Thursday, October 03, 2013

The "Baked" Brownie, aka My All-Time Favorite Brownies

I've made some great brownie recipes in recent years. Some are on this blog and some aren't. This one is NOT, and I've probably baked it more times than any other recipe. So. Finally. I give you my absolute favorite brownie. It's from the book, Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by the owners of a wildly popular bakery in Brooklyn.

This recipe is wildly popular too. Pretty much anyone with a food blog has tried it. I'll tell you, though, it lives up to the hype. It's so, so good. So dense and fudgy, so packed with chocolate, so satisfying. The original recipe does not include any add-ins, but I love chocolate chips in my brownies, so there they are. I've also used peanut butter chips, which are pretty insane too.

If I feel like making the effort, I sometimes quick-cool the brownies in an ice bath. You can eat them sooner this way, but it also does some other good things, which I talk about in the recipe. If you like the decidedly fudgy brownie style and you want an ultimate chocolate fix, this is for you!

The "Baked" Brownie aka My Favorite Brownies
Adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito

For the dark chocolate, I use Valrhona 71% Cacao that I buy at Trader Joe's. For the chips, I use Ghirardelli bittersweet. Quick-cooling the brownies (a trick from author and pastry chef, Alice Medrich) in an ice bath is optional, but I really like it (the brownies are great either way though). You're less likely to have over done edges, and I think it helps create that fudgy, yet light, texture that makes these so good. I've also baked them in a glass Pyrex dish and skipped the ice bath, which works fine too (Never put a hot glass dish in ice water, or it could break!).

Makes one 9 x 13" dish


1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour (150 g)
2 tbsp dark or Dutch unsweetened cocoa powder (12 g)
1 tsp flaky sea salt
11 oz dark chocolate (around 71%)
1 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
2 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300 g)
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar (110 g)
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips (I like Ghirardelli bittersweet), optional


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9 x 13-inch light-colored metal baking pan or glass baking dish with nonstick foil, leaving a few inches of overhang on the long sides. 

Add dark chocolate, butter and espresso powder to a medium saucepan and place over medium heat. Stir occasionally until completely melted. Add both sugars and whisk for about 10 seconds. Remove from heat and continue whisking until completely combined; set aside for about 5 minutes to cool.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder and salt; set aside. Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Whisk in the vanilla. Do not over mix at this stage or brownies may be cakey.

Add the chocolate to the flour mixture and fold with a rubber spatula until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 34 to 36 minutes, or until top is slightly puffed and glossy and a toothpick comes out with a few moist crumbs.

About 5 minutes before brownies finish baking fill a large shallow container (a roasting pan works really well) about halfway up with ice water. You need to be able to fit the baking pan inside without getting the brownies wet, so the water should come about halfway up the baking pan, which will float. This is easier than it sounds; you'll see what I mean. As soon as the brownies are done, place them in the ice water. This will stop the cooking faster so the edges don't get over done; it cools the brownies a lot faster so you can eat them sooner. Cool in the ice water for 30 minutes to 1 hour. If you not doing the ice bath, cool on a wire rack. You can refrigerate the cooled brownies for a few hours before slicing to get a nice, clean cut. When completely cool, cut into squares. The brownies freeze well; defrost at room temperature.