I remember the exact moment I fell in love with food. The second I dipped Grandma Cecchini’s butter cookie in melted chocolate and sprinkles, it was over. Like fairy dust, the rainbow sprinkles bewitched me. I was six.
Though my relationship with food has taken many forms over the years, food blogging continues to be my favorite expression of love. But with so many amazing bakers/photographers/writers/superhumans out there, it can feel a bit like screaming into a crowd at a Bruce Springsteen concert. So instead of trying to one-up myself and others, I’ll be revisiting and painstakingly perfecting the recipes that made me fall in love with food in the first place -- the simple, unbeatable classics that we can’t live without.
Brownies are the first thing to come to mind. I am a big proponent of eating raw brownie batter (sorry FDA and concerned parents everywhere). It’s part of the brownie-making experience. In fact, as a child, I probably preferred the batter to the actual brownie. And considering how much of it I’ve consumed in just 24 years, it’s surprising I have yet to contract salmonella.
Diseases aside, the true beauty of the batter is that it avoids the cakey vs. fudgey brownie debate. In all honesty, I’ve never really understood the issue. If it’s chocolatey and delicious, does it really matter? Well, according to a cursory survey, it really really does. This, of course, only makes me want to prove them wrong.
Four versions later, I believe I’ve created a brownie that transcends the debate -- fudgey, cakey, chewy, and crunchy commingling in perfect proportion. The secret is both in the ingredients and the method, so follow them carefully. I promise the vigorous stirring is worth it.
Enjoy one warm or at room temperature, alone or with a scoop of ice cream. This is, in my (and RC’s) humble opinion, the perfect brownie. If you do only one thing this weekend, make these brownies.
P.S. - Sorry for the long absence. We moved to Brooklyn! <3 my tiny kitchen.
(makes one 8x8 pan, equal to 9 large brownies)
1 stick unsalted butter
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup cocoa powder (I prefer dutch-processed but whatever you have on hand works)
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Butter and "flour" an 8x8 square baking pan. Use cocoa powder instead of all purpose.
- In a small saucepan, melt the butter with the brown sugar and granulated sugar over medium heat with a wooden spoon.
- When the butter is melted and completely combined with the sugars, remove from heat, and add the vanilla and cocoa powder.
- Vigorously stir the mixture until very well combined.
- Check the batter to ensure it is only slightly warm before adding the two eggs. Stir well.
- Add the milk and continue to stir well.
- Place the salt, baking soda, and flour in the saucepan. Gently stir them into the wet ingredients until almost combined.
- Add the chocolate chips and stir until combined.
- Pour the batter into the greased and prepared baking pan and bake for 40-45 minutes or until a knife/toothpick inserted comes out almost clean. The brownies will continue to bake in the pan after they come out of the oven, so pull them out just a minute or two before they are completely cooked.
- Allow to cool completely before cutting (if you can wait!).
Should you wish to make more that 9 brownies (completely understandable), double the recipe and bake in a 13x9 pan.