Saturday, March 31, 2012
Sweet Saturday: the best fudge brownies ever
Are you one of those people who like the corner brownies?
I have a little bit of a reputation among my friends when it comes to my brownies. One day, two of my friends CD and MK were moving to a new apartment. I went over to help them pack and move, and of course brought some food to keep our energy up. I brought a pan of cornerless brownies. And I mean all four corner slices were gone. And it turns out MK also liked the corner brownie. Oops. But, I call it quality control. It needs to be done, right? ;-)
Anyway. I'm not exaggerating. This is the best brownie recipe. I don't know why it took so long for me to post a brownie recipe - I guess I always assume everyone has a go-to brownie recipe. But even if you do, give this a try. It's worth it.
The Best Fudge Brownies Ever (adapted from the recipe printed on the sack of King Arthur flour - and yes that is how the recipe title reads in the package)
1 cup (2 sticks or 8 ounces) unsalted butter
2 cups sugar (original recipe states 2 1/4, but I always reduce by a little bit)
1 1/4 cups Dutch-process, unsweetened cocoa
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/2 tablespoon instant espresso powder (my addition, a la Barefoot Contessa)
4 large eggs*
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts**
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x13x2-inch pan. I always line the bottom with parchment paper, just to make my life easier. Because there is nothing worse than chocolaty goodness that you can't get out of a pan.
2. Using a heavy-bottomed sauce pan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat briefly, just till it's hot, but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the butter and sugar a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl and let cool slightly.
3. Meanwhile, mix the flour, salt, and baking powder in a separate bowl. Whisk to make sure that the salt and baking powder are distributed throughout the flour.
4. To the melted butter, stir in the cocoa, vanilla, and espresso powder. I like to sift the cocoa powder to break up the lumps and make it easier to incorporate with the other ingredients. The little bit of espresso powder enhances the flavor of the chocolate - a tip I learned from my BFF Ina Garten/"Barefoot Contessa" (only she doesn't know it, haha). Add the eggs (or "flaxseed eggs"), beating till smooth, then mix in the dry ingredients, chocolate chips, and nuts.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
6. Bake the brownies for 28-30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry (though it may have a few crumbs clinging to it, which is fine). The brownies should feel set both on the edges, and in the center.
7. Allow to cool slightly, then after 5 minutes, loosen the edges/sides with a table knife; this helps prevent the brownies from sinking in the center as they cool.
8. Cool completely before slicing.
* I also was able to substitute "flaxseed eggs" when making this for someone with egg allergies. For each egg, mix 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed with 3 tablespoons water.
** Some of you may be purists when it comes to brownies, and prefer not to have nuts in them, in which case you can use 2 cups of chocolate chips. I've also tried other variations such as chopped chocolate covered espresso beans, and cacao nibs.
These brownies are excellent either cold out of the fridge or warmed slightly in the microwave and topped with vanilla ice cream.
See how dense and fudgy they are? It's like biting into a bar of dark chocolate. I mean, this is maximum chocolate density per square inch.