The search is over. At the risk of sounding arrogant I'd like to state that this is the Best brownie recipe. Ever.
After years of trial and error searching for the near-perfect recipe and an obsessive amount of tweaking, I’m happy to say that these brownies are The Brownies. They’re rich, dense and fudgy; they slice well and hold their shape yet melt in your mouth. The flavor is the perfect balance of sweet and rich. These beat the boxed variety by far and the prep really isn’t that much more difficult. It’s a great base recipe, and variations on it are as far reaching as the imagination. I mean, what doesn’t go well with brownies? Once you’ve mastered the basic recipe I highly recommend trying some of my favorite flavor combinations: Turtle Brownies; Double Chocolate Mint Brownies; German Chocolate Brownies; and Hot-n-Spicy Chile de Arbol Brownies.
For years I had a love / hate relationship with homemade brownies. They can be so delicious but I really struggled to find a way to make them from scratch that was as good as the boxed variety. I made bricks. I made inedible raw goop. I made bitter brownies. I made greasy brownies. I made crumbly brownies.
Years of research helped me understand the science of how the ingredients relate to each other and what could make this recipe foolproof. Follow the instructions exactly as written, and I guarantee you will be as thrilled as I am with the final result.
100 gr. good quality unsalted butter
100 gr. good quality dark chocolate, chopped into small chunks (70% is fine, anything over 80% will give a more intense flavor for when you really mean business).
2 Tbsp neutral flavored vegetable oil
250 g / 1 ¼ c. refined white sugar
3 large eggs + 1 yolk
120 g / 1 c. all-purpose flour, sifted
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
25 g / ¼ c. cocoa (regular works fine, or use extra brute for a darker brownie with more intense chocolate flavor).
Preheat your oven to 350 F / 176 C.
Grease a square 9” / 23 cm pan, or line with baking paper.
Sift the dry ingredients and whisk together to mix. Set aside.
In a medium sized saucepan, melt the butter and chocolate over very low heat. Stir constantly, creating an emulsion with the butter and chocolate. It’s critical to not overheat it as this will actually separate the fats rather than emulsify them and could burn the chocolate. Separating the fat at this stage will result in a flat, brittle, hard brownie with a greasy outer edge. So, once my pan is warm enough to begin melting the ingredients, I turn the burner off and allow the residual heat to do the rest. You’ll know you’re doing this right if your chocolate and butter aren’t rejecting each other and your mixture is smooth and evenly shiny. Once there are no more visible chocolate chunks, add the oil and sugar all at once. Stir well. (You don’t need any more heat at this point). Let it cool otherwise you might end up with scrambled eggs. Add the eggs and additional yolk, one by one, and stir till smooth after each addition. If done right, you’ll notice that your brownie dough already has a fudgy, sticky consistency. Add the (sifted) dry ingredients all at once. Carefully mix with a rubber spatula. It’s important to mix the maximum amount of dry into wet as possible with each stir. (Over stirring at this point will result in a very dry brownie). So kick it up from the bottom each time, folding wet over dry, turning your pan, and repeating the process till very few streaks of dry ingredients remain. (These will be absorbed by the moisture and worked in while poured into the baking pan). Trust me on this one. Don’t over stir.
Gently pour the dough into your prepared pan, working it into the edges. Now drop the pan onto the countertop from a few inches above in order to help it “settle.”
Check that your oven temperature is correct and bake for about 40 – 50 min. Do not over bake.
When done, the brownies will be set, but still slightly gooey in the center, so perform a toothpick test halfway between the center and the outer edge. Crumbs are ok, gooey raw dough in this region is not.
Remove from the oven and place pan on a wire rack to cool completely.
Dry add-ins can be thrown in with the dry ingredients. These include walnuts, pecans, peanuts, chopped roasted almonds, chocolate chunks and chips, pieces of Oreo cookie, M&M’s, Reese’s Pieces, Reese’s PB Cups, toffee chips, pretzels, even espresso grounds or pieces of chile de arbol.
Wet add-ins can be swirled in after pouring the prepared batter into the pan. These include peanut butter, Nutela, cheesecake filling, jams, caramel, and cake batters such as Red Velvet.
There’s a myriad of combinations to try.
These brownies are phenomenal plain, or with the add-ins mentioned above, or you can convert them into an entirely different dessert, such as the fudgy layer in a triple chocolate fudge cake, or as part of exquisite entremets.