I decided to buy actual bakery boxes to mostly deliver any cookie orders or desserts I made that needed to be transported, instead of taking from my stash of mismatched tupperware. I ended up getting a great deal on Amazon, but I had to get 250 boxes! That’s going to be a lot of orders, I wonder how many years, possibly decades I will have them for…I was so excited when I got the incredibly heavy package delivered, I couldn’t resist putting one together. Isn’t it beautiful?
Well now it has been sitting on my counter for the last day, just empty and sad. So I needed to do something about that! I must make the best brownies you will ever have….in your life! After making this recipe, it changed my view on brownies completely. In a few posts back, I mentioned how I love, love, love boxed mixed cakes, but I hate, Hate, HATE, boxed mixed brownies!! After making this recipe you will see there is nothing like homemade, made from scratch brownies.
This brownie recipe is no joke! My brother sent me this dessert lover’s cookbook: Baked: New Frontiers In Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito when if first became published in 2008. Baked is a bakery in Brooklyn, which I have been dying to check out every time I visit back home, but still haven’t made it there yet. I made quite a few recipes from this book, they are all are fabulous and hit the spot! I love New Frontiers in Baking so much I had to own their other 3 books. I must say I have quite the cookbook collection. So let us begin on this journey together, be prepared, your life will never be the same!
First things first you need to get yourself parchment paper, if you don’t have/or never used parchment paper for baking, you really should try it, it makes all the difference for any food item from sticking to the pan. I use it 99% of the time during baking. In this recipe you will be using a 9×13 glass dish; butter the dish then cut a piece of parchment paper to line the bottom and sides it, if you have a little excess paper you can just trim that up. Once the paper is down, butter the paper. I like to use semi soft, unsalted butter for this part, about 1/2 tablespoon will do it for both the top and bottom, to give you a thin coverage.
Next up let’s meet the rest of the cast;
Bowl #1 (medium bowl-this is important for later) we have all-purpose flour, kosher salt and dark unsweetened cocoa powder.
Bowl #2 (large bowl) coming in at a little over 11 ounces dark chocolate chips, unsalted butter and espresso (pronounced ES-Pres-ou, NOT EXPRESSO). This time around I used hershey’s dark chocolate chips. If I am going to melt chocolate, I find it easier and time saving to use chips, instead of chopping up a block of chocolate, but that is my own personal preference. For this recipe you want to use dark chocolate that is at least 60% cacao.
Bowl #3 granulated sugar and
light dark brown sugar (I tend to always use dark brown, I like more molasses, again personal preference.)
Finally we have eggs and vanilla extract…PURE vanilla extract. The only time I use imitation extract is when I need clear vanilla for my royal icing, other than that you should always use the best vanilla extract you can find, trust me, it makes all the difference.
After you mixed the flour, salt and cocoa powder together, you want to start working on melting the chocolate, butter and espresso in a double boiler. Now you don’t need to own an actual double boiler, all you need is a medium size sauce pan filled about a 1/4 of the way up with water and a heat proof bowl. Important you need to make sure that the water does not touch the bowl when covered. Now I know what you are all thinking, 2 sticks of BUTTER?!?! I like to think of this way, it’s not like you are going to eat the whole pan of brownies in one sitting, or are you??…Resist it people, resist.
When the chocolate is all melted, turn off the heat and add the sugars. Combine then remove from the heat.
Before the next step, you need to make sure the batter is almost room temperature. You will be adding the eggs and if the chocolate mixture is too hot, it will cook your eggs and you will have scrambled eggs in your brownies. Hey, it would be a breakfast dish! I’ll take it! But in all seriousness, try to wait it out, don’t rush, wash some dishes, yell at the barking dog, but just hold up until it cools. I love kitchen gadgets, so this is where my infrared laser thermometer comes in handy. Now lets add the eggs, I recommend cracking them in a separate bowl, instead of cracking them right into the batter. This will reduce the chances of shells or if you have a bad egg ruining the recipe. After you combined the eggs, you can add the vanilla, but try not to overbeat at this point or your brownies will end up cakey. Now you can add the flour mix from bowl #1, just sprinkle on top and fold into the batter, it’s okay if there are little bits of flour showing. Then add it to the prepared buttered baking dish and smooth out.
Bake at 350℉ for 30-35 minutes rotating half way through until a few moist crumbs come out on a toothpick tester. And it’s done! Now wait for it too cool down.
Here is a little trick I came across on accident. One time I was trying to get the brownies to cool down quicker, so I popped them in the refrigerator (after they had cool down a bit on the counter, I do not recommend putting anything that is pipping hot into cold fridge). I found after sitting in the fridge for a few hours, the brownies popped out of the dish, like a stiff board and when cutting, I was able to get smooth edges and the chances of crumbling apart decreased. Now, I do that anytime I make brownies or bars. So just wait for them to get to room temp on the counter, then put them in the fridge for an hour or two, that is, if you can resist eating the brownies right away.
Now I finally got to use one of my bakery boxes. All is good in the world. Only 249 boxes to go, well actually 248 the first one we pulled out of the box was ripped. Womp, womp…
The Baked Brownie aka The Best Brownies Ever
Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking
Yields: 24 brownies
1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped or use chips
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed dark or light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350℉. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9×13 glass or light-colored baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper and rebutter.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Put the chocolate, butter and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Crack the eggs in a separate bowl first then add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula, fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30-35 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely at room temperature, then place them in the refrigerator for a few hours to chill. Once chilled, lift them out of the pan using the parchment paper. Cut into 24 squares and serve.
Wrap in plastic wrap or store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. (if they last that long.)
Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking