If you believe that brownies should be thick, dense, gooey, chewy, and rich, then this is a recipe for you. There is nothing fluffy or cake-like about these brownies, so if that is what you are looking for, you won’t find it here.
Last week my oldest son told me how disappointed he was that the stockpile of brownies that I keep in the freezer had run out. This kid could eat a brownie every day for dessert for the rest of his life and never get tired of it. Had he given me a warning that we were running low, then I would have restocked sooner, instead, that night he had to rely on Nutella smothered Oreos for dessert. Poor kid, I know.
Over the last several years, I have gone through hundreds of batches of brownies – tweaking here and there until I finally had what I thought was the perfect combination of flavor and texture. Trust me when I say that I have seriously gone through more variations and ratios of ingredients than I even thought possible to create these brownies. The delicate crackly top is one of the most important qualities of an exceptional brownie – something, that I have found, can only be achieved by using all white sugar and melting the butter. I had badly wanted to use brown sugar for its depth of flavor and because it aids in the chewiness factor, it just didn’t give me the shiny, crisp top crust I was looking for. The chewiness had to come by way of reducing the oven temperature from the usual 350 degrees to 325 degrees. Finally, I cannot stress enough how important the pan is to making these brownies perfect. I have found that the best brownies come from an 11”x7” light colored brownie pan. This will ensure that the edges of the brownies are perfectly chewy and not break-a-tooth hard.
After making five batches of brownies this past week to restock the freezer, and to share with family, I decided that I needed to type up my recipe so that my kids will be able to have it to share with their family someday. When I am playing around with a recipe, I will cross out certain ingredients or measurements, or add to the handwritten list. After many, many, many attempts to get a recipe exactly how I want it, my original piece of paper, usually lightly dusted with flour, or decorated with an errant drop of vanilla, has been littered with irrelevant chicken scratch, and nonsensical math equations.
I often make these brownies with my daughter and I remind her every time that this is the only recipe that a girl ever needs to know. Of course, they are great ‘just because’ but they are also perfect for all of the happy moments in life, like potlucks or celebrations. These brownies can also be a comforting, heartwarming hug, like when a boy is sure to break her heart. I’d like to believe that my daughter could recreate these brownies without a recipe since we have made them so many times together, but here is to being safe rather than sorry.
**Using good vanilla is very important. If you only have vanilla with the red cap, leave out the vanilla altogether.
**For perfectly cut brownies with clean edges, use a plastic knife.
**These brownies freeze exceptionally well. Just wrap individually once they are completely cool and store in a zip top freezer bag. Either allow to thaw at room temperature for an hour, or pop in the microwave for 30 seconds.
- 12tbsp unsalted butter, softened is best, otherwise, cut into chunks.
- 4½oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I use Ghirardelli 60% bittersweet chips)
- 1½c granulated sugar
- 2tsp vanilla extract (I use Nielsen-Massey)
- 3 large eggs, room temperature
- ¾c + 3tbsp cake flour
- 3tbsp Dutch process cocoa powder (I use Hershey’s Special Dark)
- ¾tsp fine salt
- ⅓c milk chocolate chips (I often use ⅓ heaping cup of mini Hershey Kisses)
- 3tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chunks (I like Scharffen Berger)
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Lightly spray an 11”x7” brownie pan with non-stick cooking spray. Line pan with parchment paper for easy removal.
- In a medium bowl, combine cake flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Set aside.
- In a small bowl, combine milk chocolate chips and semi-sweet chocolate chunks. Sprinkle in about 1tbsp of the flour mixture. This helps prevent the chips from sinking during baking. Put these chips into the freezer until ready to use. The purpose of this step is to prevent the chips from melting immediately when they hit the warm brownie batter.
- In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, melt together the butter and 4½oz bittersweet chocolate. This step takes about 3-5 minutes.
- Remove melted chocolate mixture from the heat. Stir in sugar and vanilla until well combined.
- Add eggs, stirring until well combined.
- Fold in the flour mixture until just combined.
- Remove chocolate chips from the freezer and add into the brownie mixture.
- Spread into prepared pan.
- Bake for 47-53 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached.
- Allow to cool for about 25-30 minutes in the pan before removing to be cut.
- Use a plastic knife for clean, neat cuts.