I baked these brownies during a snow storm on the hubby's birthday. It was below zero outside, the wind was whipping against the windows, a sink overflowed from a frozen pipe, our alarm wouldn't stop beeping due to a series of power surges and finally water started shooting out of a wall by the washing machine. Mike was mad at the house, the weather and birthdays in general.
So I went into the kitchen to cheer myself up (disengage) with a glass of wine and a little snow day baking. Some of you may have seen the insta-story of the making of these brownies. The one with the soundtrack ranging from "It's My Party and I'll Cry if I Want to" to "Birthday Bitch." And thank goodness for comfort food (and wine) -- particularly of the chocolate kind (sauvignon blanc from Marlborough, New Zealand if you're asking) -- because these brownies soothed his stomach and soul. They are, in one word...INSANE. Easy to make, but impossible to stop eating. The entire batch was gone in a day. These are officially my new go-to brownie recipe.
Notes: I did not have espresso powder in the house and I was not leaving to get it (see frozen tundra above). While I'm sure the taste would be elevated with its inclusion, if you are missing this ingredient, no need to hold off. They were still amazing minus the espresso.
The original recipe calls for baked and coarsely chopped pecans or walnuts. My family complains whenever I put nuts in desserts, which is just so misguided, but it was the hubby's birthday, so I decided to be nice (see freezing temperature and bursting pipes). I imagine that pecans would be truly awesome inclusions, but I will say that the mushy, chocolatey deliciousness of these pure classics was heavenly.
The Best Brownies
(adapted slightly via Jessica Seinfeld)
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 tablespoon espresso powder (optional)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven (with oven rack in the middle) to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8-inch baking pan (I used 9 x 9 and they were still perfection). Line with an 8-inch-wide strip of parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides.
In a medium saucepan, melt the butter over medium heat. Remove from the head and add the chocolate chips and espresso if using. Let stand for about 2 minutes, then whisk until creamy and smooth. Whisk in both sugars. Whisk in the eggs, one at a time, and the vanilla. Add the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt and whisk with gusto for a solid 45 seconds, or until batter is thick and glossy and pulls away from the pan.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with more than a few moist crumbs attached (best to undertake than to overtake). Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack.
Grab the ends of the parchment and lift the brownies onto a cutting board before slicing.