This may not come as a surprise to any of you, but I am very particular about my baked goods. Muffins, scones, croissants, cookies—they all have to have that certain je ne sais quoi or else I will throw them out the window. Of a moving car. During rush hour. At some old lady piloting a Cadillac El Dorado. So really, exceptional baked goods are a concern of safety in my world.
Perfect brownies are illusive creatures by nature—it’s difficult to find a recipe that isn’t too cakey or too batter-y. It’s even harder to find a good brownie at a bakery. I find that they either taste like brownie-shaped paste or are just chocolate cake residing under an alias.
Part of my brownie issues stem from the fact that since I was a wee little baker in my mother’s kitchen, my dear Ma has been concocting the world’s best brownies. Or so my own picky palate tells me. I simply can’t eat another brownie because they never measure up to these fudgy (but not pasty), rich (but not batter-y) double-chocolate numbers with rich chocolate chips strewn throughout. They’re my one brownie true love.
To make them, you’ll need the basics: chocolate chips (bittersweet for a richer brownie and semi-sweet for a normal batch), sugar, flour, eggs, butter, vanilla, a titch of water, baking soda and salt.
Mix together the flour, salt and baking soda and stir to combine.
Next, grab a big ol’ saucepan and melt the butter with the sugar and water.
It never ceases to amaze me how the fluorescent lighting over my stove mars every single photo I snap there.
Stir in the chocolate chips until smooth…
…and then add the eggs one at a time, stirring after each addition. Soon it’ll be shmooove and purdy.
Whisk in the flour mixture.
I won’t judge you if you take a little taste.
Do you think there’a a job somewhere in the world where my title could be “Professional Batter Taster?” I’d be really good at it.
Finally, stir in the other half of the chocolate chips. You could also add some nuts if you’re that type o person. I usually add chopped walnuts, but this particular batch was for a party in which I didn’t know if the attendees were nut lovers or not.
Hee hee. I just said “nut lovers.”
At least I amuse myself.
Spread into a greased 9×13 pan and bake for 30-35 minutes at 325F.
And when they’re done?
Photogenic, and darn tasty, double-chocolate brownies.
The texture of these bad boys is close to perfection: a lightly crisp top layer…
…with rich, dense middles. I try not to cut the squares too big since they are fairly potent (and will inevitably land on your hips). This tactic usually backfires since I therefore eat 6 squares instead of 2. I’m not very good at math.
I adore biting into a chocolate chip now and then—it keeps life interesting.
Do you guys have a brownie recipe that you love? I’d love to hear it! Someone has to de-throne the brownies I’ve been eating since childhood.
Or not. They are my brownie mate. It’s getting serious. And I would never, ever throw them from a moving vehicle.
Double Chocolate Brownies
This recipe is adapted from one printed on a scrap of an old chocolate chip bag in Mom’s kitchen. Possibly 1980′s Nestle? At any rate, neither Mom or I can take the credit for these delicious brownies. Makes one large batch (24 or more brownies) in a 9×13″ pan–see notes below on making a half batch. The temptation is always to cut them too soon, but if you do, they’ll completely fall apart and you’ll be left with a big brownie mess. Give it patience. The chocolate chips need a chance to solidify again.
- 1 1/2 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 2/3 cup butter
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 4 tbsp water
- 2 12 oz packages semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate chips (I use Ghiradelli 60% Cacao)
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 4 eggs
- 1 cup chopped nuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 325F. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and mix to combine. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with the sugar and water. Bring just to a boil and remove from heat. Stir in one package of the chocolate chips and the vanilla extract. Whisk in the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Slowly blend in the flour mixture, and then add the remaining package of chocolate chips and the chopped nuts. Pour into a greased 9×13″ pan* and bake for 30-40 minutes, or until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Be careful not to over-bake, and make sure that your toothpick is coated with uncooked batter and not melted chocolate chips if you’re going to continue baking longer. Let cool at least 2 hours before serving.
*To make a half-batch, halve all amounts and use a greased 9×9″ square pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.