Have you ever eaten a commonplace food that was made to perfection, then continued to think about it for a decade? Those memorable bakery brownies are no longer haunting me. Now, THESE simple homemade brownies are on my mind…big time.
The long ago brownies that started my hunt for the perfect recipe came in a college care package. Not a care package for me, but a friend from Washington, D.C. who was generous with his baked goods. Most people receive oatmeal cookies from Nana, but this care package was the mother lode: an overnight delivery from a D.C. bakery famous for its brownies. They defied logic by having a thick and crispy shell as the top layer, a gooey and fudgy middle layer, and a cakey bottom. All in one brownie batter!
I finally learned that the secret to a crunchy top is to whip the eggs and sugar together like crazy – we’re talking ten minutes of frantic mixing that creates a meringue. After that, the rest of the recipe is quite traditional and really simple. The majority of the brownie is super fudgy (I could eat batter all day, salmonella be damned, so this is my jam), and the bottom and edge pieces are chewy and cakey.
The one tricky part of this recipe? The tops of these brownies do NOT want to be cut in perfect lines, so expect a, um, rustic look. Worth it!
I made these brownies to take along on a weekend group trip to Disney World. Disney allows outside food, so I figured homemade brownies would beat $10 Dippin’ Dots any day. We dug in after first lunch AND second lunch. Doing the “around the world” country tour at Epcot works up an appetite. That’s my story, I’m stickin’ to it.
Boxed brownie mix, be gone with you.
- Feel free to add walnuts or pecans, but I found this brownie has such a unique texture that nuts are unnecessary. Plus, this makes enough to share, and you don’t want to stop anyone who dislikes/has allergies to nuts from trying it!
- Recipe barely adapted from Martha Stewart. It’s hard to mess with perfection.
- 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, chopped roughly, plus 1 teaspoon to grease pan
- 8 ounces (1⅔ cups) all-purpose flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 8 ounces good quality unsweetened chocolate bar (I used Scharffen Berger), chopped roughly
- 5 large eggs, room temperature
- 3½ cups white sugar
- 2 teaspoons instant espresso powder
- 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
- ½-3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease bottom and sides of a 9x13 inch casserole pan with 1 teaspoon butter; set aside.
- Whisk flour and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.
- Combine chocolate and butter in a heat-proof bowl. Set over a pan of simmering water until the mixture has fully melted, stirring often. Remove from heat; set aside.
- In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat eggs, sugar, and espresso at the highest possible speed (without splattering) for 10 minutes -no less! Reduce mixer speed to low, add chocolate mixture, and add vanilla; beat until combined. Slowly add flour mixture; beat just until combined. Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake until edges are brown, 30-35 minutes. Remove pan from oven, and place entire pan on a cooling rack. Once fully cooled, cut with a greased pizza cutter or knife.