And NOW we come to my all-time favorite drop dead fabulous brownie recipe from Smitten Kitchen. If you like dark chocolate – if 60% chocolate tastes wimpy to you, and Hershey’s Special Dark makes you gag – then you will LOVE these. No kidding. Flat-out these are the BEST brownies ever.
Forget the boxed mix.
Forget the too-sweet chocolate tasting squares.
Graduate to the land of YUM!
I personally bow down to Smitten Kitchen in my mind every time I make them. And yes, they go fast in my house. We can consume 1/2 the pan in less than fifteen minutes!
Best Cocoa Brownies
Adapted from Alice Medrich’s Bittersweet
Makes 16 larger or 25 smaller brownies (see the pics on her site)
10 tablespoons (140 grams) unsalted butter (I actually use 1 1/4 cups of butter)
1 1/4 cups (250 grams) sugar
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (65 grams dark or regular)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
1/2 cup (65 grams) all-purpose flour
2/3 cup (75 grams) walnut or pecan pieces (optional – I never have used them)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides. (I use wax paper and spray it with oil or they will stick).
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added. (I put the whole bowl in the microwave, it works great!)
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes is Medrich’s suggestion but it took me at least 10 minutes longer to get them set. Let cool completely on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.