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Friday, July 3, 2009

Devilishly Good Brownies

Brownies have been an interesting challenge for me. For so long, I was very disappointed every time I made homemade brownies. I tried lots of recipes from books and tried making up my own recipes tons of times and they were never as chocolaty as I wanted. Brownies were one of the only things in life I could think of that I preferred from a box mix! And, you know, I just couldn't live with that.

So I kept trying.

I have finally met with success. These brownies are so dadgum chocolaty and rich; you may think the devil himself is tempting you. The good news, however, is that because they are so rich, you don't have to eat a huge amount of them to be satisfied. And in my book that's a good thing. With box brownies, my husband and I can eat the whole pan of them without even blinking. (I wish I were kidding).

As you might imagine, this thing starts with butter and chocolate. Melt the butter, chocolate chips, and cocoa powder together in a sauce pan. I don't even bother with a double boiler. Just be sure you use a heavy pot and watch the heat so you don't scorch the chocolate. When it's about done melting, add the instant coffee granules. If you're like me and don't like coffee, don't worry. You don't get a coffee taste in the brownies, it just helps make the chocolate more pronounced.

In a separate bowl, crack the eggs. Four if you use large, three if you use extra-large.

Whisk the sugar and vanilla in with the eggs until things get slightly frothy.

Then whisk in the chocolate mixture. Be sure you let the chocolate mixture cool a bit so that you don't scramble the eggs. That would be very sad! Doesn't that batter look luscious?

In another smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. No need to sift, just be sure that it is well mixed. Pour this mixture all at once into the batter. By the way, you should remove the whisk before you get to this part. It is no longer an acceptable implement at this point - which I shortly learned. A spatula is a much better tool.

Fold the flour into the chocolate batter. Do not over mix. Tough brownies are no good.

Don't worry if the batter looks slightly lumpy and weird. When it goes into the oven and gets all molten, all these issues will disappear. I promise.

Pour the batter into prepared pans. You can line the bottom with parchment if you want the brownies to come out of the pan so they can be cut into perfect squares. I was making these things for my husband's birthday; I think brownies may be his favorite dessert. I was going to try making a brownie layer cake. Well, we forgot we had a social gathering to go to, so I didn't get a chance to finish it. It was a good thing. If I had tried to stack these things with frosting or ganache between and around them, it would have been too much. Anyway, that's why I was using the 8" round cake pans. I'd recommend a 9x13x1 pan instead. Or you could do the rounds and turn them out to make very pretty, company grade brownies and call it a tart or something... If you sprinkle the top with powdered sugar, they'll look tres gourmet.

Anyway. Be sure - this is important - to leave some of the batter in the bowl for yourself. This batter is phenomenal. Did you hear that? PHENOMENAL. Don't pass it up. Do you see how much I left in that bowl? That's what I'm talking about. Don't worry. There's plenty of batter. Gorge yourself, OK?

And then be sure you get every last drop.

Place the brownies in the oven and bake for about half an hour. Let them cool thoroughly before trying to handle. Because there is not a lot of flour in them, they have some structural integrity problems when they're warm. If you are wanting to turn them out onto a serving plate, you'll actually want to chill them in the refrigerator first. However, they're best served at room temperature.

Devilishly Good Brownies
Yield: a 9x13 pan of goodness
adapted from the Barefoot Contessas's Outrageous Brownies

2 sticks of butter
1 1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 TBS instant coffee granules
3 x-large or 4 large eggs
1 TBS vanilla
1 cup + 2 TBS granulated sugar
2/3 cup flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/3 tsp table salt (eyeball it, just go with a shy 1/2 tsp)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and - if desired - parchment paper. Melt the butter and chocolates together in a heavy sauce pan. Stir in the coffee granules and then set the mixture aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, mix the eggs, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl. In a smaller, separate bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and salt.

Add the chocolate mixture to the egg mixture. Stir thoroughly. Fold in the flour mixture. Stir only until mixed. It may look slightly lumpy and that's all right.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees until set and a tester in the middle comes out clean, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool completely before serving or trying to mess with in any way. When warm, they are very crumbly. If you want to be able to turn out of the pan and cut into beautiful squares, refrigerate first.

Please note, I have made an adjustment on the cooking time, shortening it slightly since with the previously stated time, I found it too easy to overbake them. Start checking at 25 minutes and go from there.


  1. Wow, I'll definitely try this! Easy enough to make and I hope I'll be successful!

  2. Okay, these are the most awesome brownies I've ever made! They're so chocolatey and moist, my family can't get enough of it! :)

  3. Hi! I found your blog yesterday while hunting for "cooking from scratch" recipes. Out of the first 5 links I tried, 2 were "tips" to make it faster, 2 were actually "how to cook from home using a bunch of processed crap", and yours was the only one that was exactly what I needed - I've been going through your archive ever since!

    I had to comment on this one, because while I am a snob - I make my cakes, frosting, cookies, & cheesecake from scratch because it tastes better and I won't have it any other way - I have yet to be able to make brownies as good as Ms. Betty Crocker. The fudgy-ness...the crumbly crust! I am so excited to have found this brownie recipe, because your picture looks like exactly what I want! Thank you!


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