Fruit, I have a confession to make. I am not proud of this, but I feel like I have to come clean so that we understand each other better. I don’t want us to have any secrets, because I like you a lot. And I want this relationship to be built on trust. So here it is:
I have an on-again, off-again relationship with Chocolate.
I know. Maybe some stuff is starting to click now. Maybe you are frantically looking through past posts and realizing that while we’ve spent a lot of time together in ice cream and pie, there have been some weeks when I just haven’t called.
Even though Chocolate and I don’t get together that often, I fall hard for him from time to time. Like when he puts on his brownie outfit and I’m always like, “Okay, Chocolate. Whatever. You’re not even my type.” Then, bam. The next morning I wake up with raging heartburn, covered in gooey crumbs, and I spend the day crying about how I can’t believe I let this happen again.
I’ve been on the quest to find the perfect basic brownie to leave me with regret-heartburn for several years now, but none have satisfied my needs like Duncan Hines. But that’s a whole other layer of shame, so I kept searching, knowing that one day I’d find a recipe that would be The One.
I have to say, Fruit, that I like you no matter what form you take, but I’m more picky about my brownies. I like them to put in a little extra effort and wear a shiny, crackly top, maybe some powdered sugar to accessorize, but let’s not get show-offy with frosting.
As for personality, I wanted a brownie that wasn’t too gooey, definitely not cakey, and puh-lease no pockets of melty chocolate chunks or chips. Can you say “mood swings?”
So when I met these Cook’s Illustrated brownies, I was like, “You’re cool and all, but how about we shred up your dark chocolate to make your texture a little more uniform?” After all, who doesn’t love a brownie in uniform?
So, Fruit, while I hope we hook up soon, you’ll have to forgive me for this transgression, since I’ve finally found the perfect brownie. I don’t think even you can fault me for this one.
- Cake Magic
- 6 ounces (170 grams) dark (60-70% cacao) chocolate, (I used Callebaut)
- 1¾ cups (210 grams) all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ⅓ cup (30 grams) Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I used Valrhona)
- 1½ teaspoons instant espresso powder (optional)
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 ounces (57 grams) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2½ cups (500 grams) granulated sugar
- 3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)
- Position oven rack to the lowest position and preheat oven to 350°F. Brush Cake Magic onto sides and bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan, making sure to get into the corners well. (Alternatively, grease and flour the pan or spray with cooking spray.)
- Using the large-holed side of a box grater, shred dark chocolate and set aside. Whisk together flour and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.
- In a large bowl, whisk together cocoa powder, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water. Add unsweetened chocolate pieces and whisk until melted. Pour in vegetable oil and melted butter and whisk. The mixture may look curdled at this point. Whisk in the eggs, egg yolks, and vanilla until smooth and uniform. Whisk in sugar until fully combined.
- Switching to a rubber spatula, fold flour mixture into the batter until just a little flour still shows. Add dark chocolate shavings and gently fold into the batter until the chocolate shavings are evenly distributed and no flour remains visible.
- Pour batter into your prepared baking pan, making sure to spread the batter evenly into the corners. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on the end. Place pan on a wire rack to cool for 1 hour.
- Loosen the edges of the brownies with a spatula, then invert the pan onto a cutting board. Gently smack the bottom of the pan to release the entire slab of brownies from the pan. Place the wire cooling rack on top of the brownie slab so it is sandwiched between the cutting board and the wire rack, and carefully flip it, so the bottom of the brownies are on the wire rack and the top is facing up again. Allow to cool for at least another 2 hours, and preferably 6 hours or overnight.
- Cut brownie slab into 2-inch squares and dust with confectioners' sugar before serving, if desired.