Best-Ever BrowniesContributing Baker Rick Katz
Makes 18 brownies. Those who are passionate about brownies argue in defense of their favorite type, cakey or fudgey. If you’re a cakey fan, go on to another recipe. These are the epitome of soft, dark, baked-just-until-barely-set brownies. Their creamy texture makes them seem wildly luxurious and very much a treat to be meted out in small servings (just small enough for a scoop of ice cream and some chocolate sauce). The mixing method is unorthodox for a brownie. Half of an egg-sugar mixture is stirred into the melted chocolate and butter, while the other half is whipped until it thickens and doubles in volume. The lightened eggs are folded into the chocolate with a delicate touch, as are the dry ingredients—tricks that enhance the brownies’ lovely texture.
1 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs
Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350F.
Sift the flour and salt together and set aside.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently and keeping a watchful eye on the pot to make certain the chocolate doesn’t scorch. (Alternatively, you can melt the ingredients in the top of a double boiler over, not touching, simmering water.) –I simply melt the chocolate and butter together in the microwave. Tons easier. Heat for 30 second to 60 second bursts and stir. Add 1 cup of the sugar to the mixture and stir for half a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
Put the remaining 1 cup sugar and the eggs into the bowl of a mixer (or a mixing bowl if you’re using a hand-held mixer) and whisk by hand just to combine. Little by little, pour half of the sugar and eggs into the chocolate mixture, stirring gently but constantly with a rubber spatula so that the eggs don’t set from the heat. Fit the whisk attachment to the mixer and whip the remaining sugar and eggs until they are thick, pale, and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Using the rubber spatula, delicately fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture. When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, gently fold in the dry ingredients.
Baking the Brownies Pour and scrape the batter into an unbuttered 9-inch square pan—a heavy ceramix or glass pan is ideal. Bake the brownies for 25 to 28 minutes, during which time they will rise a little and the top will turn dark and dry. Cut into the center at about the 23-minute mark to see how the brownies are progressing: They’ll be perfect if they’re just barely set and still pretty gooey. They’re still awfully good on the other side of set, so don’t worry if you miss the moment on your first try. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack. Cut into 1 ½ by 3 inch bars to serve.
Storing the Brownies will keep, covered, for 2 to 3 days at room temperature and can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature. These never freeze solid, so you might want to think about using them as a mix-in for ice cream
Baking with Julia: Savor the Joys of Baking with America’s Best Bakers
Written by Dorie Greenspan. A La Carte Communications, Inc. 1996 p 331.