De Rigueur

A good brownie recipe is like a good pair of heels or a slick black dress.  
Completely necessary and indispensable to have in your closet recipe box while seducing that hot boy
…Well that analogy fell through.  Brownies are an essential in my closet.  This is a no-judgment zone, okay?  So wipe that smirk off your face.
What I mean to say is that they’re classic.  And classic for a reason they are.  
And so easy!  They are one-pot wonders, I tell ya.
And so easily customized!  
You like cakey?  Bake them for 5 more minutes.  
You like fudgy?  Underbake them by 3 minutes.  
You want mix-ins?  Add whatever your little heart desires. 
This recipe is from Cook’s Illustrated.  It is foolproof.  I should know, because I’m a fool I’ve baked 4 batches of brownies (that’s 256 of these lil guys) in the last week for a school statistics project.
To answer your question, yes, I am always the annoying person who does projects only concerning things I already like.  So… baking projects.  Yeah.
Keep these in your arsenal; I guarantee they’ll come in handy some day.  
Nobody doesn’t love chocolate.
Classic Brownies
Adapted from Cook’s Illustrated
Makes an 8×8 pan
5 ounces bittersweet chocolate
2 tablespoons shortening 
8 tablespoons butter
9 tablespoons cocoa powder
8.75 ounces sugar (1 1/4 cups)
3 eggs
5 ounces flour (1 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
dash chocolate extract, should you be into that sort of thing
up to 3/4 cup mix-ins (chocolate chips?  toasted nuts?  dried fruit?  crushed candy?)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line an 8×8 pan with two sheets of aluminum foil, creating a sling.  Spray with cooking oil.  In a heavy bottomed saucepan, combine butter, shortening, chocolate, and cocoa powder.  Stir with a wooden spoon until melted and smooth.  Stir in sugar, then increasing your speed, beat in the eggs.  (If you’re a wimp, you can do this part in a stand mixer, but you honestly don’t need to stir for very long, and that dirties another bowl.) Stir in the extracts, then the flour.  Mix only until homogeneous.  Stir in desired mix-ins.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 14-20 minutes, depending on how cakey/fudgy you like them.  Check often; a toothpick will come out of fudgy brownies with faint streaks of chocolate and a few crumbs; in-the-middle brownies will produce only moistened crumbs, no streaks; and cakey brownies will come out with very few crumbs.  For cakey brownies, watch carefully because there is a difference between cakey and light and overbaked and burnt.

One comment

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