Let’s all come together and agree on one thing: everyone has their comfort dessert of choice. You have it, I have it, they have it. On the day you got a bad grade, your boss or significant other is in an atrocious mood, or your a lady and it’s that time.. you just want something sweet that’s worth splurging on. In these instances, some might choose…..an Oreo cookie. Well, okay, Oreos are great, especially if dipped in milk, or alone. Or a donut or pastry. But few are capable of causing the sort of ruckus that the classic homemade brownie does. These get people in an uproar. Cakey, fudgey, dense, underbaked, overbaked?! For some reason, I picture an old colonial town hall with people saying “hearye, hearye!” while banging the hammer-thing type of debates. I’m sure they weren’t discussing brownies in those meetings, though.
To me, the best brownie has a crackly top, it’s just slightly underbaked, and it’s so dense and fudgy that it almost appears wet. If I dove into one, I wouldn’t be able to move around at all because of how concentrated it is. And there is absolutely, positively, no resemblance of cake. If it’s cakey then it’s obviously not a brownie, it’s chocolate cake!
If you don’t feel like being a fancypants and getting 11 ounces of luxurious dark chocolate for what is considered the best brownie in the world by Food Gods (for a later post), then this is brownie recipe is your definite best bet. It’s your everyday, friendly, versatile, and super easy recipe. Kind of like a nice next door neighbor that you like to visit pretty often. Everyone likes it, and it has perfect levels of chewiness, fudginess, densiness, and chocolatiness. No debate here. Except thinking about how many I’ll have, or if I’ll have it with milk, or cold, or warm….Enjoy.
Best classic brownies
Adapted from America’s Test Kitchen (of course, who else?)
Makes 24 brownies
Notes: this recipe requires cake flour because it has a softer crumb than all-purpose. But if you only have AP, no worries, proceed right along.
As hard as this may be, I wholeheartedly believe brownies are better when they rest overnight or at LEAST 6 hours. They grow into their true brownie potential after they rest. But that doesn’t mean you can’t steal a little spoonful once they’re warm.
1 cup pecans or walnuts (4 ounces), chopped medium (optional)
1 ¼ cups gluten-free all-purpose flour (5 ounces)
½ teaspoon table salt
¾ teaspoon baking powder
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1 1/2 sticks), cut into six 1-inch pieces
2 1/4 cups sugar (15 3/4 ounces)
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Adjust oven rack to middle position and set oven at 325 degrees. Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking dish, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhand pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and, if using extra-wide foil, fold lengthwise to 12-inch width; fit into width of baking pan in same manner, perpendicular to first sheet. Spray foil-lined pan with nonstick cooking spray.
If using nuts, spread nuts evenly on rimmed baking sheet and toast in oven until fragrant, 5 to 8 minutes. Set aside to cool.
Whisk to combine flour, salt, and baking powder in medium bowl; set aside.
Melt chocolate and butter in large heatproof bowl set over saucepan of almost-simmering water, stirring occasionally, until smooth. (Alternatively, in microwave, heat butter and chocolate in large microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir and heat for 30 seconds more. Stir again, and, if necessary, repeat in 15-second increments; do not let chocolate burn.) When chocolate mixture is completely smooth, remove bowl from saucepan and gradually whisk in sugar. Add eggs one at time, whisking after each addition until thoroughly combined. Whisk in vanilla. Add flour mixture in three additions, folding with rubber spatula until batter is completely smooth and homogeneous.
Transfer batter to prepared pan; using spatula, spread batter into corners of pan and smooth surface. Sprinkle toasted nuts (if using) evenly over batter and bake until toothpick or wooden skewer inserted into center of brownies comes out with few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool on wire rack to room temperature, about 2 hours, then remove brownies from pan by lifting foil overhang. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares and serve. (Store leftovers in airtight container at room temperature up to 3 days.)
We cannot make sustainable change with food, our bodies, or our surrounding habits until we honestly explore and get curious about our relationship with each of them. Mindset change is not easy, but so, so worth it.
Being healthy starts with learning to cook simple foods in easy, delicious ways with approachable and practical recipes and techniques.
Our health begins with properly nourishing our bodies with nutrient-dense foods. I believe in bio-individuality: each person requires different types and amounts of food to feel their best. Learn how to eat intuitively for the rest of your life!