Brownies

Brownies

I have to admit, I’m generally impartial to brownies. Unless someone asks for brownies specifically, it’s unlikely I’ll volunteer to make them. Well, these flourless melt-in your mouth brownies (recipe could be found here) are an exception.

I did enjoy boxed brownies on a few occasions, so I decided to look for a recipe that was similar in taste and texture to the boxed variety.

As such, I decided to browse the internet for a chewy brownie. People usually fall into one of the two categories of brownie lovers – cake-like brownie category or a chewy brownie category. I most certainly never enjoyed the cake-like consistency in my brownies.

I knew what I was looking for and none of the recipes I saw, delivered on that. Some of those recipes promised chewy box-like texture, yet they used so much butter, so little flour. Think about it – box brownies are quite lean. In addition, to get the chewiness, you need the flour. And not only that, you need to overwork the flour to develop that gluten and give you that chewy texture.

Unable to find what I was looking for, I decided to check the First Lady’s of Chocolate take on this iconic dessert. Alice Medrich brownies seemed to be the closest thing I could find to what I was looking for. Especially, seeing how she beat the brownie batter for 40 strokes after mixing in the flour, I knew her end goal was the same as mine – to get the chewiness.

Here’s her recipe with a few of my pro tips added to it.

Final thoughts… The taste was pleasant, chocolate flavour was there but not overpowering. Visually, these little creations are stunning. Very easy to photograph, package up for gifts and achieve the most professional results. Texture is definitely not cakey. Are these similar to the box-brownie kind? I don’t think so, but I wasn’t missing the boxed brownie. Another plus, is that after sitting in an airtight container overnight, the brownies appeared even more moist and more flavourful the next day.

All and all, this recipe, in my opinion, is a must-keep. It’s tasty, solid, professional-looking brownie you can be proud of. Give it a try and share your thoughts and photos with me.

DifficultyBeginner

Adapted from Alice Medrich

Yields16 Servings
Prep Time15 minsCook Time30 minsTotal Time45 mins

 10 tbsp unsalted butter
 1 ¼ cups sugar
 ¾ cup plus 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
 ¼ tsp salt
 ½ tsp vanilla
 2 large eggs, straight out of the fridge
 ½ cup flour
  cup walnut or pecan pieces, optional
 For assembling the Sundae: Ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate fudge, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, toasted nuts - whatever you like to complete your brownie Sunday dish

1

Preheat the oven to 325. Place your oven rack into the lower third of the oven. Line your 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan (try not to use glass) with the parchment paper and leave some of the paper overhanging, in order to help you remove the brownies later.

2

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (your just created a double-boiler.) Stir it occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is very smooth. Remove from heat and allow for the mixture to cool slightly until it's warm but no longer hot.

3

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition (by stirring right away as soon as you add the eggs, you are ensuring to temper them instead of letting them sit in warm batter and scramble - so stir as soon as you add them.) Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it's fully incorporated. Then beat the flour vigorously for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon; this is helping with the gluten development and therefore chewiness. Stir int the nuts, spread into the lined pan and gently press down on the brownie batter with your hands or a container to create a smooth surface.

4

Bake in preheated oven for around 20 minutes, perhaps a bit more or less, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs but not liquid batter. Ideally, check the internal temperature - we are aiming for 203° measured in the middle of the brownie on a good instant-read digital thermometer inserted at 45° angle. Allow the brownies to cool completely on wire racks. They will set and harden as they cool.

5

Lift up the ends of the parchment paper and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

6

Assemble your brownie Sundae by adding ice cream and any other optional ingredients of choice.

Ingredients

 10 tbsp unsalted butter
 1 ¼ cups sugar
 ¾ cup plus 2 TBSP unsweetened cocoa powder
 ¼ tsp salt
 ½ tsp vanilla
 2 large eggs, straight out of the fridge
 ½ cup flour
  cup walnut or pecan pieces, optional
 For assembling the Sundae: Ice cream, caramel sauce, chocolate fudge, chocolate shavings, whipped cream, toasted nuts - whatever you like to complete your brownie Sunday dish

Directions

1

Preheat the oven to 325. Place your oven rack into the lower third of the oven. Line your 8x8 or 9x9 baking pan (try not to use glass) with the parchment paper and leave some of the paper overhanging, in order to help you remove the brownies later.

2

Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water (your just created a double-boiler.) Stir it occasionally until the butter is melted and the mixture is very smooth. Remove from heat and allow for the mixture to cool slightly until it's warm but no longer hot.

3

Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each addition (by stirring right away as soon as you add the eggs, you are ensuring to temper them instead of letting them sit in warm batter and scramble - so stir as soon as you add them.) Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until it's fully incorporated. Then beat the flour vigorously for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon; this is helping with the gluten development and therefore chewiness. Stir int the nuts, spread into the lined pan and gently press down on the brownie batter with your hands or a container to create a smooth surface.

4

Bake in preheated oven for around 20 minutes, perhaps a bit more or less, until a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out with a few moist crumbs but not liquid batter. Ideally, check the internal temperature - we are aiming for 203° measured in the middle of the brownie on a good instant-read digital thermometer inserted at 45° angle. Allow the brownies to cool completely on wire racks. They will set and harden as they cool.

5

Lift up the ends of the parchment paper and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

6

Assemble your brownie Sundae by adding ice cream and any other optional ingredients of choice.

Brownie Sundae

Food400 Pro Tips for this recipe:

The ideal internal temperature for brownies, measured with a good instant-read thermometer, inserted at 45° angle to avoid touching the bottom, should be between 195 – 205, depending on your preference.

Sometimes I like reading recipe comments on the internet and it horrifies me when some say a toothpick inserted into the brownie should come out clean. Completely wrong. The toothpick should not be covered with wet batter, but it should have plenty of crumbs on it. If it comes out clean, congratulations, you just baked a dry cake and not a brownie.

I used 9” pan. As such, due to a larger surface of the pan, I adjusted the time. It took me 18 minutes for the brownies to reach 205 (my preferred internal temperature for brownies.) The top was glossy, the brownies felt just barely firm and the internal temperature was exactly 205. If I were to bake these brownies again, I would bake a bit less and aim for an internal temperature in 202-203 range. Remember, these brownies will firm up as they cool.

These will hold well in an airtight container at room temperature for a day or two (provided the recipe is cooked correctly and the amount of sugar is not reduced, as sugar acts like a natural preservative, as such use your own discretion when it comes to storage.)

Quick note on eggs. Some baking recipes, fewer than you may think, actually need eggs at room temperature. Unfortunately, most recipes on the internet seem to mistakenly assume all baking projects should be done with the room temperature eggs, which is simply not correct. Adding room temperature eggs to cheesecakes, brownies, cookies, etc. – will result in too much aeration and expansion resulting in a cake-like texture, which is typically not the goal with these treats.

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