The Best Chewy Brownies in the World is a big title to live up to, but these beauties from Alice Medrich are more than up to the challenge. This is a recipe you will return to time after time, relishing these perfect brownies each time.
Today’s recipe is from Alice’s book, “Bittersweet” one of my favorite cookbooks of all time. The recipes are reliable and outstanding, but it is the explanations of why to use which ingredient that fascinates me. I actually own two versions of the book because the first one was so good that when the updated version came out I had to have it too!
One of the benefits of living in the San Francisco Bay Area is that many of the nation’s best cookbook authors and chefs either live here or come through on their book tours. We have the opportunity to meet them, watch as they prepare their favorite recipes and share secrets for baking and cooking success. You can’t believe how much I’ve learned over the years by taking cooking classes from the masters.
Alice is so renown for her expertise in anything chocolate that all the pro bakers turn to for her for help when they run into problems. There is no one with more thorough understanding of the intricacies of chocolate. If you need help figuring out what might have gone wrong with your chocolate recipe, all you have to do is pick up one of Alice’s many cookbooks – the answer will certainly be in there!
Alice helps all of us understand the impact the difference in percentages of cocoa liquor in chocolate has on recipes. In her second version, “Seriously Bittersweet” she guides us through how to adapt a recipe to use the kind of chocolate we have in our pantry, and explains how to temper chocolate in a way that everyone can understand. If you love chocolate, you have to add this book to your library!
For those of you who crave the crispy crust that breaks when you bite into the perfectly baked brownie, Alice’s brownies will give you that and much more. These brownies depend on cocoa powder instead of melted chocolate for two reasons. Because virtually all the fat in these is from butter and not cocoa butter, and all the sugar is granulated and not the superfine milled version they use to make formed chocolate, you not only get the most intense chocolate flavor and a soft center, but the crunchy candy crust on top. The better quality your cocoa powder, the better the brownies!
There are a ton of recipes for brownies floating around the Internet, but this is the one that I go back to time after time. I love the crunchy top layer that covers the chewy, decadent center. And when I had to switch to gluten-free, this recipe is a simple adaptation because there is so little flour in it. It’s almost more like a flourless cake than a brownie, and that is one dessert I crave over and over!
Enjoy these Best Chewy Brownies in the World! They make every day a little sweeter!
How to make The Best Chewy Brownies:
- Melt the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt together; let cool
- Stir in the vanilla and eggs
- Add the flour, pour into the prepared pan and bake
- Use the parchment sling to lift the brownies out of the pan; cool, slice, and serve
Do I need a mixer for this or can I make them by hand?
You can do this all by hand – I did and you can too! The mixture is very sandy going into the pan and then the sugar melts and pure heaven comes out!
Making a sling out of parchment or foil when lining your baking pan will help you remove the whole block of the best chewy brownies from the pan in one piece.
For the cleanest looking pieces, cut a very thin sliver of the brownies from each side (those make great nibbling pieces!). This gives you a cleanly cut edge on all sides of each brownie.
Key Ingredients for this Recipe
- Unsalted butter
- Granulated sugar
- Unsweetened cocoa powder
- Vanilla extract
- Flour – either all-purpose or gluten-free flour blend
- Nuts, optional
Kitchen Tools I Use to Make This Recipe
Other Brownie Recipes You May Enjoy:
- Kahlua Brownies
- Black & White Brownies with Orange Glaze
- Double Decker Chocolate Brownies
- Raspberry Brownies
- Gluten-Free Pumpkin Swirled Brownies (Dairy Free option)
- Dark Chocolate Brownies with Pecans and Caramel (Gluten Free)
Use your favorite gluten-free flour blend (my favorite is here). If the blend you are using already contains xanthan, another gum or psyllium husk powder, you do not need to add more.
- 10 tbsp (1 stick+2 tbsp) unsalted butter, cut into slices
- 1-1/4 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup + 2 tbsp high quality unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 2 cold large eggs
- 1/2 cup (60g) all-purpose flour or gluten-flour blend
- 1/4 tsp xanthan gum (leave out if your gluten-free blend already contains it)
- 2/3 cup walnut or pecan pieces (optional)
Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides to create a sling. Butter the parchment or foil and uncovered edges of the pan.
Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl on top of a saucepan with 2-inches of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth.
Remove the bowl from the heat and set on a wire cooling rack until the mixture is only warm, not hot, and you can comfortably hold the bottom of the bowl in the palm of your hand. If the mixture is too hot, you risk scrambling the eggs.
Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until blended with no streaks, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using. Spread evenly in the lined pan.
Bake until a toothpick in the center comes out slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack.
Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.
Chocolate Note from Alice: Any unsweetened natural or Dutch-process cocoa powder works well here. Natural cocoa produces brownies with more flavor complexity and lots of tart, fruity notes. I think it's more exciting. Dutch-process cocoa results in a darker brownie with a mellower, old-fashioned chocolate pudding flavor, pleasantly reminiscent of childhood.
From Alice Medrich’s "Bittersweet cookbook"
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 208 Total Fat: 11g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 5g Cholesterol: 42mg Sodium: 103mg Carbohydrates: 26g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 16g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 3g
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