I’ve made a lot of brownies in the past few years, and have several that rank as my favorites. David enjoys eating the brownies I’ve made, but doesn’t get particularly excited about them. I am lucky in that he appreciates made-from-scratch food and doesn’t like things from a box. Most of the time. He really likes brownies from a box. For a while, I wasn’t sure what was so appealing about them, but then I found out that he really likes the chewiness. When I got the most recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, I saw that they had a recipe that rivaled the chewiness of boxed brownies. I decided to make them and see if they met David’s approval.
Turns out…they did! These brownies were perfectly chewy, and had the texture of boxed brownies without the fake taste. They were sweet, they had a full chocolate flavor, were a little fudgy, and overall were great brownies. It turns out that the chewiness comes from getting the right balance of saturated and unsaturated fat. David says that these are his favorite, and now he has seen that a homemade brownie really is the best 🙂
Source: Cook’s Illustrated Marc/April 2010
NOTE: I halved the recipe and baked them for 30 minutes.
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
1 ½ teaspoons instant espresso (optional)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sugar (17 ½ ounces)
1 3/4 cups (8 ¾ ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
¾ teaspoon salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into ½-inch pieces
Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Fit foil into length of 13×9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in 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, yolk, 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 with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1 ½ hours.
Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.