This week’s Baking With Julia takes on Rick Katz’ Best Ever Brownies. I think I’m not alone in the TWD crowd in feeling these are not the Best Ever Brownies, or to borrow the current phrasing of such things…. Best… Brownies… Ever!!! To be honest I am somewhat skeptical when a recipe or dish claims the title Best Ever or World’s Greatest. Granted “pretty good brownies” doesn’t have quite the same ring. Nonetheless, this recipe still yields a pretty good fudgey-chewy brownie. It’s not the best I’ve ever made or tasted. Given the number of individuals baking for Tuesday’s With Dorie, I would expect more than a few bakers to count these brownies as tops. You can view all the other participants efforts here. Thanks to Monica of A Beautiful Mess for hosting our Brownie Adventure this week. As always, you can find the full recipe at her blog post, or in the pages of Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.
Rick Katz recipe stays true to every other brownie recipes I’ve tried, at least where ingredients are concerned… butter, chocolate, sugar, eggs, vanilla, and flour. He deviates when it comes to the technique for combining eggs into the batter. Every other brownie recipe I’ve seen blends eggs directly into a mixture of melted chocolate, butter, and sugar. For this recipe, half of the eggs are added directly, while the other half are first whipped to a ribbon stage and gently folded in. This produce a lighter batter which rises somewhat more during baking.
The chocolate flavor in these brownies is decent, though not as intense a few other recipes I’ve tried. That flavor comes courtesy of 6 oz of unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. I substituted 6 oz of Valrhona 85% cacao dark chocolate bars available at Trader Joe’s. Some recipes I’ve tried use more chocolate, or add additional sources of chocolate such as cocoa powder or chocolate chunks or chips. Reportedly these brownies bake up fairly loose, so I refrained from adding additional chocolate. Adding more might have kept them from setting up properly.
That may have been a good instinct. The recipe specifies a 9″ square pan baked at 350 degrees for 23-30 minutes. At the end of that range I had the dry top and the brownies appeared set. I removed them from the oven to cool. However, 25 minutes later I cut a test piece. The edges of the brownie extended about 2″ in were well cooked, while in the interior only the top quarter-inch or so was baked. The rest flowed like molten lava where a piece had been removed. Though tasty, these were not brownies one could eat out of hand. I returned them for a second baking in my small electric oven for an additional 25 minutes. At this point the brownies were finished. Set all around, and still fudgy.
As I said at the top, these were good brownies, however I would not deem them Best Ever. My current favorite recipe is “Better than Box Brownies” from America’s Test Kitchen, and I will stick with that in the future. Tastes in brownies are vary with the individual though, and I would encourage other bakers to give this recipe a try. For those intrepid souls, I might recommend a slightly bigger pan, or reducing the recipe by 25 percent if baking in a 9″ square pan.