If you bake, brownies are the one recipe that you will likely make again over time unless you don’t love chocolate. If that’s the case, then we can’t be friends. But, if you’re like me, or my daughter, a dose of chocolate in any baked form provides the often necessary relief after a hard day at work, or a long day of household chores.
Truth be told, we eat brownies here at all hours of the day. After school snack, lunch box treat, post-meal dessert, and I’m afraid to say, this morning, breakfast. I feel better coming clean about that. While I don’t endorse eating brownies for breakfast, once in a while I’m willing to take a pass on the perfect mom standards and let my daughter eat a brownie for breakfast, so long as it’s accompanied by a tall glass of milk. I don’t know why the glass of milk helps justify the breakfast brownie pass, but it does. I guess that food guide school training is more heavily ingrained in me than I thought. I have been confidently reassured by my daughter that it’s ok to serve a brownie for breakfast. The other day, when I forgot to pack a spoon in her lunch bag, I declared that I had screwed up, and wasn’t perfect, to which she responded, “it’s ok that you’re not perfect; that’s what makes you a mom.” Hmmm…sometimes I wonder who the parent is in our relationship!
At at any rate, brownie lovers hardly need coaxing to eat them, and because I love to bake and read cookbooks, I don’t just settle on one recipe to make over and over again. I make brownies often, because I’m asked to do so, and it’s one of the few recipes that will have my daughter bolt into the kitchen to help me bake. That’s partly because of the reward at the end of the road, but also because of the bowl licking exercise that inevitably entails as a result. It’s a win-win, she would say.
We’ve made these brownies twice. The first time, I asked my daughter to pick out a recipe for brownies from my library. Her ten year old mind very adeptly picked up a title called “Brownie Points” by Lisa Slater. This book is all brownie-all chocolate-no messing around with other dessert recipes to cloud the issue. When you need pure chocolate, this book will satisfy the craving. After reviewing the endless selection of recipes, we settled on the Classic Brownie. How couldn’t we? This recipe is loaded with two kinds of chocolate, lots of eggs and very little flour. This results in a very dense, fudgy, chocolatey brownie. Definitely at the opposite end of the spectrum from cake brownies. Decadent, rich and very good. So good, in fact, that Meat and Tater Man’s co-worker emailed me for the recipe. So here it is, Elena, just for you.
This is Lisa Slater's Classic Brownie recipe from her book, Brownie Points. This recipe will yield a moist, dense, fudgy brownie, and Lisa specifies a short baking time to ensure they don't get overbaked. This helps ensure the brownies will stay moist and tender.
With regards to ingredients, I used all purpose flour, and for the chocolate, since I didn't have bittersweet chocolate, I used 3 oz of unsweetened chocolate (instead of 2), and 11 oz of semi-sweet chocolate chips (instead of 12 oz bittersweet chocolate). It worked exceptionally well. While Lisa notes that the instant coffee addition is optional, I've found that adding coffee of any kind to chocolate always heightens the flavour of the chocolate. This is a tip I got from Ina Garten's recipes over the years. I've also found that the addition of salt called for in baking recipes always makes a difference. I urge you not to skip these additions.
Here are some additional notes worth mentioning, from Lisa's book. She calls these (appropriately) Brownie Points!
The recipe makes almost 6 cups of batter. Because many of my recipes call for this batter as an ingredient, you can make a smaller batch of brownies and freeze the rest of the batter. Pour the brownies into a parchment-lined 8x8-inch baking pan, 3/4 of the way up the sides, and bake as instructed. Place the remaining batter in a freezer bag and refrigerate for up to 3 months or freeze indefinitely. Defrost before using. Instant flour is found in the baking section of grocery stores as “Wondra.”
- 1 cup butter
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 12 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- 2 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 6 eggs
- 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 Tbsp instant coffee granules dissolved in 1 Tbsp hot water (optional)
- 1 cup instant or all-purpose flour
- Preheat the oven to 300 F.
- Line a 9x13-inch pan with overhanging parchment paper.
- In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat with the sugars. Use a heat-resistant spatula or a wire whisk to mix. At first, the liquefied butter will settle over the sugar. Keep stirring until the sugar and butter have completely combined. The sugar will still be somewhat granular, but it will have incorporated the butter into a single, smooth mass.
- Remove from the heat and cool for 10 minutes. Add both chocolates. Whisk until smooth.
- Add the eggs and whisk until the mixture is thick and shiny.
- Add the vanilla, salt and optional dissolved coffee granules. Mix to blend.
- Add the flour and whisk only until smooth.
- Pour into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes only. The center will puff and the edges will appear glossy and firm. The center may appear soft underneath the surface, which is fine.
- Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
- Refrigerate until firm.
- Place a cutting board over the pan and turn upside down. Remove the parchment paper. Invert them onto another board and slice into cubes, rectangles or triangles.
- Store in the fridge wrapped in plastic for up to 2-3 weeks. Freeze wrapped in plastic and foil for up to 6 months.