Category Archives: Bars and Brownies

Classic Brownies

My grandma makes the best brownies in the world. (She claims they’re from a box. I don’t believe her.) But these brownies, these brownies might give you a run for your money grandma. The recipe, originally a Cooks Illustrated recipe, I found in the archives of my favorite food blogger, Deb of the Smitten Kitchen. Her recipes are beautiful and have not once let me down. If Deb were a man I would long ago have hopped on a plane to New York and professed my love, a pan of these brownies in hand.

For some reason, unbeknownst to me, I always assumed homemade brownies would not be worth the time and effort. Why bother making brownies from scratch when those Ghirardelli brownies from the box are pretty damn good? Here’s why: they’re easy and delicious. Trust me, I ate seven in one night. For better or for worse, not an exaggeration.

Classic Brownies

adapted from Cooks Illustrated via the Smitten Kitchen

Be sure to test for doneness before removing the brownies from the oven. If underbaked (the toothpick has batter clinging to it) the texture of the brownies will be dense and gummy. If overbaked (the toothpick comes out completely clean), the brownies will be dry and cakey.

Makes 18-24 brownies

1 1/4 cups (5 ounces) cake flour

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon baking powder

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into six 1-inch pieces

2 1/4 cups (15 3/4 ounces) sugar

4 large eggs

1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Adjust oven rack to middle position; heat oven to 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.

Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.

Melt chocolate and butter in large saucepan over medium-low heat, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.)

When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs on at a time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.

Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature, for up to 3 days, or, ahem, in the freezer until your resistance gets the better of you.)

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