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.
(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
- Place a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees.
- Butter a 12 x 18 x 1 baking sheet and dust with cocoa powder.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Chill the brownies in the fridge for at least an hour and then slice and serve.
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