classic brownies

I have a new fascination with finding classic recipes for classic desserts that we all too often buy in boxed mixes which, while fine and convenient, also lacks that sense of knowing what we’re eating.  Not that I dislike brownies mixes.  On the contrary, I don’t particularly love most homemade brownies precisely because they don’t taste like brownies from a box.

I feel like most homemade brownies are either too cakey, or they are glob of goop that tastes like slightly chocolate flavored sugar.  But when I saw these brownies in the archives of Smitten Kitchen, just by looking at the picture I knew they would have exactly what I have been looking for in a brownie recipe: a full chocolate flavor, a sweetness that isn’t granular, and a thick texture.

And they are perfection.  Rich and dark and sweet, and did I say rich?  But also not overpowering.  They are sweet without feeling like you need to wash granules of sugar out from between your teeth afterwards.  Their flavor is deep and chocolaty.  They are the perfect balance between being fudgy and cakey, chewy without loosing their brownie consistency.  The only problem with them is that I gave too many away and I just ate my last one with lunch.

Classic Brownies
adapted from Smitten Kitchen who adapted from Cook’s Illustrated

Prep Time: 25 minutes
Bake Time: 35 minutes

Makes about 2 dozen

1 1/4 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
6 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

1. Position oven rack in the middle of the oven.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with two long sheets of aluminum foil, placed perpendicularly over one another so that the edges are hanging over all four sides of the dish.  Spray aluminum foil with nonstick cooking spray.
3. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together flour, salt, and baking powder.  Set aside.
4. In a large heatproof bowl over a saucepan of warm, almost simmering (but not boiling) water, combine chocolate and butter.  Stir occasionally until butter and chocolate are melted and smooth, then remove bowl from the saucepan.  Alternatively, you can heat the butter and chocolate together in the microwave, stirring at thirty second intervals until melted (take it out of the microwave before last bits of chocolate and/or butter are melted–as you continue stirring the residual heat with melt the rest).
5. Gradually whisk sugar into the chocolate.  Add eggs, one at a time, whisking until they are combined completely.  (Be sure that the chocolate is not so hot that it will scramble the eggs.  If it seems too warm, allow the chocolate to cool for a few minutes.)  Whisk in vanilla.
6. Add flour mixture to the chocolate mixture in three additions, folding each addition with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth.
7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, using a spatula to spread the batter into the corners.
8. Bake brownies for 30-35 minutes, until a wooden toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached to it.  Cool 2 hours*, and then lift the brownies out from the pan using the aluminum foil overhangs.  Cut the brownies into squares and store in an airtight container.

*Like we waited that long.

3 Responses

  1. Jenna August 17, 2011 at 1:11 pm |

    MMmmm! I’m also guilty of sometimes preferring the boxed kind, heh heh. But you’re right, these brownies look nice and thick and chocolatey. Delish!

  2. Amy August 17, 2011 at 7:13 pm |

    Ooh this is my favorite brownie recipe, too! I found it the same way you did– from Cook’s Illustrated via Smitten Kitchen. ;) Seeing these pictures now makes me want to make them immediately again.

    Really cute blog, by the way. :) Looks like we both started ours right around the same time!


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