Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Best Brownies

Captain's Log

New Look! What do we think?

In other news, this is the third apartment from which I've blogged. Can you believe it? Hopefully we'll be settling down soon.

Here's the new kitchen, before we were really moved in:
Always with the spotlights!
And look! We got a real, adult, not-used couch!

Now, back to food. I have this brownie recipe, and I want to share it with you. It's not my own recipe, technically, nor is it a family recipe. I actually got it from… another blog! I feel a little weird about blogging an already-blogged recipe, but on the other hand the original source doesn't show photos of each step so, I mean, I'm bringing way more to the table, right? Right!

These brownies are fudgy and hefty, with a nice crinkly crisp crust on top. They're pretty much what everyone wants out of a brownie, in my opinion. (Conventional brownie discussions claim there's a group that likes "cake-like" and a group that likes "fudgy," but, honestly, who wants cake-y brownies? The gloopy factor is part of the definition of brownie. Just have cake instead!)

Here's the recipe, from
  • 1 1/4c flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2T cocoa powder (the darker the better)
  • 11oz coarsely chopped dark chocolate (I think hacked-up choc chips would be fine!)
  • 2 sticks of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp instant espresso powder (I used instant coffee and.. more on that later)
  • 1 1/4c sugar
  • 1/2c brown sugar
  • 5 eggs, room temp
  • 2 tsp vanilla
 To start, preheat the oven to 350° and grease a pan. The original recipe calls for a 9"x13" pan, but, well, the only pan I have that meets these specs is glass and a little sloped on the edges, making the edge pieces thinner than the inner pieces. I don't like that. Instead I chose to use a wedding gift, a 9"x9" pan, and hope for the best. I tried to use parchment scraps along the bottom so I could "lift the brownies out" when they were cooled, but, well, it didn't work. DO NOT follow my lead here:

That said, this size pan made for nice, thick brownies.
Then mix the first three ingredients…
This is kosher salt. Maybe use a little less if you only have regular table salt?
Then melt the butter and 11oz chocolate in a double boiler… though I'm sure in a pinch you could use a microwave instead. Just be careful not to burn the chocolate.
4oz Ghirardelli 
4oz Baker's
"A bag of chocolate chips is 12oz? Why didn't I notice that before buying three bars of baking chocolate??"
Kitchen scale = wedding gift <3
Butter? No, there's no butter in this.
And add the espresso powder too…
Maybe a whisk was not the best choice
Quick note on the espresso powder: the wisdom is that coffee makes chocolate taste a little darker, a little richer. I couldn't find espresso powder in my grocery, so I got house brand instant coffee. Is there a difference, you ask? Most definitely! What is that difference? I have no idea! I can tell you that in the finished brownies I could detect a hint of "coffee-ish" flavor, whereas I THINK that the espresso effect would have been a little softer, or deeper, or less obvious. I'm thinking espresso may have a more complex flavor that is less immediately recognizable as "COFFEE." Maybe? This is a guess. On the other hand, I stopped drinking coffee a few months ago, so perhaps I'm just more sensitive to it now. 

IN CONCLUSION: Use espresso powder if you can, it'll be delicious and not too mocha-y. It is also okay to skip this ingredient if you can't be bothered to seek it out. 

Stir and slowly melt the chocolate, butter, and coffee until it is smooth and lovely.
Then you can add the sugars. As always, I added a little less than the original recipe prescribed… I think I did 1 1/4c white sugar instead of 1 1/2c. I made this decision because it sounded like a lot of sugar to me, especially considering that the chocolate was not unsweetened to begin with.
Mix dem sugars, then remove from heat and add three of the five eggs…
Mix it up, add the other two eggs, then add 2tsp vanilla…
And gently fold in the flour mixture…
"Do not overmix!" - Every recipe
When you're finished, it looks like this:
The original instructions said to bake this for 30 minutes, but remember! That was for a 9"x13" pan. I think these took more like 45-50 minutes, though honestly I lost track of the total time because I kept checking, adding a few mins, then checking, adding a few mins, and so forth. Just have a toothpick handy and bake them til they're done, and if anything err on the side of slightly underdone since they will continue to cook a little bit after you take them out of the oven.

Then you can proceed however you like best when it comes to brownies. Eat them straight out of the pan with a fork, while they're hot? Go for it! Cut them out of the pan? Do it! Let them cool completely and then remove them and stack them neatly on a platter? Go nuts!

I made these for some friends of ours who just had a baby, so I chose the third option. Very uncharacteristic. 

I mean… look at that
I'm happy to say these are the type of brownie that you can cut very small, but no one will care, because they're super heavy and rich and perfect. Have some milk handy!


  1. These really were the best brownies ever! We managed to make them last almost 48 hours! Thanks again!