28 February 2010
Posted by Paul Anater at 6:16 AM
I found the basis of this recipe on the fantastic website Smitten Kitchen and have been tweaking and perfecting it for the last few weeks. Deb Perelman (who is the voice of Smitten Kitchen) pronounced these the Best Cocoa Brownies. I'll take it a step further and pronounce them the best damn brownies I've ever made or tasted anywhere. They have the perfect texture, Deb Perelman describes it as "chewy and candy-like." She's right. One of these babies with a cup of coffee in the morning and that's what I call the breakfast of kings.
Brownies made with cocoa have a richer flavor, and by the time you add in the semi sweet chips what you're in for is a bittersweet chocolate fantasy. Really. These things are a snap to make, all it takes it a little patience and about 45 minutes. Life's too short to eat crap out of a box. Remember that.
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ¼ cups sugar
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, cold
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup chopped walnuts
½ cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of an 8×8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot. It looks fairly gritty at this point, but don’t fret — it smooths out once the eggs and flour are added.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.