Friday, February 4, 2011

Homemade Chewy Brownies

I was once again watching America's Test Kitchen (It's on Saturday on PBS at noon in case you want to tune in) and saw an episode about how to make the perfect homemade brownies! They did a blind taste test to see if people preferred homemade to box mix brownies, and surprisingly most people preferred the box mix! The comments were mainly that they liked the chocolate flavor of the homemade, but preferred the texture of the box mix because they are chewy. So the cooks in America's Test Kitchen set out to find a version that has the same texture as the box mix but the rich flavor of homemade, and they did! They found to get the chewy texture you need to use twice as much oil (unsaturated fat) as butter (saturated fat). I'm glad they know what they're doing, because I wouldn't have known that! These brownies are SO good and I'm sure you'll love them :).

Chewy Brownies

For the chewiest texture, it is important to let the brownies cool thoroughly before cutting. While any high-quality chocolate can be used in this recipe, the preferred brands of bittersweet chocolate are Callebaut Intense Dark Chocolate L-60-40NV and Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Baking Bar. The preferred brand of unsweetened chocolate is Scharffen Berger. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days. 


1/3 cup Dutch processed cocoa (worth the extra $$$ at the grocery store!!)
1 1/2 teaspoons instant espresso or coffee (optional, enhances chocolate flavor)
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons boiling water
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate , finely chopped (see note at top)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter , melted
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups (17 1/2 ounces) sugar
1 3/4 cups (8 3/4 ounces) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon table salt
6 ounces bittersweet chocolate , cut into 1/2-inch pieces (see note)

 1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Make sling using the following steps: Cut 18-inch length foil and fold lengthwise to 8-inch width. Fit foil into length of 13 by 9-inch baking pan, pushing it into corners and up sides of pan; allow excess to overhang pan edges. Cut 14-inch length foil and fit into width of pan in the same manner, perpendicular to the first sheet (if using extra-wide foil, fold second sheet lengthwise to 12-inch width). Spray with nonstick cooking spray. (I didn't do this part, I just used a greased, glass, 13x9 pan)
2. Whisk cocoa, espresso powder (if using), and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Whisk in melted butter and oil. (Mixture may look curdled.) Add eggs, yolks, and vanilla and continue to whisk until smooth and homogeneous. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Add flour and salt and mix with rubber spatula until combined. Fold in bittersweet chocolate pieces.
3. Scrape batter into prepared pan and bake until toothpick inserted halfway between edge and center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, 30 to 35 minutes. Transfer pan to wire rack and cool 1½ hours. 
4. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Return brownies to wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Cut into 2-inch squares and serve.

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