July 13, 2012
THE Most Perfect Brownie on the Planet
That title is quite the statement, I know. But it is, in fact, a statement of fact. Maybe you've heard of this brownie, since it has been earmarked by America's Test Kitchen as their favorite, and has even made Oprah's list of her "favorite things". There's a lot of good press out there for this brownie, and with good reason.
They. Are. Incredible.
Moist, dense, fudgy, and rich, with the perfect crust on top... And, *bonus*, the recipe makes a 9x13" pan full! None of this 8x8" nonsense. It is what dreams are made of. Well, what my dreams are made of.
Which is why, on this the auspicious date of my birth, I am sharing it with you.
I have always adored brownies from a mix. They are always moist and fudgy. In the past, my homemade brownies were not chocolatey enough or were too cakey, and left me wanting brownies from a mix -- isn't that just wrong? Homemade should always be better. You just need the right recipe.
This is the right recipe.
It comes from the Baked Bakery in NYC (previously referenced here), and was published in their first cookbook, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking. Every recipe I've tried from this book is fantastic, but this recipe is worth the price of admission alone.
Happily for you, however, I will share it with you. And once you've tried this one, go get the book. Call it my birthday present to you. ;D
The Baked Brownie
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz. dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 c. (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. instant espresso powder (optional, and I skip it)
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13-inch glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Put the chocolate, and butter (and instant espresso powder, if using) in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey. (And that's just unacceptable.)
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a rubber spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into squares and serve.
Store at room temperature in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap for up to 3 days. (Ha! Like they would hang around that long...)