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.

I'm providing you with a half-recipe (for an 8 x 8-inch pan) because that's what I make most often. It's kind of a pain because you need 2 1/2 eggs. Whatever. There's a link to the full version below as well. The only real tweak I made is to 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

This is the halved version of the original recipe, which you can see here. For the dark chocolate, I use Valrhona 71% Cacao that I buy at Trader Joe's. For the chips, I use Ghirardelli semisweet. 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. If you want to use an ice bath, you can't use a glass baking dish or the dramatic change in temperature could break it.

Makes one 8 x 8” dish


½ cup plus 2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1 tbsp dark or Dutch unsweetened cocoa powder
½ tsp salt
5 ½ oz dark chocolate (around 71%)
½ cup unsalted butter, cut into 8 chunks
½ tsp instant espresso powder
¾ cup granulated sugar
¼ cup packed dark brown sugar
2 ½ large eggs (125 grams), at ROOM TEMPERATURE and lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
½ cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 8 x 8-inch light-colored metal baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper (or line the pan with non-stick foil, leaving an overhand over to opposite 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 the eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Whisk in the vanilla. Do not over mix at this stage or brownies may be cakey.

Add the flour mixture to the chocolate and fold with a rubber spatula (not a whisk) until just combined. Fold in chocolate chips. Pour into prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 23 to 24 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. When completely cool, cut into 9, 12 or 16 pieces and serve. The brownies freeze well; defrost at room temperature.