I have heard people say, "boxed brownies are just too good and easy-I never make mine from scratch" To them I say, be for real. Brownies are the easiest! If they were any easier they'd be the slice and bake stuff.
After the lazy brownie consumers come the picky ones. They only like brownies or cakey brownies or under baked brownies. I am picky about a lot of things, but not about brownies. I don't care if I have an edge piece or a center (have you seen those edge fudgey pans? They're crazy looking). If there's chocolate, I want it. I want some now and I want some later. I would like some with ice cream on top. I would like some with whipped cream. Or a drizzle of raspberry sauce. I would like some. Yes please. A brownie is about bringing the chocolate. And, to quote that classic film, it has already been broughten. So try this recipe, okay? I promise, its really good.
I should warn you about one thing before you get ready to slice those suckers: no matter how cohesive the brownie looks, no matter how solid or sturdy or cleanly it cuts with a knife, don't try it with your mini-acorn cookie cutter (chosen because it looks the most like a heart of all your cookie cutters. Please tell me what kind of baker am I? I have a set of mini-fall-shapes but not a heart). It will never work. I was kind of hoping I could give you a cute little heart shaped something in anticipation of that pink and red and flowery holiday coming up, but this recipe was not the one for that exercise. Maybe next time I will do a better job planning ahead.
Have I mentioned that this recipe is easy? Just in case, let me be clear: You only get one bowl, one measuring cup, and two measuring spoons dirty (you know, if you use a 1/2 cup one for both sugar and flour). How much more do you want?
Bittersweet Brownies (from Dorie Greenspan's Baking: From my home to yours)
2 sticks (8oz) butter, cut into 16 pieces
9 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 Large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 tablespoon instant espresso powder (optional)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour
get ready: oven at 325F, line a 9x13" pan with foil, butter the foil. (I think this is most easily done with melted butter and a pastry brush. You will be so glad you used foil when it comes time to clean up)
Use a double boiler over medium heat, combine the chocolate and butter. Stir occasionally until they are just melted. Don't let them get so hot the butter separates. (I did this step in the microwave, stirring every twenty seconds or so, because I am lazy and it works just fine). Remove from heat.
With a whisk, stir in the sugar. The mixture might get grainy, but it will even out. Whisk in the eggs one by one, then add the vanilla and whisk enthusiastically to smooth the batter. Finally, gently whisk in the espresso powder, salt, and flour, stirring only until incorporated. Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.
Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the top is dull and a thin knife inserted into the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.
When they've completely cooled, turn them out onto a rack, peel away the foil and invert onto a cutting board. Cut into rectangles and serve.
And I picked this photo so that you could get an up-close look at the texture of the finished product. I can never tell if its cakey or fudgey or whatever. Cake is cakey and fudge is fudgey. A brownie is a brownie.