sprinkle of salt adds a delightful contrast to the dark chocolate, the salt enhances the chocolate and sugar, yet keeps the flavors from becoming cloying. The salt makes each bite as good as the first. In the end you get a dense, moist and very chocolatey brownie with just a little extra everything. These brownies are gooey, but they do hold together (best to chill in the fridge before slicing). Carolyn essentially added chocolate to the recipe until the eggs and flour couldn’t hold any more. And yes, we thoroughly enjoyed the experiments getting to this point.

So now the question is, “what do we do with all these brownies?” We save a few for ourselves, but this batch will be sold as a snack at the intermission of our eldest son’s school play. Carolyn is already well-known at school for her cupcakes, so we bet the brownies will be a hit. We think the play will be a hit as well, and we will save a brownie for our son. Break a leg kid!

Carolyn’s Super Chocolate Brownies:

Notes Before You Start:

  • If you want clean, evenly sliced brownies, it is important to refrigerate these brownies before you slice them.

What You Get: The best brownies ever. Yup, we will stand by that.

What You Need: No special equipment required, but a 12 x 18 x 1 sheet pan helps. Otherwise adjust cooking time to the size and depth of your baking pan.

How Long? About an hour, with another hour or more to chill in the fridge.

Ingredients:

(Makes 20-30 brownies)

  • 1 pound unsalted butter
  • 1 pound, plus 12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
  • 6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, in chunks
  • 6 extra-large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla extract
  • 2 and 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cup white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips
  • Cocoa powder, for dusting pan

Assemble:

  1. Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
  2. Butter a 12 x 18 x 1 baking sheet and dust with cocoa powder.
  3. Place a medium bowl over simmering water and melt together the butter, 1 pound of the semisweet chocolate chips and unsweetened chocolate. Allow to cool a few minutes.
  4. In a large bowl, lightly stir together the eggs, coffee powder, vanilla and sugar. Stir the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture and allow to cool to room temperature.
  5. In a medium bowl, sift together 1 cup of the flour, the baking powder and 1 teaspoon of the salt. Add to the chocolate mixture.
  6. In a medium bowl combine the 12 oz. semisweet, 1 cup white  and 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chips with the 1/4 cup flour. Add the floured chips to the chocolate batter. Pour the batter into the baking sheet. Sprinkle the remaining 1 teaspoon of salt on top of the batter.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes and then rap the baking sheet to let any trapped air escape. Bake for 15 minutes more, or until a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out clean. Remove from the oven and cool on a rack until room temperature.
  8. Chill the brownies in the fridge for at least an hour and then slice and serve.
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62 thoughts on “The Best Brownies Ever

  1. oh goodness–swoon city. Was just feeling brownie-ish a few days ago. Thanks for the recipe:-) Also, FYI–just received Miette cookbook in mail. Purchased after reading your election cupcake post. Can’t wait to get baking (and candy making!).

    • Thanks- the brownies are great (but happy to get them out of the house- otherwise they “disappear” faster than they should.

      We hope you enjoy the Miette cookbook. It helped our baking quite a bit…

    • Just enough flour to keep them from being like fudge. You still get some texture and “give”. But they are right on the edge…no doubt about that.

      Coffee does help chocolate in all sort of applications- try a dash it in your chocolate sauce, it rocks.

  2. This is so close to heaven. Have to check for all the ingredients first at my supermarket.
    It’s the drops I’m worried about and I will make half the amount – otherwise I eat myself sick.

    • Funny, but sometimes we finish a very rich, tasty dish and all we can think about is how to get rid of the rest of it! Sometimes “generosity” is a necessity!

      It is easier to control portions when the food is already out of the house… ;-)

  3. If you use walnuts, you will not need salt to provide a flavor contrast to the chocolate — the bitterness of the walnuts does that and walnuts are better for you than salt (unless you are allergic). I clearly don’t like brownies as sweet as you do — I would never add white chocolate to them: I find it cloying unless combined with mint or lemon.

    • You are totally right about the walnuts as another means of balancing the sweetness.

      We don’t enjoy their bitter notes as much as the unsweetened chocolate, cocoa powder and the salt. Really a matter of taste and texture (and frankly one of our kids hates whole nuts…go figure).

      You might be surprised with the white chocolate chunks. They are balanced by the salt and unsweetened chocolate. They are sweet, but are more noticed for their smoother texture than with flavor. But the idea of a touch of mint or lemon is worth another “experiment”!

  4. These certainly look great! I will pass the recipe to my mother who has been testing brownie recipies for decades, always in search of the best ever! With any luck I will get to try them.

  5. Finally coming down from techno-insanity-mind-melt of blog re-do. Believe am currently suffering from psychosomatic poison oak, although considering evidence, dermatologist begs to differ.

    Brownie-porn and tumbler of hard liquor helping immensely (that’s ‘tumbler’…not ‘Tumblr’ -thank gawwwd!).

    Much thanks to Carolyn should be passed on as dedication to scientific chocolate packing is much appreciated by the garden-weary this evening.

    • Curious where you went…but saw the new site and figured that you experienced great pain…such is tech…

      Good to see you back! Now go have a drink and a brownie (or a cupcake), your choice… ;-)

    • Scharffenberger for all the chopped chocolate. Guittard white chocolate. Ghiardelli bittersweet also good. And Valrhona for the cocoa powder. (We bake a lot.)

      BTW- Nestle semi-sweet chips also just fine for this dish (easy to find).

  6. I dunno. I live within walking distance of Salted Caramel Killer Brownies, which are evil enough as it is. I cannot imagine being able to make the best brownie within my home! I’ve bookmarked this, because it looks so delicious. Thank you!

    • Thanks for the kind words…

      It is a bit much to say these are the best…as we’ve received a few suggestions on better brownies already..

      But we are always open to better recipes…;-)

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