Much like the brownies sold at your local bakery or even the “Corner Bakery” chain, these brownies are sweet and chewy with a crunchy meringue-like top. They are great in a lunch box or as the base of a brownie sundae.
Brownies generally fall into three categories, fudgy, chewy and cakey. Most people have a preference amongst the three. My preference falls between fudgy and chewy depending on my mood. These are the chewy variety, for more of a fudgy brownie, check out this recipe and for the absolute fudgiest brownie I’ve ever had, go here.
You may notice that the original recipe for this brownie describes it as “fudge-like”, but I respectfully disagree. These semantics are sometimes difficult to convey, but I think of fudgy brownies as having almost lost their “crumb” and become more like a thick candy consistency in the center. Chewy brownies are thicker than cake, but still have crumb. They are chewier than cake, but not as chewy as fudge. That probably doesn’t help at all, but there it is.
One thing is for sure, its hard to find each person’s perfect brownie. Personal taste in brownies varies as much as personal taste in chocolate chip cookies. This may not be my perfect brownie, but it is delicious and satisfying.
Ingredients and method make a big difference in the final result of any brownie.
The best explanation of the relation of chocolate content to brownie reslt that I’ve ever read was in Bittersweet by Deborah Jones. This is a worthwhile book to own if you are interested in the ways of the cacao.
Bakery-Style Chewy Brownies
Adapted from a recipe for Boudin Bakery Brownies in the LA Times
- 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, plus more to grease the pan
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate (I used 72%)
- 5 eggs
- 3 cups sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups (6.5 ounces) flour
- 1/2 cup (3 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup toasted, chopped walnuts
Heat the oven to 350 F degrees. Grease a 9-by-13 inch baking pan, then line with parchment paper or aluminum foil in such a way that it overhangs the large edges by at least 2 inches. Then grease the parchment paper. This preparation of the pan will ensure that you can remove the brownies cleanly later.
In a double boiler (that’s a heatproof bowl perched on top of a sauce pan with a little simmering water in the bottom), melt the butter and chopped bittersweet chocolate over low heat, stirring occasionally.
Remove from heat and set aside.
The key to this brownies yummy chewy top is beating the eggs and sugar together for several minutes until they become very light and fall off the beater in a ribbon, so definitely don’t skip this step.
In a stand mixer using a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the eggs, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy, 3-5 minutes. They are done when they reach the “ribbon” stage, so called because when you lift the beater out of the eggs and sugar, the mixture will fall off like a ribbon (see photo).
With the mixer on low speed, beat in the melted chocolate (make sure it isn’t so hot that it cooks the eggs).
Then add the salt and flour. Mix until just combined.
Gently fold in the chocolate chips and chopped nuts.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake in the center of the oven until puffed and almost set, about 45 minutes. A toothpick inserted will be slightly moist. Remove and cool to room temperature. I wanted to cool mine down especially fast, so I stuck it in what was left of the snow in my front yard, nature’s ice bath.
When the brownies are cool, use the parchment to remove them from the pan and cut into squares.