Martha’s Double Chocolate Brownies

Here we go again, another brownie recipe.  I had to do it though…one of my co-workers is addicted to brownies – and it was his birthday.  How could I not use this opportunity to try another recipe?  Instead of using oil, this recipe calls for butter, and I wanted to see the difference.  Oil definitely makes a moister chewier brownie, but these brownies were pretty terrific.  They had a wonderful chocolate flavor and were very moist – the one difference is how long they stayed moist.  With this recipe, the brownies stayed moist for days – but after a couple of days these brownies started to taste stale.

So, if you need to make brownies ahead of time, go with this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated.  But, if you are looking for a quick delicious recipe that you are going to serve that day – I highly recommend this one from Martha’s Cookie Book.  You just can’t beat the simplicity.

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pan
  • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line a buttered 8-inch square baking pan with parchment, allowing a 2-inch overhang.  Butter lining (not overhang).

Put butter, chocolate, and cocoa powder in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; stir until butter and chocolate have melted.  Let cool slightly.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt in a bowl.  Put sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until pale, about 4 minutes.  Add chocolate mixture; mix until combined.  Reduce speed to low.  Add flour mixture; mix, scraping down sides of bowl, until well combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly with a spatula.  Bake until a cake tester inserted into brownies (avoid center and edges) comes out with a few crumbs but is not wet, about 35 minutes.  Let cool slightly in pan, about 15 minutes.  Lift out; let cool completely on a wire rack before cutting into squares.  Brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Makes 9 large brownies, or 16 small.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Martha’s Double Chocolate Brownies

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Chewy Brownies

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!” 

Ingredients

  • 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

Preparation

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.

For a printer-friendly version of this recipe, please click here:  Chewy Brownies

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