Monday, July 06, 2009

Just WOW

So for three days now I’ve been trying to think of a way to tell you about these brownies. I’ve gone from detailed explanations about how much chocolate there is in them, how incredibly awesome they are, and exactly how I found the recipe, all the way to just typing “zOMG hurry and go make these!” over and over, like some kind of insane cut-and-paste baking mantra.

Homemade brownies always seem to let me down. I buy brownies in bakeries and they’re thick and chewy and dense. The ones I make at home always seem to be thin and sticky, like chocolate paste thickened with some flour. For a long time I thought this was just me, and then I decided it was my recipes—because clearly these brownies can be made—and I started searching for something better.

I started collecting brownie recipes like some kind of sugar-crazed magpie. I would read over them and compare them to what I had made in the past. It was pretty obvious to me that I wanted something with a slightly higher ratio of flour to sugar and butter. The high sugar/butter recipes yield a very candy-like product. Also, I have a weird, inexplicable prejudice against recipes that only make an 8 or 9” square pan. I want 117 glorious square inches of chocolaty loveableness. (Did I do that math right? Is a 9” x 13” pan 117 square inches? I confess I was never much good at area, unless we were talking about circles, and then I knew there was something about the diameter or the circumference and pi played a role but I was always much more interested in two-crust versions than in irrational, transcendental numbers. And I might not even be right about circles. Geometry was a long time ago. )

Where were we? Oh, right, brownie recipes. So I wanted a big pan, and I wanted a pretty thick brownie.

I thought I had found it when a friend of mine brought some brownies into the office. They were just what I’d been wanting: quite thick, still moist, somewhat cakey. Since she has a pastry degree (and just what a woman with a degree in pastry is doing working as a product manager is a question worth asking, but when I did she pointed out that pastry doesn’t pay much. Touché.) I figured she was an excellent source. When I begged her for the recipe, she confessed that they were a mix (she’d made them on a weeknight and was tight for time), and she had put peppermint patties between the layers, which accounted for their height.

When I stumbled on a recipe that was the foundation for a brownie sundae, I was pretty sure I’d hit pay dirt. After all, for it to hold up a couple of scoops of ice cream, a brownie has to have some serious muscle. You’re not going to get some wimpy, effete, milquetoast brownie there. This is not some Ashley Wilkes you’re going to be piling the toppings on to. You’ve got to have Rhett (in brownie form, of course, although let’s be honest, if you had the opportunity to scoop ice cream and whipped cream and whatnot onto Clark Gable, wouldn’t you do it? I mean, the way he was in Gone with the Wind when he was all young and hunky, not the way he is today—which of course is dead).

SO. These brownies. Melty chocolate, a ton of butter, five (yes, five) eggs. They are the brownies of my dreams. The recipe makes a 9” x 13” pan, and they’re a good three-quarters of an inch thick. They have a thick, fudgy texture, but they’re not grainy and sticky. This recipe is now my one and only. I can stop looking. This is brownie nirvana. Transcending any previous brownie experience. The Rhett Butler of brownies. The Crown Jewels of brownies. The Empire State Building of brownies. The Grand Canyon of brownies. These brownies put the “wow” in “brownie” (OK, OK, so there is no “wow” in “brownie”—there should be). These are brownies with a capital B. zOMG hurry and go make these.

Fudge Brownies

from the LA Times' Culinary SOS feature; this is the brownie from the Brownie Hot Fudge Sundae at a restaurant called BLD
1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) butter
2 cups plus 2 tablespoons (13 ounces) chocolate chips
1/4 cup cocoa powder
5 eggs, room temperature
3 cups light brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground espresso
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups flour

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a large bowl set over a pot of simmering water, melt together the butter, chocolate and cocoa powder, stirring until completely combined.

3. In a medium bowl, combine the eggs and sugar. Whisk in the espresso, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the melted chocolate mixture, then the flour until thoroughly combined. Pour the brownie mix into a greased 13-inch-by-9-inch baking dish.

4. Bake the brownies on the center rack until set on top and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (it should have moist crumbs stuck to it, but the filling should not be doughy), 45 minutes to an hour and ten minutes (start checking around 35 minutes; the original recipe said they'd be done in 45 minutes, but at 45 minutes mine were still pretty liquid in the center. They were in there for a good hour). Remove the brownies and cool the pan on a rack to room temperature. Cut into squares to serve.


Ramesh Ganesan said...


Good post,

I have a recipe review site here! ( in the signature place)

Now site is in evolving phase! You can find lot of functions in near future !

I am welcoming your suggestion and if you have any recipe site(other than blog) let me know and i will include your site!


Kerala recipes
Light Frozen Lemon Cheesecake recipe

KerryRocksThe Coupons said...

I laughed and laughed at the Rhett Butler of Brownies comment. I will make these too. I did this search thing with banana bread. I finally have one I like but I tried about ten recipes first.

I like to try new recipes every week I know I'm going to spend tonight read your blog and then vowing to make everything you did. Thanks for this link, I love your writing!!

TD said...

K - Thanks! I made these brownies again last night and zOMG they're so good! Try them and let me know what you think!!

Cate O'Malley said...

Made these last week and you're spot on ... wow indeed.

TD said...

Cate - LOVE these. My thighs hate them, but I adore them! :)