I picked up the most lovely cookbook three years ago at my Lincoln library, checked it out about 5 times, and finally decided to buy it. It’s called Baked, and I’ve now seen it at Williams-Sonoma. It’s from a small bakery in Brooklyn, and it’s cover claims that America’s Test Kitchen rated it’s brownie the best in America. BEST. Don’t you have to buy a book that says that?
So, I’ve made the Baked Brownie, and it is decadent and lovely. But, I had a bake-off, using the exact same chocolate, with the Baked brownie and three others, one from America’s Test Kitchen, a box mix, and a Joy of Cooking recipe that I love. Well, 7 out of 8 votes went to America’s Test Kitchen. So for what it’s worth, I’ll post that recipe as well (when I can get to it!). I should note, though, that it’s essential to use good chocolate. I don’t use Baker’s anymore–I usually buy a bulk amount of Guittard, Ghiradelli, or if I can find it, Caillebaut. Candy stores (J.A.R. in R.I., Funfinity in Provo, Orson Gygi’s in Salt Lake) sell these in large amounts, which makes the price per oz. better than Baker’s, and then you can use it over the course of several months (or split it with a friend). I also try to get my loving relatives to bring me Trader Joe’s 1 lb. bars of dark chocolate, which I think are pretty grand. That’s what I’ve been making these with lately.
The Baked Brownie
1 1/4 c. all-purpose flour
1 t. salt
2 T. dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 oz. dark chocolate, 60-72% (this is a lot!)
1 c. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
1 t. instant espresso powder (I leave this out ’cause I never have any)
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed light brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature (which I accomplish by placing the eggs in a warm bowl of water before doing anything else so they can warm while I prepare the rest of the ingredients)
2 t. pure vanilla extract
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter the sides and bottom of a 9 x 13 glass or light-colored metal baking pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, salt, and cocoa powder together.
Put the chocolate, butter, and instant espresso powder in a large bowl and set it over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter are completely melted and smooth. Turn off the heat, but keep the bowl over the water and add the sugars. Whisk until completely combined, then remove the bowl from the pan. The mixture should be room temperature.
Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined. Add the remaining eggs and whisk until combined. Add the vanilla and stir until combined. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or your brownies will be cakey.
Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (not a whisk), fold the flour mixture into the chocolate until just a bit of the flour mixture is visible.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake in the center of the oven for 30 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs sticking to it. Let the brownies cool completely, then cut them into squares and serve.
Tightly covered with plastic wrap, the brownies keep at room temperature for up to 3 days. (And if you can resist, they taste better 24 hours after baking.)