the best brownies

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Today is Thanksgiving – or, perhaps more appropriately, The Day No One Wants to Read About More Food.  Appropriately, I’ve chosen this day to provide a recipe for brownies that are far more moist, chocolatey, and delicious than anyone needs to hear about after glutting themselves at the annual American Ultra Feast.

So in the spirit of family, the holiday, and the glories of excess, I’ll cut to the chase.  I may have mentioned that I’ve been looking for a new brownie recipe; I’m happy to say that I’ve now found it.  I’m usually attracted to more complex recipes, but after seeing Jen’s photos of these brownies, I was drooling and sold.

mix in the dry ingredients - these babies have chocolate AND cocoa

They’re chewy and chocolatey, but firm enough to cut nicely.  The top crumbles a tiny bit when you slice them, which gives the brownies nice layers of texture: the bottom is firm, giving way to chewy, chocolate goo in the middle and a crackled upper crust.  They’ve also convinced me that I need a subscription to Fine Cooking.  In short, they’re spectacular.

try this batter, and you won't have any left for the brownies

As much as I love fall-spirited desserts, these may haunt my thoughts tonight and tomorrow as I attend my double-whammy Thanksgiving celebrations – although they would certainly do so with greater persistence if I weren’t bringing candied pecans, chocolate dulce de leche bars, and a dark chocolate tart.  Just wait, friends.

Happy Thanksgiving, all.

Chewy Brownies
Adapted from Fine Cooking issue #34 (September 1999) – I found it through Jen

I have a confession to make.  I didn’t read the recipe thoroughly enough, which meant that I failed to notice that it called for unsweetened as opposed to semisweet chocolate.  To remedy this, I reduced the sugar and got fine results, but I would still recommend going the unsweetened route.  If you’re feeling adventurous or are just stuck like I was, I’m adding my additional changes for semisweet chocolate in brackets.  When I made this, I also tripled it with no problems – as written, it’s tripled; if you want a normal-sized batch, divide by three and use an 8-inch square pan.

12 oz. unsalted butter, plus a little to grease the pan [*Alli’s note: I did fine with cooking spray for the pan]
12 oz. unsweetened chocolate [semisweet]
4.5 cups sugar [3.5 cups sugar]
1 tsp salt
6 tsps vanilla extract
6 large eggs, at room temperature
13.5 oz (3 cup) flour
8 tbsps cocoa powder

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease or butter two 13×9 inch baking pans. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper, then grease or butter the parchment.

Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler over simmering water; alternately, heat gently in the microwave for 30 seconds, then at 15-second intervals, stirring after each heating.  Err on the side of caution – when the chocolate barely holds its shape, keep stirring, and it will probably melt on its own. Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat the eggs in one at a time until blended. Add flour and cocoa and beat until the batter is just smooth.

Pour the batter into the pan and bake on the center rack in oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (a few moist crumbs are okay, but no drippy batter). This should take about 35 to 45 minutes. [*Alli’s note: I think I got paranoid about gooey, un-sliceable brownies and went a little long on these.  I wouldn’t go above 45 minutes.]  Set on a rack until cool enough to handle.

Loosen edges with a knife and invert the brownie onto a plate or platter (even a paper towel words]. Peel the parchment off the bottom, flip the brownies right-side-up and let cool completely.  Cut with a sharp knife.  [*Alli’s note: These will be easier to cut if chilled; I’ll do that next time.]

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