“Never overcook the brownies.”

- - brownies, dessert

Almost all brownies are good if you don’t overcook them.  This is true of box mixes, thick cakey brownies, or thin fudgey ones.  Really the only way to make a brownie bad is to overcook it.

I consider myself a brownie artist.  Indeed, I have quite a reputation.  Everyone secretly hopes that I will bring my brownies to the potluck.  And even I will overcook them once in awhile.  I have been making brownies since I was 9? 11? does it matter?  A LONG TIME.  I was given The Fanny Farmer Cookbook by my mother and there was a simple brownie recipe and I made it and I have never looked back.  Sure, I have tried other recipes.  There was a “low fat” brownie from a Gourmet Cookbook that I worked on in my twenties.  It was made with cocoa (see? none of that cocoa butter to make it extra fattening) and levening and it made a taller, denser brownie than the my Fanny Farmer standby.  But it was a brief flirtation.  That extra ingredient of baking powder just made it seem overworked.

After all these years, I use this recipe as a template.  Because it does not rise at all, you can use any flour– gluten does very little to effect the texture.  I have made it with canola oil instead of butter (a little greasier and chewier), cocoa powder instead of chocolate,  brown sugar instead of white.  I have loaded them with chocolate chips and nuts, sprinkled them with coconut, swirled them with peanut butter or cream cheese and gently folded in raspberries and baked them in a cake pan (instant “flourless” chocolate cake, pass the whipped cream please).  SO LONG AS YOU DO NOT OVERCOOK THEM, they are all wonderful.  And, amazingly, to this day, I can’t tell you how long to set the timer for.  Set it for 12 minutes and then check every 3, then every 1.  The top should look done, a little shiny, but the center should still be fudgy.  A toothpick will have chocolate sticking to it– not batter, but fudgy goo.  LET THEM COOL a bit– still warm is great if you are eating them with ice cream.  But cool them completly, even freeze them, for a clean cut.

My Mom’s Brownie Recipe

Melt in a pan over a double boiler or very low heat (or in a bowl in the microwave):

2 squares (2 oz.) bakers chocolate
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter

Add and mix:
1 Cup sugar

Add and mix:
2 eggs

Add and mix:
1/2 cup flour
pinch of salt (if using unsalted butter)

Line a brownie pan with aluminum foil, spray with oil and pour batter in.

Bake 350, until not overcooked (see note above)

This recipe can be doubled and baked in a 9 x 12 pan.

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