Classic Brownies

classic browniesBrownies can be baked in a million variations, and I think I may have met them all: cakey, fudgey, frosted, out of a box, made from scratch, some with nuts, some without. Caramel-swirled, cherry-studded, creme de menthed and cheesecaked.

But what if you’re craving an old-fashioned brownie? An honest-to-goodness, real-deal, crackly-topped, densely-rich brownie?

You pour yourself a glass of milk and make a batch of these.

With a perfectly yielding, chewy texture just shy of gooey (I’ve never had a brownie with a better texture; this is sink-your-teeth-in time) and the silky darkness of bittersweet chocolate, this recipe is a classic interpretation, the stuff of bake sale dreams.

If you have the option, opt for chocolate bars with around 60% cacao. Chocolate only has to be about 35% cacao to meet the FDA’s (pretty lax) standard of “bittersweet”, (and 15% for semi-sweet) but can range up to 70-80%. With that much variance from one bar to the next (in terms of food labels, it is the rootin’-tootin’ Wild West here in the States, just about anything goes), your chocolate might not taste as, well, chocolatey, and appropriately dark for a rich batch of brownies. Using a favorite dark chocolate or looking for cacao percentages will help. There’s plenty of sweetness to stand up to the cocoa in this recipe, so if you’re a dark-chocolate fanatic, you can go even darker, up to 70%. I added chocolate chips and nuts for a little extra textural oomph, but they’re easily omitted.

And I’m not kidding about that glass of milk.

Classic Brownies
adapted from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook

  • 6 1/2 oz bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter (6 oz)
  • 1 C + 1/3 C sugar
  • 1 C all purpose flour
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 C walnuts, chopped (optional)
  • 1/2 C chocolate chips (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8″ square pan with parchment paper so that you have a few inches of overhang on two sides.

Bring a medium saucepan with a few inches of water to a simmer. Put the butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl that can fit on top of the saucepan (not so close that the base of the bowl touches the water). Melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth.

Take off the heat and add the sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla and stir until incorporated. Sift in the flour and fold in to combine, making sure to scrape up the batter at the bottom of the bowl . When there are just a few streaks left of flour, fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips, if using.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for about 40 minutes, until the top is flaky but still soft in the center. (A cake tester won’t really work for this recipe.) Let cool completely in the pan. Slide a knife down the sides of the pan without parchment to loosen the brownies, then grasp the parchment and lift out to cut and serve.

Note: you can also use a 9×13 pan; decrease the baking time by 5-10 minutes.

About scarpettakate

Scarpetta Dolcetto celebrates simple, seasonal, scratch home cookery.
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6 Responses to Classic Brownies

  1. Lisa says:

    Wow, those tops are definitely crackly. I could go for a plate of your brownies right now, just the perfect dessert after my lunch. I have a linky party on my blog every Saturday called “Sweets for a Saturday” and I’d like to invite you to stop by this weekend and link this up.

  2. Oh I do love a good brownie (especially the edge pieces!). These really sound so yummy!!

  3. I love dark chocolate, the darker the better! These sound just perfect.

  4. Your photograph depicts a brownie with a few of the textures you so aptly described. I could even taste the ice cold milk as it cuts through the chocolate… I’m going to give these a try for sure!

  5. Ruth says:

    mmmmmm! As I read this post, my mouth started watering and I had to make brownies. Not any brownies but your recipe so I went out and got some good quality bittersweet chocolate and made a batch after dinner. (I skipped the nuts, its a texture thing for us.) You are soooo right! The texture of these is amazing! Thanks so much for the recipe!

  6. Margie Hansen says:

    I finally got a chance to make these for the first time this past weekend. Excellent recipe and the bittersweet chocolate flavor really shines though. A keeper!

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