01.18.09 | 2 Comments

As is probably obvious by now, I like food. blakery.com gets to be today a little of what it was originally intended to be.

Over the past 13 years I have done a lot of baking. Despite many favorite recipes, (much to Joel’s chagrin) I rarely make the same thing twice, and I’m always up for trying a new one. I do believe, however, that I have arrived at a standby for brownies and pancakes.

Brownies today.

The brownies come from a combination of the recipe on the back of the Nestle Cocoa can and my general adoration of brown sugar. I have made this recipe in several different pans in response to cravings for varying thicknesses of brownie. Chocolate chips, nuts, and swirls of Nutella or other nut butters are fantastic additions, too. You can also use this recipe to make a stellar blondie – just substitute 1/2 cup more flour in place of the cocoa powder.

My Favorite Brownies
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup or 12 tablespoons) unsalted butter
2/3 + 1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 large eggs
2 tbsp water or coffee
2 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup cocoa (natural or dutch – either or a combo)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/3 cup AP flour*

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Melt butter over medium heat in a small saucepan. Take it off the heat and stir in the sugars, salt, and cocoa powder. Let it cool for a bit while you contemplate and prepare your pan.

If you’re an edge person or like a thinner, chewy brownie, more like a cookie, use a half sheet pan (usually 18×13 inches) and check them after baking for 15 minutes. For a normal thickness brownie, use a 9×13 pan and bake for 18 to 25 minutes. For thick, chewy, fudgy brownies, use an 8×8 pan and bake for closer to 35 minutes. However you like them, line the pan with parchment (NOT wax) paper (best) OR foil, greased (I use spray).

Whisk together your flour and baking powder. Now that everything else is ready, the butter/sugar mixture is probably cool enough to add your eggs, water or coffee, and vanilla. Stir ferociously with a wooden spoon until well beaten. All that stirring gives that parchment-like top to the brownies. Add the dry to the wet ingredients and stir, but not too much. Now would be the time to add up to 1/2 cup of chocolate chips or nuts, if you like.

Once everything is mixed together well, spread the batter into the pan. Now would be the time to glob on some spoonfuls of Nutella and swirl around on top of the batter. Now put them in the oven’s hands. Set a timer and go distract yourself. If at any point you smell chocolate, go check on them just to be sure they’re not overbaking.

After the recommended time, check for doneness with the toothpick poke into the sweet sweet goodness (NOT inside a chocolate chip or gob of Nutella). If your brownies are still more batter than baked, check them every couple of minutes until they’re done. If your toothpick comes back with just a couple of little crumbs, you’re done with the oven. Remove the pan from the oven and let the brownies bask in their pan for a good 20 minutes.

Now, this brownie recipe is not for the faint of heart or the impatient. You must allow these to cool. Once they’re set from their 20 minute pan sit, remove them with the parchment paper or foil, and let them sit on a pizza paddle or wire rack or plate until they’re cool. I have eaten many a hot baked brownie or cake only to find out that given enough time to cool, we would be on another level entirely. It will be worth it; I promise. Once they’re cool, cut them with a sharp knife and enjoy.

*Sometimes I use part King Arthur’s white whole wheat flour; I’d say up to half the quantity of that and half all-purpose.

UPDATE: Jenna has made this recipe with plain yogurt in place of the eggs and reports a good result. I would love to hear of any other variations anyone tries!


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