I first made these simple chocolate brownies last Valentine’s Day. They were topped with dulce de leche ice cream and washed down with lots of champagne (gal pal holidays at their finest). They were so good, I found myself turning to the recipe about once a month. Dressed up with Maldon sea salt, they were perfect for dinner parties. Spiked with espresso and more dark chocolate, they made the trip to Long Beach Island.
If you’re looking for a cake-like, vaguely chocolate, somewhat sandy brownies, don’t make these. These are intensely chocolatey, rich, dense. They rely on a combination of brown butter and cocoa powder and very little flour. What I like most (besides their taste) is their versatility. For holiday appeal, I added a dash of peppermint extract to the batter and covered them warm with crushed candy canes. Wrapped in parchment and cellophane, they’d make a great gift.
Brown Butter Brownies
From Bon Appetit
10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, chilled
1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil; coat with cooking spray.
- Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until butter stops foaming and brown bits form at the bottom of the pan. Remove from heat.
- To the saucepan, add sugar, cocoa, 2 tsp. water, vanilla and a large pinch of salt. Stir to blend then allow to cool slightly.
- Add eggs, one at a time, whisking throughly after each addition. When mixture looks shiny, add flour and stir until thoroughly blended (may take about a minute). Stir in mix-ins (optional).
- Bake brownies until toothpick inserted comes out almost clean, about 25 minutes. Do not overbake!! Cool slightly then transfer to the freezer for a bit – this will make them easier to slice into clean squares.