I can never stick to just one brownie recipe. While I actually have a few that I can turn to when I need a no-fail chocolate hit, the lure of trying out a new brownie recipe is just too strong to resist. Some of my baking books have as many as 15 recipes for brownies alone!
Fellow food blogger, Nic, had it right when she said that she’s baked so many brownies that she can no longer identify what she thought she liked in a brownie. I can so relate.
The brownie that I fall in love with has to have no nuts, first and foremost. I adore nuts, but they have no place in my brownie. My Bin, on the other hand, demands nuts in his brownies, so I bake a special “nutty” half batch for him. It’s one of the few food issues we have where we don’t get along.
My brownie also has to strike a balance between fudgy and chewy: Fudgy enough for a memorably moist texture and “bite,” which is where the chew factor comes in. I despise cakey brownies because they are almost always too dry for me.
Given the above criteria, I look for specific techniques in a recipe which will give me the brownie I want:
In short, the brownie I covet uses a lot of chocolate (complexity of flavor), plenty of sugar (for chew), just enough flour for structure (so it’s not too fudgy), gentle beating (to prevent cakiness), and slight underbaking (for density and moistness). A brownie is a bold chocolate statement. It’s not enough for it to be sweet, it’s got to have exceptional texture and lots of flavor.
These brownies are made from three kinds of chocolate: cocoa powder, unsweetened, and bittersweet; two kinds of flour: cake flour and all-purpose; and superfine sugar, instead of granulated sugar. How do they taste? They’re creamy (almost too creamy), and dense with crusty edges and soft centers. They’re not too far away from my ideal brownie, but that entire chocolate bar I threw in for kicks brings them close enough.
… these were made by an 8-year old! Shireen Gopaldas is the daughter of Sanju, a frequent visitor to this site. I mentioned him before, because Sanju’s sister, Roshan, is a celebrated baker. It appears that good baking runs in this family. My god, with this kind of talent, it makes me wonder what I was doing when I was 8 — certainly nothing as spectacular as making brownies!