yet another brownie recipe

I still don't have a hand mixer. Until I do...brownies!

I found the recipe in Bon Appetit (February 2011 issue). They were pretty good, very dense and chocolately, but I kind of messed up in following the recipe exactly.


  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnut pieces


  • Position rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 325°F. Line 8x8x2-inch metal baking pan with foil, pressing foil firmly against pan sides and leaving 2-inch overhang. Coat foil with nonstick spray. Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat. Continue cooking until butter stops foaming and browned bits form at bottom of pan, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat; immediately add sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, and 1/4 teaspoon (generous) salt. Stir to blend. Let cool 5 minutes (mixture will still be hot). Add eggs to hot mixture 1 at a time, beating vigorously to blend after each addition. When mixture looks thick and shiny, add flour and stir until blended. Beat vigorously 60 strokes. Stir in nuts. Transfer batter to prepared pan.
  • Bake brownies until toothpick inserted into center comes out almost clean (with a few moist crumbs attached), about 25 minutes. Cool in pan on rack. Using foil overhang, lift brownies from pan. Cut into 4 strips. Cut each strip crosswise into 4 brownies. DO AHEAD Can be made 2 days ahead. Store airtight at room temperature.

aaand a post-mortem:
1. In a sudden fit of laziness, I measured the cocoa powder the wrong way - put the 3/4 c scoop (yes, we have one for that specific amount) into the jar of cocoa and leveled it off and dumped it in, without thinking. I was pretty sure this made it too bitter, so I added more sugar (maybe 1/4 or 1/3 cup.)
2. I used salted butter and did not add any extra salt
3. Melting the butter was weird. I got to the 5-minute mark and there were all sorts of different stages and kinds of foam, but it never *stopped* foaming, and I never saw brown bits on the bottom. Eventually, somewhere around 6-7 minutes, I felt it stick to the bottom a tad, and it started to smell different (maybe like browned butter), so I pulled it off the stove.
4. I didn't do the aluminum foil business; that seems wasteful. I just greased the pan with a mixture of butter and canola oil.
5. My fucked-up oven wasn't quite at 325 when I put them in (it had been, and then it randomly cooled itself off). It was at 325 about 10 minutes later. So I left them in the oven for between 30 and 35 minutes.

2nd post-mortem, 6/19/2011:
1. Browning butter is definitely weird and tricky. I think I let it go too long and noticed brown particles - wasn't sure if it was *burnt* or just browned, so I started over with new butter. Next time: read better instructions for browning butter.
2. I gave in and lined the pan. Definitely easier to get them out of the pan this way.
3. There was that nice flaky crust on part of the tray, not all of it.
4. They're not as thick/high as last time, oddly, especially since last time they seemed pretty solid.
5. Still needed 30-35 minutes and they don't seem dried out, but my oven was on crack again and the temp was inconsistent. Are all ovens so all-over-the-place or do I only notice it now that I have a good thermometer? It is a mystery.
6. Tasty. Oh yes.

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