I had intentions last week to make a flourless brownie using almond flour. And though I figured it would taste good enough, and though I’ve waxed on about trying to keep my flour consumption down, sometimes the love of good food just wins out. Okay, very often, it wins out.
I blame Top Chef Masters. My good intentions went south while watching some of the most talented chefs in the US compete, showcasing both their cuisines and favorite dishes. I started to dream of winning the lottery, simply so that I could take a culinary tour across the country, sampling the best this talent had to offer.
Dreams of winning the lottery morphed into a hamburger with the bun, homemade pizza, and even brownies. And then I came across a recipe for brownies smothered in a peanut butter icing, and topped with a ganache. Once I cleaned up the drool from my keyboard, I asked a friend if he would like to have some.
He said no. N-O. He preferred a regular brownie.
So I started to think. I mentally flipped through the pages of my cookbooks, thought about what I’d seen on some of my favorite cooking blogs. Oh! What about Ina’s Brownie Pudding? I immediately called said friend and asked what he thought about gooey brownies.
He didn’t want a brownie he had to eat with a fork/spoon. Sigh.
And that’s when I remembered The Baked Brownie, voted the best brownie in the whole, entire country, by America’s Test Kitchen. Hmm. So I pulled out my cookbook and read over the recipe. I weighed my chocolate stash, and sure enough, I had enough, as long as I was willing to add some really dark chocolate to the party. Ah well, the more variety, the merrier, right?
This recipe delivers everything you expect from a perfect brownie: a rich, fudgy bar and a paper-thin top. I can see why it was voted number one – this is indeed the perfect brownie.
The Baked Brownie
adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
1 1/4 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 T dark unsweetened cocoa powder*
3 oz 60% cacao chocolate, chopped coarsely
6 oz 70 % cacao chocolate, chopped coarsely
2 oz 85% cacao chocolate, chopped coarsely
1 c unsalted butter, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 1/2 c granulated sugar
1/2 c packed light brown sugar
5 large room temperature eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350*F. Butter or spray a 9X13 inch glass baking dish or light-colored metal baking pan, set aside.
Fill a medium-sized saucepan halfway and bring to a simmer over moderate heat. In a large, heatproof bowl, combine chocolate, espresso powder, and butter, stirring occasionally.
Whisk flour, cocoa powder, and salt in a small mixing bowl. Set aside.
When chocolate mixture is melted and smooth, turn off the burner but leave the bowl over the water. Add sugars to the chocolate, and whisk to combine. Remove bowl from water. Add 3 of the eggs, whisk until just combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk, just until combined. Add the vanilla and whisk gently, being very careful not to overmix.
Sprinkle flour mixture over the batter and use a spatula (not the whisk) to fold the flour into the mixture, stopping when you see a few remaining bits of flour mixture.
Bake for 25-30 minutes total, rotating pan after 15 minutes. Be careful not to overbake.
*Baked cautions against using a light-colored cocoa powder, it won’t have enough depth of flavor.