We're of the opinion that the only baked goods that should be described as “cakey” are cakes. This is especially true for us when it comes to brownies. These are rich, unabashedly decadent and super chocolatey.
First and foremost, it’s important to remember a great brownie begins with the best ingredients. The French chocolate company Valhrona has been making premium chocolate in the town of Tain-l'Hermitage since 1922. Their Guanaja 70% chocolate is our go-to pick when it comes to baking. It provides a complex flavor profile with notes of red berries, coffee and jasmine along with a smooth texture and an amazingly long finish. A bonus point for us is they come in feves (discs) so you don’t have to chop up a big block of chocolate before melting or adding it to cookie dough.
Butter and eggs are the other stars of a brownie recipe. We use European style butter for our baking. “What’s European Style butter?,” you ask. It’s butter with a higher fat content than American style butter (this is a good thing). Kerrygold and Plugra are two brands that are fairly easy to find and both deliver excellent results. We get our eggs from La Bahn Ranch at our local farmers’ market. If you have an egg vendor at your local farmers’ market, by all means, buy your eggs there. They taste better, the chickens are probably humanely raised, and you’ll be supporting a small family business! If not, we recommend pasture raised organic eggs from the grocery store.
What’s your favorite way to enjoy a brownie? With a glass of milk? A cup of coffee? A scoop of vanilla ice cream? On its own? Leave a comment and let us know.
Makes 12 brownies.
2 cups (300g) bittersweet chocolate (Valhrona 70% preferred)
1½ sticks (170g) unsalted butter (Plugra or other European style butter preferred)
1½ cups (284g) sugar
½ cup (60g) cocoa powder (Valhrona preferred)
1 tsp instant espresso powder
1 Tbs vanilla extract
¾ cup (106g) all purpose flour
1½ tsp fleur de sel, Maldon or other sea salt
1. Preheat oven to 350℉. Line bottom and sides of a 9x13x2” metal pan with aluminum foil.
2. Put the chocolate and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer or large metal bowl. Make a double boiler by placing the bowl over a saucepan with a couple inches of water in it (the bowl shouldn’t touch the water) and warm over medium heat. Stir occasionally until completely melted.
3. While chocolate and butter are melting, mix sugar, cocoa powder and espresso powder in a medium bowl. When chocolate mixture is melted, remove from heat and add sugar mixture. Place on a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. If not using a stand mixer, use an electric hand mixer. Quickly pulse mixer on and off to incorporate the sugar mixture, being careful it doesn’t poof up out of the bowl. Once well mixed, add vanilla extract and eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Add the flour and fleur de sel and quickly pulse on and off until flour is incorporated.
4. Using a rubber spatula, transfer batter to the prepared pan and spread as evenly as possible. Bake in middle of the oven for 18-22 minutes (rotate halfway through and pop any air bubbles with a toothpick) until top looks just dry. Cool to room temperature in the pan on a cooling rack, cut into 3” squares and enjoy. If you want to cut them into shapes with a cookie cutter, place pan in fridge until well chilled before cutting. Let them come to room temperature before eating.