my favorite brownies

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My Favorite Brownies

I’ve talked about these before. A larger, thinner version of them formed the mosaic in the brownie mosaic cheesecake. I riffed on them with bittersweet and white chocolate instead of unsweetened for some schmoopy heart brownies. But I’ve never given them to you straight, and I must, because from time to time someone asks me what my favorite brownie recipe is and I have to email it to them, which makes me feel like I’ve failed as a food blogger.

In an effort to put some unique spin on these, I’ve done many things to them over the years: I’ve browned the butter, replaced half the white sugar with brown or replaced some of the flour with cocoa powder. I’ve added pinches of cinnamon and toasted walnuts and chocolate chips. All of these things are good. None of them are needed. If you promise not to fuss, you could be eating these in under an hour. I’m not even going to pretend you’re still reading, knowing that.

Updated to note: If you only have semi- or bittersweet chocolate (60 to 72 percent), I created a version of these brownies with that last year, the darker half of this duo. But, the chocolate intensity is definitely dialed down. However, the sugar level is also adjusted to accomodate for the sweeter chocolate.

New note, 8/21/13: FWIW, I found a new way to ruin our lives, er, make these awesomer and that’s to bake them in mini-muffin pans. This is ideal for brownie edge lovers, as they become nothing but edges with the fudgiest of centers. Spray the pans first with a non-stick spray and fill them almost to the top. They bake for about 16 minutes before a toothpick comes out batter-free. Let them sit in the pan for 5 minutes on a cooling rack before unmolding them, or they break easily. Mine had a frustrating yield of 29 (i.e. just enough to require more than a pans worth) but it made for such perfect, delicious, two-bite servings, I forgive them.

Makes 1 8×8 pan of brownies which you can cut into 16 2-inch squares (shown above), 25 smaller squares, or 32 2×1-inch bites, which is what I usually do.

3 ounces (85 grams) unsweetened chocolate, roughly chopped
1 stick (4 ounces or 115 grams) unsalted butter, plus extra for pan
1 1/3 cups (265 grams) granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon (5 ml) vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon flaky sea salt or 1/4 teaspoon table salt (about 2 grams)
2/3 cup (85 grams) all-purpose flour

Heat oven to 350°F. Line an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment, extending it up two sides, or foil. Butter the parchment or foil or spray it with a nonstick cooking spray.

In a medium heatproof bowl over gently simmering water, melt chocolate and butter together until only a couple unmelted bits remain. Off the heat, stir until smooth and fully melted. You can also do this in the microwave in 30-second bursts, stirring between each. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, one at a time, then vanilla and salt. Stir in flour with a spoon or flexible spatula and scrape batter into prepared pan, spread until even. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out batter-free.

Let cool and cut into desired size. If you’re like me, you will prefer these and all brownies, cold or even frozen. But I bet you’re normal and will just eat them hot from the pan. If desired, dust the brownies with powdered sugar before serving.


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