If one is going to take the trouble to make chocolate brownies, and incur the wrath of the Fat-god for eating them, one may as well make them right. Brownies from a box? No thank you.
I got this chocolate brownie recipe years ago from my dear friend Suzanne, who had adapted it from an Alice Medrich recipe from the book Bittersweet: Recipes and Tales from a Life in Chocolate she found in Epicurious.
Suzanne uses the same method and proportions, but instead of using vanilla, she flavors the brownies strongly with almond extract. So good! The almond extract gives these brownies a wonderful flavor, a perfect blend with the cocoa and pecans.
They are the kind of brownie that can't make up their mind whether they would rather be cake or fudge. They're quite dense and fudge-like, but have just enough flour and eggs to keep them in the brownie camp.
Best Chocolate Brownies
- 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks, 140 g) unsalted butter
- 1 1/4 cups (250 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons (85 g) unsweetened cocoa powder (natural)
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup (65 g) all-purpose flour
- 2/3 cup (80 g) pecan pieces
Preheat oven and line baking pan
Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C), with a rack in the lower third of the oven.
Line the bottom of an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper in such a way as there is an overhang on two opposite sides to make it easy to lift the brownies out when they're done.
Heat butter, cocoa, sugar, salt in a bowl over simmering water
Place the butter, cocoa, sugar, and salt in a medium-sized metal bowl. Fill a large skillet halfway with water and bring to a bare simmer. Set the bowl of the butter cocoa mixture in skillet of simmering water.
Stir the butter cocoa mixture until the butter has melted and the mixture is smooth and hot to touch.
Remove the bowl from the skillet and let it cool down a bit, from hot to warm.
Stir in almond extract, eggs, flour, beat with spoon, add pecans
Stir in the almond extract. Stir in the eggs, one at a time, beating strongly after each addition.
Once the batter is well mixed and shiny and thick, stir in the flour. Beat for 40 strokes with a wooden spoon.
Mix in the pecans.
Pour batter into lined pan
Pour the batter into the prepared lined pan and smooth the surface evenly.
Bake 25 minutes at 325°F (160°C), or until a bamboo skewer or toothpick inserted into the center comes out still a little moist with the brownie batter. Cool completely on a rack.
When the brownies have completely cooled, lift up the sides of the foil or parchment liner to remove them from the pan. Place the brownies on a cutting board and cut into squares or rectangles.