One of my bad baking habits is that I can never leave a good recipe alone. Take brownies, for instance. I have one fail-safe, goof proof, satisfaction guaranteed recipe, but when I start craving for brownies, I always try a new one from among the 80 waiting on my to-try list. Then, when I start moaning and groaning to my Bin about what a lousy recipe it was, he just rolls his eyes.
For me, brownies are like chocolate cake: I’ve tried so many recipes and eaten so many kinds that I’m not sure anymore what constitutes a good one. On first bite however, I know. I’ve described my ideal brownie in past articles, and I still maintain that there is no other dessert that exalts the flavor of chocolate like a brownie.
A good brownie has to resonate with deep chocolate flavor. Preferably, a combination of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate is used for depth, and a few tablespoons of cocoa powder to smoothen out the edges and darken the color, for a brownie the color of midnight is breathtakingly alluring. Then the brownie must be made with plenty of butter ”“ melted, not beaten, in order to provide that lilting, fudgy texture that coats the tongue. Add enough sugar to attain the perfection of sweetness, but not too much ”“ a brownie that tastes only of sugar is an abomination. Now, add enough flour and eggs for structure to keep everything together, and then a whisper of baking soda to open the crumb, giving it that “bite” of gentle resistance when bitten. No nuts please, but miniature chocolate chips would be magnificent, for when a brownie batter is plied with nuggets of chocolate, it only serves to raise an already lofty dessert to stratospheric heights. The tiny chunks are constant whispers of chocolate lingering on the tongue, echoing in the heart.
Chocolate builds upon chocolate, radiating flavor by clinging to the batter in dark, delicious spots. Of course you must serve your brownies in looming, substantial pieces, brash and bold, perfect plate-mates with ice cream all too ready to surrender to the summer heat.
It almost sounds like a dream, really, but these brownies do exist. Chinggay Labrador makes them in medium-sized pans, enough for sharing but you’d want to keep them for yourself, really. With a baking business called Superfudge, it’s no wonder her brownies are top notch. Now in her late 20’s, she’s been baking them since she was in grade school, still the same recipe with just a few tweaks here and there. Lucky girl. I could learn a lesson or two from her about fidelity to a recipe.
Brownies are brownies. Untrue. A fallacy. When asked what makes her brownies different from everybody else’s, Chinggay replies, “They’re much fudgier and softer! They also taste better when they’re slightly heated and taken with some ice cream.”
To try is to believe.
Superfudge brownies by Chinggay Labrador
P280/8 pieces, each measuring 2×2 inches