Sometimes you just need a little something sweet to cap off your evening. The other night was one such night, and I decided to go with a batch of homemade brownies. I haven’t made brownies in a little bit,* but every time I do, I am reminded of how ridiculously simple it is to make brownies from scratch. Seriously, if you can make brownies from a mix, you can make brownies from scratch with only a little more effort and practically the same number of ingredients.
* Unless you count experimenting with zucchini brownies, which I can’t seem to get quite right.
Besides the easiness factor, homemade brownies are just so much better than mix brownies. Really. Once you go homemade, you don’t go back.
Why would you?
The original recipe said to cut these into 1-inch squares since they are so rich, but that’s just crazy talk. I also tweaked my old standard recipe a bit because I didn’t have any unsweetened chocolate on hand — I reduced the sugar and used all bittersweet chocolate instead. They turned out so well that this may be my new favorite recipe!
I love how the espresso deepens the chocolate flavor. Also, new fun fact from Baking Illustrated: the longer you cook chocolate, the more tasty volatile compounds it releases in the form of steam, which makes the cooked chocolate taste less, well, awesome. So don’t overcook your brownies, folks!
Based on a recipe from Baking Illustrated
7 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped (or use chocolate chips)
8 Tbs (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into quarters
3 Tbs cocoa powder
1 1/2 Tbs instant espresso powder
1 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
Preheat the oven to 350 and grease an 8 x 8 pan. Melt the butter and chocolate in a double-boiler, or in the microwave.** Stir in the cocoa powder and espresso powder and set aside to cool slightly.
Whisk together the eggs, sugar, vanilla, and salt in a medium bowl. Whisk the warm chocolate mixture into the egg mixture, and then stir in the flour until just combined.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and spread evenly into the corners with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a small amount of sticky crumbs clinging to it. Cool for at least an hour, or until you can lay your hand on top of the brownies comfortably for a few seconds, and then cut and serve.
** To melt in the microwave, first heat the chocolate by itself for 2 minutes at 50% power. Stir and add the butter, and heat for an additional 2 minutes on 50% power. If the chocolate still hasn’t melted, try another 30 seconds at 50% power, but keep a close eye on it, since you don’t want to overheat the chocolate and cause it to separate.