The Best Basic Chocolate Brownie Recipe
I had grand plans for this day, my first day off. I was going to go to the post office, then to Whole Foods, where I would purchase exotic items as well as my usual staples. I would say hello to friends, and then move on, maybe stopping at Barnes & Noble to browse. I would meet my friend at the Chinese food restaurant I wanted to try out last week, before window shopping around the city. I thought maybe I would even go north and visit my favorite store (one of them, anyway), Cost Plus World Market. But alas, I was stuck at home because my stomach wasn't, well, cooperating with me. So, stuck at home, leafing through my collection of food magazine pages, I ate the salmon and veggies I brought home from work. Then, the baking bug bit me. That, coupled with the craving for chocolate got me in the kitchen.
Cleaning out my cabinets a few weeks ago, I found a lot of bittersweet chocolate, more than I thought I could hoard. A bag full of chopped chocolate, and a couple of blocks of chocolate. I've been thinking of ways to use this bounty, dreaming of dense, rich desserts; cakes, mousses, cookies, all filling my home with that wonderful smell.
I pulled out the one brownie recipe I've kept since 1998. I have since tossed all my other brownie recipes, and with the exception of one other recipe, I haven't collected another. It's from the July/August issue of Cuisine. The recipe calls for semisweet chocolate, but instead of buying more chocolate, I used the bittersweet I had on hand. The result? a dense, chewy, fudge-rich brownie that wasn't too sweet. I'll probably use bittersweet chocolate from now on. Not that the semisweet chocolate made it too sugary, I'm just partial to the bitter stuff. I also omitted the espresso powder because I didn't have any. I made them before using instant coffee crystals, and everyone raved over them. The scent of the cooling melted chocolate alone drove me crazy; baking in the oven, I was insane. I didn't wait for them to cool completely before turning them out of the pan and trimming the edges and eating them, while stalking the rest of the cooling mass.
My apologies to my mother, she's started a new diet plan (doctor's orders) and can't have brownies. But for the rest of you, I hope you enjoy this recipe and make it your own.
Basic Chocolate Brownies
Melt and set aside:
12 oz. semisweet chocolate, broken up
1 1/2 cups sugar
12 T unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup cocoa, sifted
2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
Beat until foamy:
4 large eggs, room temp.
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
1 tbsp. vanilla
Melt chocolate, butter, and sugar in a double-boiler, stirring to combine. Set aside and cool to room temperature.
Preheat oven to 350º. Spray bottom and sides of baking pan with pan spray, line bottom with parchment paper; spray paper.
Measure cocoa, sift into dry ingredients and whisk together.
Beat eggs, espresso, and vanilla until foamy, scraping once. Beat in cooled chocolate mixture, scraping once.
Sprinkle 1/3 dry ingredients over chocolate mixture and gently fold in. Fold in remaining, 1/3 at a time.
Spread batter evenly in pan. Bake in center of oven 22-25 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center is barely moist.
Remove from oven and cool completely. Run knife around edge of pan. Place rack on top of pan and invert. Remove paper.
Invert again onto cutting board. Trim edges with sharp knife and cut into 2” squares.