As part of my quest for the perfect brownie (not to be confused with the quest for the perfect chocolate chip cookie or the search for my quintessential birthday cake), I have been trying different recipes. Brownies are described in three ways: cakey, fudgy, and a delicate mixture of both. If I wanted cake, I would make cake. If I wanted fudge, I would make fudge. So to me, a perfect brownie should neither be fudge nor cake, but composite of the two--its own dessert category.
The recipe I recently tried hails from Gourmet magazine and is entitled something completely boring and inane like: The Farm of Beverly Hills’ Brownies. All I can say is: lame. Although they do not replace my current favorite (falling too close to the fudge category), they are too good and dangerous enough not to have a decent title. Hence, I have re-christened them “Hunk-a-hunk of fudgy love.” And that, my dear friends, is the truth. These are thick, dense, fudgy blocks that are good enough to make you forget that you are single.
Hunk-A-Hunk of Fudgy Love
3 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped.
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder, not Dutch processed.
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts (optional)
Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan, knocking out excess flour. Melt butter with chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from pan and whisk in eggs, 1 at a time. Sift together flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and stir into batter with sugar and salt. Stir in nuts. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and a tester inserted into center comes out with crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours, before cutting into 20 squares.
Brownies keep, layered between wax paper in an airtight container, 5 days. Makes 20 brownies
Gourmet February 2000