Ok – I made it to the chewy brownies – and I am so happy I did. Over the years I have occasionally made boxed brownies when absolutely necessary – like when we went to the Washington coast for a weekend, and I wanted to make brownies at the house we were staying at, but didn’t want to bring all the ingredients. Or in college when it was just too expensive to buy all the ingredients for just one pan of brownies. I have to say, whenever I have done that, the brownies are delicious, and they are usually very chewy. Could it be that you are adding oil to the mix, and not butter?
It just so happens that in Cook’s Illustrated last month, they had an article about the best chewy brownies – they say it is all in the type of fat you use. Well – I can’t refute them – I made their version, and they were amazing. Instead of using all butter, this recipe called for half butter and half vegetable oil. I actually didn’t use all of the oil it called for, and mine were plenty good, I wasn’t missing a thing. Also, I didn’t have any bittersweet chocolate in the house, so I used semisweet – so mine were more on the milk chocolate end, but still ridiculously good.
The best story that came out of these brownies? I served them for my daughter’s book club, and the next day I packed her on of the left-overs in her lunch. She happened to be eating lunch with one of the girls from the book club, and she asked if those were the same brownies that they had the night before. When my daughter said yes, her friend said, “You are lucky, those were the best brownies ever!”
- 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon table salt
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees with the oven rack on the lowest position. Using a 9×13 baking pan, cut two pieces of foil, and fold the edges over so they fit perfectly in the pan. Place on piece of foil lengthwise, and one width-wise. This will allow you to lift the brownies easily out of the pan after they are cooked. Once the foil has been fitted into the pan, spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in a large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out clean with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to a rack and cool for 1 1/2 hours.
Using foil overhang, lift the brownies from the pan. Return brownies to a wire rack and let them cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
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