I honestly don’t know how I went the entirety of 2016 without posting a brownie recipe. It’s 2017 now and I mean business, so that’s exactly what I’m about to do. Brownies are simply incredible. Chocolatey, cakey, gooey, fudgey, warmy, richy incredible. Not gonna lie, I will always get down on some boxed brownies too. I have zero brownie shame. Still though, I’d prefer to make my own. I like brownies that lean a little to the fudge side of the fudge/cake aisle, but that still hold some cake-like structure. I also like brownies that are seriously rich and decadent. That’s the whole point. So the recipe I’m presenting to you today is just that – a rich, luxury AF, slightly fudgey and seriously chocolatey brownie. 2017 is looking up.
There’s no secret where the brownie came from and how. In Chicago during the late 1800’s, Bertha Palmer, the wife of the owner of The Palmer House Hotel, asked the pastry chef to make something special for her for the World’s Columbian Exposition. The kitchen came up with what would later be dubbed the brownie, and a legend was born.
Maybe it’s because I work in a kitchen myself, but in my opinion it’s totally ridiculous that everyone knows it was Bertha Palmer who made the fateful request, but no one knows the name of the chef or chefs that actually created the first brownie. All Bertha did was ask for dessert, and I don’t see how that is special enough to remember. But I digress.
Other than for cocktail party small talk and pub trivia ammunition, I don’t care where the brownie came from. I just know that brownies are awesome and delicious and perfectly ok to eat for breakfast, so let’s make the damn things already.
I call for cocoa paste in this recipe, which is 100% unsweetened chocolate, sometimes called baking or unsweetened chocolate, and easily found in grocery stores.
I like to melt the chocolates and butter together over a double boiler because of the indirect heat and the fact that I don’t have to babysit it much, but you can use a microwave if you’d like. If using a microwave, melt each ingredient separately and combine, since each will melt at a different rate and the microwave may burn one ingredient while just starting to melt another.
When it comes to baking brownies, I like the ol’ double sheet pan + non-stick baking mat + frame method but you can easily use a baking pan too. In fact, I used one for this post since most of you will probably have that handy at home. I’m still going to place it on a sheet pan with a non-stick baking mat to add insulation that will keep the brownie bottoms from burning.
Checking to see if the brownies are done, a knife or toothpick should come out almost clean. Once you pull them from the oven, the residual heat will finish baking the brownies and keep them nice and moist. If your knife comes out totally clean, then the brownies tend to over bake slightly and dry out a little.
yield: 1 half sheet
168g cocoa paste
339g chocolate 58%
453g butter unsalted
391g powdered sugar
18g vanilla extract
405g whole eggs
375g pastry flour
75g cocoa powder
6g baking powder
Bring the whole eggs to room temperature before getting started.
You’ll also want to prep your baking pan. I like to coat the bottom and sides of the pan with butter and then a thin layer of flour. This will allow the brownies to easily release from the pan when they’ve cooled.
Combine and sift the pastry flour, cocoa powder and baking powder and reserve.
Combine the cocoa paste, chocolate and butter and melt them over a double boiler.
Combine the whole eggs, sugar, powdered sugar, vanilla and salt. Add the mixture to the melted cocoa paste mixture, whisking until combined.
Fold in the sifted dry ingredients and mix until homogenized. At this point you could fold any number of ingredients in to make your brownies extra special. Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, other chips, dried fruit, candy cane pieces…you get the idea.
Spread the batter evenly over a half sheet pan lined with a non-stick baking mat and a pan extender (or your baking pan).
Bake at 182C/360F for 30-40min. If you’d like to avoid any color on the crust of the brownies, place tinfoil over the sheet pan or baking dish halfway through baking (I didn’t do that with this batch).
Let the brownies cool completely (ideally overnight in the refrigerator) to get the cleanest cut. You can always reheat them for serving because let’s face it, every brownie should be a warm brownie.