These chewy brownies are based on a recipe from the March/April 2010 issue of Cook’s Illustrated, where CI claims that the key to making brownies with a “box brownie” texture is to get the ratio of saturated to unsaturated fat just right. To do that, they use a mixture of butter and oil, unsweetened chocolate and egg yolks.
The article itself is pretty fascinating, and if you can get your hands on the March/April 2010 issue it’s worth a read, but for now I’m just posting the recipe as I made it which is a smaller 8 inch pan version. This batch was better than any batch I’ve made in the past (though I didn’t get a flaky top) and it might have to do with the fact I used a high end (Callebaut Dutch) cocoa powder. Not that using expensive Dutch process cocoa powder is always better since it has a drying effect in some recipes, but in this recipe it worked perfectly with it and the flavor was better than usual. If you only have natural cocoa, you probably won’t get the same results, so make these when you have some good Dutch cocoa on hand.
My only complaint is that these are a little on the thin side and I’ve become partial to deep dish type brownies. They are still great, just thin, and I’m mentioning it in case anyone gets the idea to make them in a 9 inch square pan. Don’t bother or they’ll be WAY too thin. I recommend sticking with a half batch in an 8 inch pan or using the double version original which is baked in a 9×13.
Update: I now make these in a 9×13 inch pan, but the recipe halves well so feel free to halve it and use the 8 inch pan. Here’s another photo. For this batch I used coconut oil and threw in some broken Oreos. For some reason the brownies seemed a little thicker.
- 1/3 cup (1 ounce) Dutch-processed cocoa
- 1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
- 1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons oil (coconut oil okay)
- 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 2 large eggs plus 2 large yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (17 1/2 ounces) sugar
- 1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) all-purpose flour
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x13 inch metal pan with nonstick foil.
- In a mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water until smooth. Add the unsweetened chocolate and stir until melted. Stir in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add egg, yolk, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate).
- Scrape batter into pan and bake for about 30 to 35 minutes.
- Let cool for about 10 minutes, then grasp foil, lift from pan and let cool completely.