Brownies from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy

Last week, I told you all about my new favourite cookie cookbook, Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich.

When it came time to decide what recipe to try, it really wasn’t much of a stretch. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m all about chocolate. Can’t imagine a dessert without it. Yes, I know that’s heresy to the lemon bar/ginger cookie lovers out there but hey, I calls ‘em as I sees ‘em.

Photo by Angie McKaig

Photo by Angie McKaig

The recipe I decided to give a whirl was Robert’s Brownies My Way – a recipe that tastes much sexier than it sounds. The reason? You have to know the back story:

Robert is not just Medrich’s neighbour or plumber, he’s the late Robert Steinberg, co-founder of Scharffen Berger Chocolate (one of my all time favorite chocolates – yeah, I’m one of those crazy nuts who have favourite chocolate companies like some people have favourite wineries, except mine taste better AND simulate the feeling of being in love, and what’s better than that?).

So, a brownie recipe modified by one of my favorite cookbook authors from a man who co-founded some of the best chocolate, like, ever? I’m there. Let me get my stretchy pants.

The verdict:  Fudgy, dark, chocolatey and rich without being too sweet. Absolutely best when eaten within the first two hours after coming out of the oven, while still warm and gooey. After cooling, they do get a little crunchier – like a thick fudgy cookie with a crackly top.  Also, definitely follow the recipe’s suggestion to put two strips of foil across the bottom – it really did make removing the brownies a snap and: cleanup? What cleanup?

(Yes, I licked the bowl clean. What’s the point of making brownies otherwise?)

Don’t just take my word for it, though – try it yourself (and then, seriously, buy the book).

Robert’s Brownies My Way
excerpted from Chewy Gooey Crispy Crunchy by Alice Medrich

Ingredients

6 tbsp unsalted butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate (at least 70% cacao)
1 scant cup (6.5 oz) sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract (optional)
2 large eggs, cold
1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp (1.75 oz) unbleached all purpose flour
1 cup (3.5 ounces) walnut or pecan pieces (optional)

Equipment

An 8 inch square pan, the bottom and sides lined with foil

Directions

Preheat  the oven  to 350 degrees F. Position a rack in the lower third of the oven

Melt the butter with the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set directly in wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir frequently until the mixture is melted and smooth and fairly hot to the touch. Remove the bowl from the water. Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla, if using. Add 1 egg, stirring until it is incorporated. Repeat with the second egg. Stir in the flour and beat with a wooden spoon or spatula until the batter is smooth and glossy and comes away from the sides of the pan; it is critical that the batter pull itself together, so don’t stop mixing until it does. Stir in the nuts, if using. Scrape the batter into the pan.

Spread the batter evenly but with lots of raised swirls and ridges – these look great and get slightly crusty in the oven. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs, not totally gooey.

Cool on a rack. Lift the foil ends to transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 squares. May be kept in an airtight container for 2 or 3 days.

My stretchy pants will assure you that no such airtight container is necessary! These brownies are definitely on my list of go-to chocolate desserts to make for when I’m suffering from a craving.

What’s your favourite chocolate dessert? If you had to choose, that is. Or is it just me with a huge list of favourites?