Best Brownies Ever

25 Mar

Chocolate and butter, what more could you ask for?

I was browsing through our posts recently and was shocked to discover how long it’s been since I posted a baked good recipe. I feel like I’m a much better baker than real-food cook, but I guess I’m so busy at college that I don’t have as much time to just make something delicious for myself. (Or I just don’t have time to make something delicious AND post a blog about it. Sorry.) But it was the opening night of the Children’s Theater play I’m in last Friday, and I felt like the cast might need some motivation during our Thursday rehearsal, so I decided to make these brownies.

I love you, Trader Joe

Brownies are one of the baked goods that I rarely buy in stores or bakeries. With the exception of the amazing ones at Baked, I usually find them overly sweet, not chocolate-y enough, and dry. Brownies from mixes are also usually too sweet, and without the chocolate punch. You will not think any of those thoughts about these brownies. They are intensely fudgey and just sweet enough, and if you under-bake them like I did, deliciously gooey. And it’s not just me–  they got pretty rave reviews from the cast (though home-baked goods in a college setting always seem to be met with wonder).I think the key is to beat the eggs in until the mixture is silky and pulling away from the sides of the bowl– this isn’t hard, but it is definitely more than just a regular “stir to combine”.
Three notes: I used Trader Joe’s 70% chocolate labeled as “Imported from Belgium,” which apparently was voted the best dark chocolate by Serious Eats not long ago. It is definitely the cheapest you will find, and available in little three packs and a huge “pound plus” bar, so I highly recommend it.
While I was at Trader Joe’s, I decided to pick up some dried cherries, because I’ve heard they’re awesome in brownies, and that Trader Joe’s has good ones. Unfortunately, I picked up the wrong type– I should have gone with the tart instead of the regular “Bing” cherries, but either way they added a nice textural contrast to the brownies, though not a huge amount of flavor.
Lastly, all the measurements for the recipe I followed were in weights, and I don’t have a scale. This meant a lot of looking up conversions, and a lot of guessing. I’ve put down the approximate amounts I used in cups, but can’t guarantee they are actually faithful to what Jamie intended.

Silky, silky batter. (Taking pictures of final products is hard)

The Best Brownies (Adapted from Jamie Oliver)
Equipment:
Square baking tin, two mixing bowls, saucepan or double boiler, parchment paper
Ingredients:
250 g butter (18 tablespoons, 2 sticks + 2 tbsp)
200 g dark chocolate (70% is best)
75 g dried sour cherries (I used about 1/2 a cup) (optional)
50 g chopped nuts (optional)
360 g superfine or white sugar (1 3/4 cup)
80 g cocoa powder (2/3 cup)
65 g flour (A little over 1/2 a cup)
1 tsp baking power
4 large eggs

Method: Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Line 8×8 baking tin with parchment paper (I did this very roughly with one piece and it came out fine, this is just to make lifting out and cutting the brownies easier). Roughly chop chocolate and butter into pieces and put in a large bowl over simmering water, or in double boiler, or a microwave. Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth. Roughly chop cherries if desired, and stir them and nuts in if you are using them.
In a separate bowl, mix together sugar, cocoa powder, flour, and baking powder, and add to chocolate mixture. Stir together well. Beat the eggs (in the bowl that used to have the flour in it, if you want), and stir into the chocolate mixture. Keep stirring until the batter is a silky consistency and starting to pull away from the sides.
Pour mix into tin and put in oven for 25 minutes. A toothpick shouldn’t come out clean, or they won’t be fudgey. They should be slightly springy on the outside but still gooey in the middle. Mine were a little undercooked… it’s a little hard to tell when they’re done, so if you definitely don’t like undercooked brownie then perhaps cook a little longer. Allow to cool in tray, then pick up parchment and transfer to plate to cut into squares (this is easier if they have been refrigerated, especially if they are very gooey). Try not to eat them all.

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