I have a weakness for brownies: fudgy, chewy brownies to be precise. I've tried making brownies from scratch before, but often times they end up worst than those boxed brownie mixes. I was about to throw my hands up in surrender and stock emergency boxes of Ghiradelli brownie mixes, until I saw this post on Leite's Culinaria's blog for these brownies. This recipe is from David Lebovitz's book, Ready for Dessert. Apparently the late Robert Steinberg, who cofounded Scharffen Berger chocolate, created this recipe. You have to believe the founder of Scharffen Berger chocolate must have a good brownie recipe or two.
I have to admit, I didn't even use good quality chocolate in my batch, I used a standard bag of semisweet chocolate chips and these were divine and surprisingly simple to make. Not to mention, you'll get a good arm workout as well (you will soon see why).
Robert's Absolute Best Brownies
David Lebovitz, Ready for Dessert
6 tablespoons (3 ounces/85 g) unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces
8 ounces (225 g) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup (150 g) sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, room temperature
1/4 cup ( 35 g) all-purpose flour
1 cup (about 135 g) walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 350° F. Line a 9-inch square baking pan with two pieces of parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on each side. Lightly grease the parchment paper with butter or cooking spray, set aside.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the chocolate and with a spatula, stir over low heat until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Remove from the heat.
Whisk in the sugar until well combined.
Whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each addition. Whisk in the vanilla.
Using a fine-mesh sieve, sift in the flour.
THIS IS KEY: Whisk batter vigorously for 1 full minute, until batter loses its graininess and becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away from the sides of the saucepan. I'm not sure the reason for the need to whisk for precisely one minute, but apparently it's what makes this Robert's "Absolute Best" Brownies and not "just OK" Brownies.
In the meantime, toast your nuts in a dry saucepan until you can smell the oils from the nuts release. Keep an eye on them so they don't burn.
Add the chopped nuts and with the wooden spoon, stir to combine.
Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the center feels almost set, do not over-bake.
Here's what they look like out of the oven. Check out that glossy sheen.
Here's a close up. They were perfectly chewy and fudge in the middle, yet had that crunchy, almost candy like shell on top. Perfection, if you ask me. I brought this to small group and they disappeared pretty fast.
These will definitely be my go to brownies from now on. I can't wait for another excuse to make them.