You hear of pregnancy cravings, but is a postpartum craving a legitimate thing? Because if so, I've had one for brownies ever since the twins were born. A month ago (sidenote - they are already a month old??). Understandably, my baking time is limited, so I just recently got around to fulfilling my craving. And I have three words for you: worth the wait.
These brownies are pretty famous. Oprah has included them in her list of "Favorite Things." America's Test Kitchen declared them to be the best brownies ever. As did the Today show. Dozens of bloggers have agreed. This is the ultimate brownie.
Here's what makes these brownies stand out (in my humble opinion): Five eggs. Five. This helps give them that chewy, fudgy perfection that I love so much in a brownie. Eleven ounces of dark chocolate - making them intensely chocolately. Espresso powder - brings out the chocolate flavor. Dark cocoa powder - again, more chocolate. And ever so slightly underbaking them - by just a minute or two. This helps them retain that wonderful chewiness. Otherwise, you're getting into dry, cakey territory. And nobody wants that.
A few things to note: in order to achieve brownie greatness, use the highest quality chocolate you can. Please, no Baker's Chocolate!! Also, be sure your eggs are at room temp, and don't over mix them when you whisk them into the batter. I stopped whisking just before they were fully incorporated, since I would be mixing in the flour next, and I figured the eggs would be completely incorporated through that. And finally, be very careful not to over bake them. I took mine out when they were still slightly under baked, and it produced the best brownie I've ever eaten. Err, the best 12 brownies that I've ever eaten...
... and just as a PSA, these brownies make an excellent snack at 3am if you should happen to be awake and hungry.... not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.
The Baked Brownie
barely adapted from Baked, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito
yield: 24 brownies
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 Tbs Dutch process cocoa powder
- 11 oz dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into tablespoon pieces
- 2 tsp instant coffee (or 1 tsp instant espresso powder)
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and butter the sides of a 9x13 inch baking dish (the empty butter wrappers work really well for this).
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
Combine the chopped chocolate, butter, and instant coffee in a large microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the ingredients at 20-30 second intervals, stirring well after each time. When the chocolate is melted, whisk in the granulated and brown sugars. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining 2 eggs and the vanilla, and whisk until just incorporated.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate and use a spatula to fold it into the chocolate mixture, stopping when just a little flour is still visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through baking time. When a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs sticking to it, remove the brownies from the oven. I started checking them around 23 minutes, and took them out around 26 I think (my oven tends to cook things a little faster). Cool completely, then cut into squares.