Have you noticed that often times, things don’t live up to the hype?
A White Christmas. Sure it is beautiful, and I got to experience one this year with the leftover snow from the Northeast Blizzard of last week, but it also creates travel headaches and causes many people to not make it to home to their families.
The No-Knead Bread Craze. Yea, its a recipe that went viral, made everyone (including myself) yearn for a dutch oven, then buy a dutch oven (I have a Lodge, but look at these purple Le Creusets…me like-ee) and have to replace the nob with a metal one that can withstand the necessary high temps. Its so easy a 4-year old can do it. Many, many books have been written mimic-ing it, and expanding on it, even from the horse’s mouth. I’ve made it. More than once, and while it was decent bread, I still rather just run to the store to pick up a baguette if I want one with dinner.
However, these brownies live up to all the hype. They are the perfect brownie. I’ve made, and eaten, plenty of delicious brownies but these brownies are the perfect balance between fudge-ness, a thin crackled top, sweetness and rich chocolate flavor that just screams for a glass of milk. I made a batch of these brownies for a good friend’s birthday (I wasn’t up for transporting a cake on the CTA). I was told the next day that they were so good that I really should give up on the whole lawyer thing and just sell batches out of my kitchen. I will admit that this recipe is a touch more involved than say, melt some chocolate, add in some flour and such and dump in a pan but the extra effort makes all the difference. I hope you give into the hype. Just this one time.
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 tbsp. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz. dark chocolate (60 to 72% cacao), coarsely chopped
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 tsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. Allow the mixture to come to room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter or your brownies will be cakey (and wont be magical Baked brownies).
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), gently fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible. Do it in 5-8 batches to slowly work the flour mixture in.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it.
Let the brownies cool completely on a wire rack, then cut them into perfect squares and serve. Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days.