Sometimes you find a recipe you love so much that you make it again and again. You add it to your repertoire because it's a foolproof recipe that everyone loves. This recipe for brownies is exactly that. Whenever I seem to have too much chocolate on hand—which happens surprisingly often—I make this recipe. And I usually end up sharing the brownies at the office. Hearing everyone's praises makes baking these treats all the more worth it.
I came across this recipe when I got the first Baked cookbook when it was published in 2008. And I've been baking these brownies ever since. But I had actually eaten my first Baked brownie a year earlier at the Brooklyn flagship bakery. At first bite I was transported to chocolate nirvana. That's how good these brownies are and it's why I call them the best.
This recipe is simple to make and it's much better than those boxed brownie mixes. The result is even better when you use high-quality chocolate and cocoa powder. The addition of espresso powder and vanilla extract brings out the chocolate flavor even more. Anyone who loves chocolate is guaranteed to love this recipe for the best brownies.
Recipe adapted from Baked: New Frontiers in Baking by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito.
1-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cubed, plus more for pan
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
11 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 cup light-brown sugar
1 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped into chunks or chips (optional)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter a 9-by-13 inch baking pan, line with parchment paper, and butter again. Sift together dry ingredients: flour and cocoa powder.
Melt butter in a heat-proof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. Stir butter until completely melted. Stir in espresso powder and chocolate until completely melted. Whisk in both sugars and salt until incorporated. Remove from heat and add vanilla.
Whisk in three eggs until combined. Whisk in the remaining eggs. Using a spatula, fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Mix in the chopped chocolate, if using. Do not over mix. A good sign that the batter is not over mixed is that some of the flour is still visible. Spread batter in prepared pan and smooth top.
Bake the brownies for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool completely before cutting the brownies. Use the parchment paper to lift the cooled brownies onto a cutting board. Cut with a thin knife. Yield: 24 bars.