Tuesday, November 10, 2009

special delivery

As I mentioned in my post yesterday, my hubby and I took a day trip up the coast to see my daughter at college. One reason for the visit was to bring some encouragement. The other reason, at my daughter’s specific request, was to bring chocolate, in the form of these outrageously dense, gooey, sinfully delicious brownies.
Now the actual label for these illustrious brownies by Rick Katz is “Best-Ever Brownies”. Now this might sound a little prideful. There are many tasty brownie recipes out there, but I must say, these are pretty darn awesome. For me, it is all about the chocolate. In this recipe, the brand of chocolate is not specified…but my chocolate of choice in baking is Valrona.
Now those who are passionate about brownies argue in defense of their favorite type, cakey or fudgey. If you’re a cakey fan, go on to another recipe. These are the epitome of soft, dark, baked-just-until-barely-set brownies. Their creamy texture makes them seem wildly luxurious and very much a treat to be meted out in small servings.
The mixing method is a bit unorthodox for a brownie. Half of an egg-sugar mixture is stirred into the melted chocolate and butter, while the other half is whipped until it thickens and doubles in volume. The lightened eggs are folded into the chocolate with a delicate touch, as are the dry ingredients…tricks that enhance the brownies’ lovely texture.


Best-Ever Brownies
by Rick Katz

1 ¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
2 cups sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs

Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.
Sift the flour and salt together and set aside.
Melt the butter and chocolate together in the top of a double boiler over, not touching, simmering water. Add 1 cup of the sugar to the mixture and stir for half a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
Put the remaining 1 cup sugar and the eggs into the bowl of a mixer with the whisk attachment and beat until just combined. Little by little, pour half of the sugar and eggs into the chocolate mixture, stirring gently but constantly with a rubber spatula so that the eggs don’t set from the heat.
Whip the remaining sugar and eggs until they are thick, pale and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. Using the rubber spatula, delicately fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture. When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, gently fold in the dry ingredients.

Baking the brownies
Pour and scrape the batter into an unbuttered 9 inch square pan. Bake the brownies for 25 to 28 minutes, during which time they will rise a little and the top will turn dark and dry. Cut into the center at about the 23-minute mark to see how the brownies are progressing: They’ll be perfect if they’re just barely set and still pretty gooey. They’re still awfully good on the other side of set, so don’t worry if you miss the moment on your first try. Cool the brownies in the pan on a rack. Cut into 1 ½ by 3-inch bars to serve.

The brownies will keep, covered, for 2 to 3 days at room temperature and can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw still wrapped, at room temperature. These never freeze solid, so you might want to think about using them as a mix-in for ice cream.

makes 18 brownies


  1. These brownies look awesome! Your daughter is so lucky!

  2. i just made brownies the other day, if only i had seen this recipe sooner! definitely going to try this brownie recipe next time! sounds delicious :)

  3. I just found your blog and had to write a comment...
    We moved last year from Ohio to Mission Viejo, and I have been searching for farm markets since our move. Oh, it would be so wonderful to get some local input on wonderfulness that SoCal has to offer!
    We have discovered a farm in San Juan Capistrano (South Coast Farm) that offers herloom tomatoes in the summer, but are searching for pick-your-own produce locally. (I went to a farm in Ohio every September to pick bushells of red, yellow and orange peppers for preserving, and I really miss the close encounters with nature...)
    Your daughter is in college, and ours just started at UC Berkeley previous August! We took two trips up north and loved it! Oh, the wonders of Berkeley Bowl... They are so spoilt!
    Sorry for all this ranting, but it's so comforting to find somebody close by, with the same passion for food... Great job!