For the real version, check Maida Heatter’s Great Book of Chocolate Desserts or try this version from The Washington Post which is almost verbatim. I typed the recipe as I made it and am keeping it as is. The brownies were amazing and I just love Maida Heatter even though I didn’t make the brownies exactly as she did.
Here’s another brownie recipe adapted from Maida Heatter. I made a half batch this morning and they are very good. They require a bit more mixing (10 minutes worth) than the Nancy Baggett’s and Alice Medrich’s brownies, but the mixing pays off if you like a very crispy crust. I think it must be a combination of the mixing and the high heat that makes these brownies crispy on the outside and soft and fudgy on the inside. If you make them, don’t make your final assessment until after you have cooled and chilled the brownies. Consider it a critical part of the directions. When I took my brownies out of the oven, they seemed grainy, bordering on cakey and overall unimpressive. After I plunged the pan in ice water, let them cool, then chilled them thoroughly, the brownies were outstanding.
- 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter (8 oz)
- 8 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 5 large eggs
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp almond extract (optional)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 3 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 2/3 C unbleached all purpose flour -- sifted
- 2 cups walnuts, toasted and broken into pieces (I omitted)
- Adjust an oven rack one-third up from the bottom and preheat oven to 425 degrees. Line a 9x13x2-inch metal pan with nonstick foil or parchment paper.
- Melt the butter in a heavy saucepan. When almost melted, reduce heat to low and add chocolate. Stir until chocolate is very soft, then remove from heat and let chocolate melt in the residual heat of the butter.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the eggs with the vanilla and almond extracts, salt, espresso and sugar at high speed for 10 minutes. On low speed, add the chocolate mixture and beat only until mixed. Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the flour and the nuts.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35 minutes, reversing the pan from front to back once to ensure even baking (Maida covers her brownies loosely with foil halfway through to prevent burning, but I didn't). At the end of 35 minutes, the cake will have a firm crust, but when tested with a toothpick will appear underbaked. Take them out anyway.
- Remove the pan from the oven and let stand until cool. Invert the brownies onto a cookie sheet and remove the foil. Cover with length of waxed paper and another cookie sheet..invert again. This cake is best covered and refrigerated for a few hours or overnight before it is cut into bars.