Today, let’s talk brownies. It seems like the #1 prerequisite for writing a cookbook these days is that you have to include a brownie recipe. And damn, it better be a good one. Luckily for the guys at Baked in Red Hook, Brooklyn (NY, that is) they had one. And it’s truly the recipe that put them on the map. Actually, praise Oprah for making this brownie one of her “Favorite Things” a few years ago, thus making this the most famous brownie recipe ever. The Baked: New Frontiers in Baking cookbook was born thereafter Oprah and frankly, this recipe is what made me want to buy the want to buy the cookbook. I’m sure I’m not the only one.
I’ve talked about quite a few different brownie recipes here over the years. Here are just a few of them:
- David Lebovitz’s Chewy-Dense Brownies
- Martha Stewart’s Double Chocolate Brownies
- Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies in 3 different versions
And out of those three base recipes, David’s brownies are hands-down my favorite. Just as the title describes, they are chewy, dense, and downright perfect. But, I have to say that the Baked brownie, with all of its high (Godly?) expectations, gives David’s recipe a full-on run for its money. Shall I say that it may have taken over the top seed on my list? The texture is very similar to that of the Chewy-Dense Brownie but there seems to be an extra level of richness. Of course, this could have been due to the handful of Heath Bar bits I threw into the batter and butterscotch chips I topped the batter with before baking, but all in all, I won’t hesitate to make the Baked brownie again and again. It really is something special and you can bet your butt that the next time I drive down to Long Island to see my parents, a side-trip to Baked will be in my plans. I hear they sell other things too.
**EDIT** The winner of the copy of Peter Reinhart’s The Bread Baker’s Apprentice is Kimberly @redheadrunswild!!
The Baked Brownie
source: adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Baked Note: A great brownie is easy to make, but you have to be aware of several factors. (1) Use a dark unsweetened cocoa powder like Valrhona. A pale, light-colored cocoa does not have enough depth. (2) Make sure your eggs are room temperature, and do not overbeat them into the batter. (3) Check your brownies often as they bake. An even slightly overbaked brownie is not a Baked Brownie.
- 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 tbsp dark cocoa powder
- 11 oz quality bittersweet chocolate (60-72% cacao), chopped coarsely
- 8 oz (2 sticks) butter, cut into 1 inch cubes
- 1 tsp instant espresso powder
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- ½ cup light brown sugar
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup Heath bits
- 1 cup butterscotch chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter the sides and bottom of a glass or light colored metal pan 9 x 13 x 2 pan.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, the salt, and cocoa powder.
- Put the chocolate, the 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 of the double boiler and add the sugars. Whisk the sugars until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
- Add three eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and Heath bits and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle the butterscotch chips evenly over the top of the batter. 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 cook completely, then cut them into squares and serve.
Yields: 24 brownies