By Iron Chef Leftovers
I don’t generally like to bake, partially because I hate following recipes and partially because I usually end up eating too much of the finished product. However, when it comes to parties, it is nice to have something sweet on hand that can feed a large number of people easily, and brownies fit that bill very well. The better the chocolate used in these, the better the brownies will be. There are so few other ingredients that you will actually be able to taste the more subtle flavors that the chocolate will carry, so use one that you like the taste of when eating it on its own. The recipe is adapted from Cook’s Illustrated.
- 1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 2 large eggs
- 2 large egg yolks
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 2 ½ cups (17 1/2 ounces) sugar
- 1 ¾ cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
- ¾ teaspoon table salt
- 6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Make a Foil Sling using the following steps: Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray with nonstick cooking spray.
- Whisk cocoa and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces. (this may seem like a bunch of steps, but it comes together very quickly)
- Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours.
- Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.
This is a very easy recipe and makes a big pan of chewy, dense, intensely chocolaty brownies, just prep everything in advance. These are nice with a small sprinkle of sea salt on top, but really just work fine on their own. I like using chocolate in the 70-85% range for this (my preferred chocolate is Kallari), but the original recipe calls for 60%, so you can use that. I wouldn’t use chocolate under 60% (the brownies will be very sweet) or over 85% (never tried this, but I suspect that the chocolate chunks won’t end up melting enough). The notes from the Cook’s Illustrated recipe:
For the chewiest texture, it is important to let the brownies cool thoroughly before cutting. If your baking dish is glass, cool the brownies 10 minutes, then remove them promptly from the pan (otherwise, the superior heat retention of glass can lead to overbaking). While any high-quality chocolate can be used in this recipe, our preferred brands of bittersweet chocolate are Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate L-60-40NV and Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar. Our preferred brand of unsweetened chocolate is Scharffen Berger. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.