Monday, July 21, 2008

The Perfect Brownie. There, I Said It.

I apologize if the post title shocked or scandalized you, but I had to be bold, to make a statement: I have, in fact, found my perfect brownie. Now, I understand that people's ideas of the "perfect" anything, especially brownie, are different, so fear not... I will not try to impose my own personal brownie beliefs on you. But you might as well know where I stand. Most importantly, in the fudgy vs. cakey battle, I fight for the fudgy side, with the caveat that I do like my brownies to have a little structure. I see these ridiculously low amounts of flour--like 1/4 cup--in recipes, and I find myself wanting more than just a big pan of chocolate, butter, sugar, and eggs.

I have fond memories of childhood baking. One of the most fun moments in the kitchen was with my sister, making brownies from a cookbook we had just gotten called Kids Cooking: A Slightly Messy Manual by Klutz (as a side note, one of my friends swears by the chocolate chip cookie recipe in there, but we all know I have my favorite). She and I worked together, cooking up a storm, to make a pan of these brownies, and they were absolutely wonderful, garnering rave reviews from all who partook. And we never made them again because we lost the book.

For the next several years, I would make brownies and think of how they paled in comparison to the joyous chocolatey morsels that emerged from the oven that one evening many years ago. It was not until college that I decided to search on Google for two words, "brownies+Klutz," and, miraculously, I found the recipe and immediately (not kidding!) made brownies for my friends, who declared them the best brownies they had ever had. This is good stuff, people. And then, I went home and, equally miraculously, found the cookbook hiding behind other volumes! What joy, what rapture!

And so, readers, now that I have regaled you with a heartfelt childhood story, I urge you to try this brownie recipe (and it's one bowl, too!). If you wish, you may substitute 3 ounces unsweetened chocolate for the cocoa powder, but I'd try the original recipe first just to experience for yourself the enchanting brownies that have lived in my memories for years. Be sure to measure the flour lightly. This is different from the other recipes on this blog because, for this particular recipe, measure flour as follows: first, place the measuring cup on the counter and fluff up the flour with a regular spoon. Then, take a spoonful of flour and plop it into your measuring cup. Do not shake, tap, or otherwise disturb the measuring cup. Just keep going by taking another spoonful of flour and plopping it into the cup. Repeat until flour mounds over top of cup, and level off with knife. Trust me, if you just irreverently dip the measuring cup into the flour, take a big ol' scoop, and level, you'll have too much flour in the recipe, so please, for this recipe, follow the method. Do it for me. And for brownies, of course.

Okay, enough of this technical talk. Make these brownies and brace yourself because they are out of this world!

The Brownies Dreams Are Made Of
Makes 12 to 16 brownies.
Adapted from Kids Cooking.
2 cups granulated white sugar
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
150 grams (1 1/4 cups sifted) all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt

** Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. **

1. Grease an 8-inch (9-inch) square or 13- by 9-inch rectangular pan for thick or thin brownies, respectively.
2. In large mixing bowl, combine sugar and cocoa powder with whisk until homogeneous.
3. Add melted butter and whisk to combine.
4. Add eggs, all at once, and vanilla, and whisk vigorously until well incorporated.
5. Sprinkle flour and salt over wet ingredients and whisk. Finished batter should be smooth and satiny.
6. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes (8x8 in.) or 20 to 25 minutes (13x9 in.), or until toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs.
7. Cool completely on wire rack before serving, if you can wait that long.


Anonymous said...

I've searched high and low for a perfect brownie recipe. I'm in the chewy camp as well, so I think I'll give these a try. Do you ever add nuts to brownies? I'm not a fan of the texture, but I like the taste. A bit of nut liqueur like Frangelico goes nicely.

Chris said...

I usually don't add nuts to brownies because I prefer the brownie to be nice and smooth--if I ever did feel the urge to put nuts in brownies, I'd probably sprinkle them on top because they do taste delicious. The liqueur sounds like a great idea. Let me know how these turn out if you make them! :-)

Julia said...

you can cut these into heart shaped brownies for Valentines and then the left over brownie while it's still warm can be rolled into balls and then into coconut or cocoa powder.

anita enriquez said...

I'm so glad to find this! I, too, had this cookbook as a kid, and the brownies may have been the only thing I ever made, but I made them often! I haven't made it in years but I have been craving them for three days! they are in the oven as I type!