Regulars around here, who have good memories, may remember that I have previously posted two brownie recipes, we had Oh So Simple Brownies, and then we had Chocolate Nessies. Whilst I was pretty happy with these recipes, I knew I could do better, and I have. I found a really good recipe online as a starting point, Ultimate Brownies, and I also did a bit of research about the science of cooking brownies, and slightly tweaked the Ultimate Brownies recipe to come up MY Ultimate Brownie recipe.
First a few general brownie science notes (I believe these to be true, but if you know otherwise, please tell me in the comments) –
– For fudgy or chewy brownies, don’t cream the butter and sugar together, that brings air in which will make them cakey, instead, melt the butter and sugar together (and if it’s a cocoa powder recipe, include that in the melting stage too). And so (and I know you’ll have figured this out already), if you want more cakey brownies, then DO cream the butter and sugar together.
– For fudgy or chewy brownies, don’t add baking powder, again, baking powder will make it lighter and more cakey, and as far as I’m concerned brownies should be dense. But if you favour the lighter cakey ones, then do add baking powder.
– For a crispy top to your brownies, use white sugar rather than brown.
– Use cold eggs for fudgy/chewy brownies, and room temperature eggs for cakey brownies. This is because cold eggs stick together more and don’t allow air in, whereas room temperature eggs are looser and so do.
– For those of us in the fudgy/chewy camp, note that more flour will make them more chewy, and less flour will make them more fudgy.
So the changes that I made to the Ultimate Brownie recipe I found based on my science research were:
1) I changed the brown sugar to white sugar.
2) I omitted the baking powder.
3) I changed the method to include the sugar and cocoa into the butter melting.
4) I significantly increased the amount of chocolate chips (er…yes…of course that was for scientific reasons too, not just because I wanted more chocolate. Yep, it’s all about the science).
So it’s pretty much a different recipe, but I’m still crediting the original because it’s a really good recipe anyway and was my starting point.
Well, I’ll get on with it now. Here is my version:
WHAT YOU NEED:
– 225g butter
– 400g of white granulated sugar
– 140g unsweetened cocoa powder, sifted
– 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
– 4 medium eggs, cold from the fridge
– 225g plain flour, sifted
– 1 teaspoon salt
– 300g chocolate chips or chunks (For brownies and cookies, I always prefer to roughly chop up bars of chocolate, I prefer getting chunky different sized pieces in the end product rather than the uniformity of chocolate chips. I used milk chocolate because that’s what I like, but if you prefer dark, or white, or a mixture of different types, then go for it).
WHAT YOU DO:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Grease a 20x30cm baking tin and line with baking paper (make sure there’s enough baking paper coming up above the tin to use to lift it out of the tin).
2. In a double boiler (a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water), melt the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder together, stirring, just until the butter is melted. The mixture will seem quite grainy at this stage.
3. Remove from heat, then by hand, beat in the vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, then the flour and salt. Beat only until it is well combined, but no longer. Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks.
4. Tip it into the baking tin and bake for 19 minutes – well, 19 minutes is the exact timing that works for me, it might be a little different for you, and you may have to make a few batches until you get it exactly right. There is some trust involved, it will seem underdone, but the way I tell is if the very edges seem to be starting to dry a little, whereas the middle is still very gooey then it’s good. It will firm up when it cools.
5. When you remove it from the oven, you don’t want to leave it in the tin or it will continue cooking. So right away, swiftly and confidently, lift it out by the paper edges and place it onto a cooling rack, it will fold as you lift it because it’s still so soft, that’s why you need to do it swiftly and confidently!
6. Leave it to cool completely (about 3-4 hours), turn it onto a board, peel off the paper and cut. It will dry out quite quickly once it’s cut, so keep it well wrapped and airtight.