Sunday, February 13, 2011

happiness is a warm brownie


Brownies have never been a weakness of mine.  Call me Goldilocks, but I generally find them too hard, too soft, too chewy or too cakey to tempt my selective sweet tooth. 

Because I snub most renditions without a second thought, I can attest that these brownies are none of the above.  Unlike the unpalatable majority, they are torte-like; dense, fudgy, toothsome, and sophisticated enough to serve at a dinner party while just as suitable with your midday coffee.  Their full potential is most palpable on day two, yet I confess I often serve them just out of the oven with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.  In summer months, they are sublime with fresh raspberries and a sprig of fresh mint. 

With less flour than most, the egg-sugar-butter-chocolate ratio in these babies is pretty appalling but boy does it do the trick.  I recommend using high quality baking chocolate, such as Scharffen Berger 62% or, if you can’t track that down, try Lindt’s 65% dark chocolate bar.  For that ‘je ne sais quoi’, I add a pinch of fleur de sel; but any coarse salt will do.  Just be sure to adjust the amount of salt if you are using salted butter.  Of course, you may omit the salt altogether if you aren’t on the salted chocolate bandwagon. 

The recipe for these brownies came from a dear friend whose grandmother first passed the recipe on to her.  In fact, I owe my brownie conversion to this friend and her grandma.  Without their intervention, I would continue to lead a brownie-less existence.  Let’s call it brownie salvation and shout, ‘Hallelujah!’

Over the years, I’ve made a few changes to the original recipe; although the premise (what makes them tick) is still intact: Love. Sugar. Butter. Chocolate. Butter. Sugar. Eggs. Chocolate. More love (and more butter).

In the words of one golden-haired, uninvited houseguest who never was afraid to aim for perfection, these brownies are ‘just right’. brownies

yields about 20 brownies



4 eggs
2 cups sugar (I use ultrafine baker’s sugar)
1 cup unsalted butter
8 ounces good quality semisweet baking chocolate*
1 - 1/3 cups flour
1 - 1/2 teaspoons bourbon vanilla
1/2  rounded teaspoon coarse sea salt (such as fleur de sel)



Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. 

Roughly chop half the chocolate and combine with the butter in a small saucepan on medium low heat, stirring occasionally until melted.  Set aside.  In a medium bowl, beat the eggs and sugar until well blended.  Combine the chocolate and egg mixtures.  Stir in the vanilla.

Measure the flour by spooning it into the measuring cup and leveling it with the flat edge of a knife.  This is imperative as the consistency of the brownies depends on it.


Add the flour, mixing with a fork until well blended.  Do not use an electric mixer.  A large fork or wooden spoon works best.  Chop the remaining chocolate into 1/4” pieces.  Fold the chopped chocolate and sea salt into the mixture. 


Using a rubber spatula, transfer the batter to a greased and floured 9” x 13”  glass baking dish.  Bake for 25 – 30 minutes until the center is stable.  You will have doubts about their doneness but never fear,  they will continue cooking after you remove them from the oven. 

Let the brownies set for at least 30 minutes after baking, if  you have that kind of willpower.  As an elegant dessert, serve them warm with vanilla ice cream.  For straight up brownie consumption, they taste best the second day.

*Scharffen Berger 62% semisweet  is preferred.  A close second is Lindt 65% dark chocolateCallebaut or Valrohna are stellar stand-ins if you can get your hands on either of them. 


  1. These were so scrumptious, Sarah. Thanks for bringing them on Sunday. I ate the last two I was able to squirrel away. xo

  2. oh, i am so glad you enjoyed the brownies. it was my pleasure to bring them. thank you for including me in such a fun evening + introducing me to a roomful of lovely people. xoxo