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.
- Recipe: Pumpkin Cheesecake Brownies (domestocrat.wordpress.com)
- Honey Cranberry Brownies (romancingthebee.com)
- Chocolate Cocoa Brownies (southerncountrycook.wordpress.com)
- Grand Marnier Brownies (mhoffmann2670.wordpress.com)
- Cocoa Brownies (eatyourtarteout.com)
- My Chocolate and Strawberry Brownie Recipe (mysimpleblogaboutsimplelife.wordpress.com)
- Semisweet Chocolate and Bittersweet Chocolate – What’s The Difference? (berries.com)
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…
Wow! These look so decadent! The coffee sounds like a great addition. Are they really fudgey or do they have a little cakey-ness as well?
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.
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.
Thanks! We give them away to limit our intake…otherwise we can’t help ourselves….chocolate is hard to resist..
I can eat myself sick on good chocolate. But it’s supposed to be good for us. Nuts, red wine and chocolate will give us a longer life. Great excuse!!!!
I guess we will live for a long time! 😉
You got me with “chemistry” and “chocolate.” These look so rich and delicious! And good luck to your son in his play!
Thanks! Our son is having a good time…I think we are more nervous than he is!
My parents said the same thing too when they watched our marching band field shows back in high school. But it shows how much you care about your son (and what great parents you are)!
Best ever; a bold claim my friend! They look fudgey and I’ve never met a fudgey brownie I didn’t like.
Yep, a little bold. But a tummy full of brownies leads to bold claims sometimes… 😉
Oo, yum! Dusting with cocoa powder is a great idea. And… now I want brownies.
Thanks! And we always want brownies… 😉
These do sound completely irresistible. I am not sure if I thank you or not! Ha! I guess the portion control issues are mine to solve! 🙂
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… 😉
Chocolate overload? Why yes, yes please.
Hard to argue with more chocolate….in fact, we wont!
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”!
Reblogged this on Annette J Dunlea Irish Author's Literary Blog.
awesome post and awesome writing!
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.
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… 😉
Woah and I thought my Death by Chocolate Pie had a lot of chocolate! I definitely NEED these!
We need to check out that pie!
OK OK, possibly this weekend. I’ll make it to kill off my dinner party guests on Sunday. Thankfully I’ll survive as off dairy at the moment…. 😦
Have to try this!
It would be great to get your opinion…and you always find ways to improve recipes, hope you give it a try!
I wonder about the white chocolate since that makes it less chocolaty. Is it just for the visual effect?
Visual and a texture difference… a bit softer than the dark chocolate…makes for a better bite (in our opinion).
I suppose that makes sense. I’ll let you know what happens…
Just made these and turned out great! I will definitely make them again. I didn’t make any changes on purpose — just used less different types of dark chocolate. I was a bit worried that there was too much coffee when I tasted the batter, but in the final brownies it’s perfect. They are not as gooey I was expecting and with a good serrated knife I was able to cut them at room temperature (probably because it’s winter). This will be my reference recipe for brownies from now on; thanks for all the work in perfecting this and sharing it with us! Post to follow…
Glad you enjoyed it (we still feel bad about the spiced nuts). This is a recipe we tend to “test” pretty often…
Please don’t feel bad about the nuts — I should have realised when I measured out the amount of sugar.
The post is finally online! http://stefangourmet.com/2013/02/03/chocolate-packed-brownies/
We read it- so awesome. thx! And we will have to try using the darker sugar- that would be even better!
Oh my goodness. I need more chocolate in my life!! These look amazing.
More chocolate is always better!
Challenge accepted. I imagine the quality of chocolate plays largely on the final product. Any recommendations?
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).
yummy! fantastic recipe x
Thanks! They are yummy…no doubt..
Reblogged this on Life. and commented:
More food. I bet Peeta Mellark could bake this blindfolded. Lol. 😛
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…;-)
These DO look like the best brownies ever, and I’m glad you’ve posted this dee-lish recipe.
Reblogged this on Cyprus Life – in pictures and commented:
Mmmmmmmm, they sound delicious – but then again, I’m such a sucker when it comes to desserts 🙂
To do list: try the best brownies ever.
Hope you like them!
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