I’m sure that I’ve mentioned my Mom’s cooking habits on this blog before. (Sorry, Mom, but I have to go here. It’s the only way they’ll understand me.) So, let me paint a picture of my Mom for you. First of all, she’s tiny. She’s stubborn. She is not afraid of anyone, she and my Dad raised five (awesome) kids while working full time, and this woman does what she wants. Period.
She also ends a lot of her sentences with “period.”
She also happens to be a lifetime journalist, writer and editor and nothing drives her crazy like grammatical errors and incorrect punctuation. I’m glad that it’s impossible for her to take a red pen to my blog posts, because I know it wouldn’t be pretty.
My point in all this is that because she’s so headstrong (stubborn), I can guarantee you that the number of times she’s actually followed a recipe in her kitchen is exactly zero. She can’t, and I mean she CAN’T, follow a recipe without adding to it, altering it, or doctoring it.
She knows it.
This is why growing up I don’t think I had ever had a brownie that wasn’t completely gooey in the center. She would bake them for twice as long as they should take and they still wouldn’t firm up.
Now, ask me how many of those pans of brownies went uneaten? Exactly zero. They were fabulous. Kind of like brownie batter. Yes, sometimes you had to eat them with a spoon, but that never stopped us. (Mom, I won’t mention all of the times you made brownie batter just so you could EAT the brownie batter…)
They’re cakey, fudgy, chewy and have a perfectly crisp “shell” on the top. They don’t need frosting. All they require is a big glass of cold milk. Or, ice-cream. Your choice.
Don’t be like me and eat them for dinner.
You also have a decision to make before you whip these up. Ask yourself what kind of chocolate you like – do you want a dark, bitter brownie or a light, sweet brownie? I’ve made them both ways this week, and I’ve found that I like the milk chocolate version best. The bittersweet version was way too much for me. I haven’t tried semi-sweet yet, but that’s next. Whatever your preference, just make the substitution and no other changes are necessary. Oh, and PS – these are a one-bowl recipe. They’re amazing.
Enjoy! (And see that comment button below? USE IT! Nothing makes me happier than comments from my readers! And find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+!)
1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate -OR- milk chocolate -OR- semi-sweet chocolate
1 and 1/4 cups unsalted butter (20 Tablespoons/2 and 1/2 sticks)
2 and 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs
Optional: nuts – add 1 and 1/2 cups of your your favorite chopped nut
Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F). Put oven rack in lower-middle position. Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with parchment paper, leaving two flaps of paper hanging over the side of the pan. You’ll use these flaps to remove the brownies from the pan when they’re done. Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.
In a large, heat-safe bowl (this will be your mixing bowl), combine the butter and chocolate. Place the bowl in the microwave until the butter is melted. Remove from microwave and whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth. *DO NOT overheat this mixture in the microwave, it will ruin your chocolate. Just heat it enough to melt the butter – the heat of the melted butter will slowly melt the chocolate. If preferred, you can use a double-boiler on the stove top to melt the mixture instead. I prefer the microwave because it’s quicker.*
Once the chocolate is smooth, whisk in the sugar and vanilla. Mix until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each one completely before adding the next. Continue to whisk the mixture until it’s smooth and takes on a glossy appearance.
Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture. Use a large wooden spoon to stir until just incorporated. You don’t want to over mix at this stage. Gently stir in nuts, if using.
Bake brownies for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with “wet crumbs.” Don’t over bake. I’ve never had these take more than 40 minutes.
Allow brownies to cool on a wire rack until cool. Run a knife around the edge of the brownies, then use your parchment flaps to remove them all from the pan. Cool completely, for at least 3 hours. Cut with a pizza cutter or a large knife and serve immediately. Do not cut unused portion, they will last longer and not dry out so quickly.
Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Source: Adapted from My Baking Addiction via “The Perfect Recipe: Getting it Right Every Time” by Pam Anderson1