I take my brownies very seriously. I’m not kidding when I say that I’ve studied them. Over the years, I have made a ton of different versions, many different times. Of all the different recipes, I’m sharing my absolute favorite here with you.
Here’s my perfect brownie: very rich, thick, dark, with a satisfying top layer. It should have a chew to it, with no dryness to be found. Of course, my brownies will never have nuts of any kind, but I do love chocolate chips baked-in. The center should be extremely decadent, but I’ll reach for the texture of a corner-piece, every time.
If all of that sounds like perfection to you, these are the brownies you should make as soon as possible.
This recipe is great, as it requires no machinery. It’s best if all ingredients are mixed by-hand, with a good old fashioned bowl and spatula. I separate the parts of the recipe into bowls A-D, so that it’s easy to organize and manage.
Let’s do this!
Recipe for Deep, Dark, Decadent Brownies
Here’s what you’ll need:
Prepare four different bowls with the ingredients listed below. You’ll work with bowls A through D in-order. Bowl B should be your largest bowl, since it will end up holding all of the ingredients.
2 and 2/3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
6 oz. unsweetened blocks of pure cocoa (product typically comes in 2 oz. blocks or cubes)
2 sticks (1 cup) salted butter, cut into pats
6 extra large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 teaspoons brewed espresso
If you don’t care for the taste of espresso, you can substitute the vanilla and espresso measurements listed above, for 2 tablespoons pure vanilla extract.
2 and 1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
To make a gluten-free version of these brownies, substitute all purpose flour with gluten-free flour. I typically use Pamela’s Artisan Blend.
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 and 1/2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
1/4 cup all purpose flour (or a gluten-free, wheat flour substitute)
Here’s what you’ll do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare your baking pan: I use a 9″ x 13″ pan so that my brownies are the thickness I require for my version of “perfection.” If you like thinner brownies, use a larger pan so that the batter can be spread thin.
Take a pat of butter and use your fingers to spread it over every inch of the inside of the pan. Do yourself a favor and dust with unsweetened cocoa powder, like I do. Dusting the pan with flour tends to leave a bitter aftertaste on the outside of the brownie crust. I recommend dusting all baked chocolate desserts, with chocolate instead of flour.
Now, let’s prepare the first ingredients we’ll work with, to make a chocolate sauce.
Create a double-broiler to melt the ingredients together. Place 1-2 inches of water into a saucepan. Place on medium-low heat. Once you see tiny bubbles forming in the water, it’s time to place the glass bowl (A) onto the top.
The trick to melting/tempering chocolate is to be sure additional moisture is not added, while it’s over a heat source. Therefore, I recommend always using a baking spatula and not a wood spoon (since wood retains moisture) to mix while melting.
Use the spatula to coat the chocolate with the butter. After about 4 minutes, the water will increase in heat and start to boil. At that point, bring the heat down to low. Continue turning the chocolate. It will take approximately 10 minutes total, to melt the chocolate to become completely smooth.
Remove the bowl from heat, and set this aside to cool. Before mixing in the rest of the ingredients, the chocolate sauce should cool for 10 minutes. Since the rest of this recipe will fly-by, I recommend setting a timer so you know when to move onto the next steps.
Again, this should be the largest bowl, since all of the contents will end up here.
Place the sugar, eggs, pure vanilla extract (and if you’re using it, the fresh-brewed espresso). Use a spatula to break it down and mix it together. There’s no need to whisk or beat.
Next, pour the cooled, melted chocolate of BOWL A, into the egg and sugar mixture of BOWL B.
Mix together. You’ll notice how the texture changes, into a thickened mixture, that gives resistance against the spatula. Once the chocolate is incorporated, add the dry ingredients from BOWL C. It won’t take long to combine. Last, you’ll add the ingredients from BOWL D. Mix just enough, until there are no traces of white from the flour.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
Place the pan at the center rack of your oven. For this size pan, the brownies are done after 35 minutes. Take out at this time. Don’t over cook or allow for dark-browning/burning at the edge or top. A couple specs of dark at the top are perfectly fine.
Allow to cool. It will take time for the rise in the center to flatten. Once it’s flat, you can cut and serve, or put the pan in the refrigerator to cut and serve when you are ready. I like to cut them into portions, individually wrap them and then place them in an air-tight container, so that they do not stale and I can enjoy them at least two days later, if there are any left.
Because these are so decadent, thick, rich and filled with chocolate, you won’t need a lot to completely satisfy your chocolate-fix. I still like to look at a big brownie by my side, even if I can’t eat the whole thing in one sitting.
My kids were served a small piece, as an after school treat. They were thrilled, since I typically offer a piece of fruit as they hang-out before homework.
This recipe has my own twists and modifications, but was greatly influenced by Ina Garten’s “Outrageous Brownies” recipe which has been around for a number of years. She published it and adapted it from the Soho Charcuterie Cookbook. Not sure if the cookbook adapted it it from somewhere else. An assortment of food bloggers, magazines and cookbooks have shared their takes on it as well. This is a classic, and a lot like a good chocolate chip cookie recipe: it’s good and made in similar ways because the ingredient ratios are spot-on. I’m posting my special spin.
In the end, perfection is totally subjective. It’s up to you, to put your own spin on the flavor and texture you wish to create, so that it’s a keeper. I hope this becomes a keeper for you as it has for me!
If you’d like another one of my brownie recipes, please see my post for flourless chocolate brownies.