The Ultimate Brownie? You Decide!

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The Ultimate Brownie

Who doesn’t love brownies?

I suppose if you don’t like chocolate, you might not care for brownies.

Whoa! Back up! Who doesn’t love chocolate?

As hard as it might be for some of us to fathom, there are people in this world who are indifferent to chocolate. They can take it or leave it. Quite easily. Without much care or thought. Some of those people may even prefer to ignore chocolate altogether. Don’t pity them, however. Consider how much more this leaves for the rest of us!

But back to brownies.

Recently I found a recipe for The Ultimate Brownie on the About.com Desserts/Baking website. I’ve never understood the idea of an “ultimate” anything because what might be the best ever version of something (e.g. brownies) to you may very well be a just okay version of that something (e.g. brownies) to me. And vice versa. If you claim something is the “ultimate” or “world’s best” or “greatest ever”, you’ve set up some pretty high expectations as to what that something will look like, taste like, feel like, act like, and so on, depending on exactly what that something is. So many things in life are subject to an individual’s taste preferences, perceptions, biases, and experiences that I’m always hesitant to label anything (and in the context of this blog, a recipe!) with the moniker of “ultimate” unless it’s been highly rated by more people than just me.

That said, I did try The Ultimate Brownie recipe, and it was pretty good! Thick and fudgey (my preference as opposed to cakey), it would rank fairly high on my scale of “best brownies ever eaten”. I’ve posted the recipe below.

Speaking of things “ultimate”, I’m also posting a link to the website of my colleague, cookbook author Mairlyn Smith and her healthy Decadent Brownies recipe. It’s from her and co-author dietitian Liz Pearson’s best-selling book, Ultimate Foods for Ultimate Health…and don’t forget the chocolate (Whitecap Books, 2007). Mairlyn’s recipe uses whole wheat flour, canola oil and cocoa powder.

As well, here’s the link to the recipe for Fudgey Special Dark Brownies on Hershey’s website; it’s made with cocoa powder and Chipits. If you make the brownies in a 15 x 10-inch (38 x 25 cm) pan instead of a 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) pan, you can cut the brownies into heart shapes for Valentine’s Day. On the Hershey’s website you can also find chocolatey recipes for mousse, cookies and truffles. Perfect fare for giving to all your loved ones and sweeties! Assuming they all like chocolate, that is!

The Ultimate Brownie
(Makes a 13 x 9-inch/33 x 23 cm baking pan)

8 squares unsweetened chocolate, chopped into chunks
1 cup (250 mL) butter, cut in chunks
5 large eggs
3 cups (750 mL) sugar
1 tablespoon (15 mL) vanilla
1-1/2 cups (375 mL) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon (5 mL) salt
2-1/2 cups (625 mL) chopped pecans or walnuts, toasted

In a saucepan over low heat, melt chocolate and butter, stirring frequently; set aside.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, sugar and vanilla with electric mixer on high speed for 10 minutes. (Mixture will be thick and pale yellow in colour.)

Stir in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour and salt until just mixed. Stir in nuts. Pour into a lightly greased 13 x 9-inch (33 x 23 cm) baking pan.

Bake in a preheated 375F (190C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes. The brownies should be moist in the centre.

Tips:

  • Measure all ingredients carefully. Measure flour and sugar in a dry measuring cup. Scoop flour into the cup and level the top with a blade of knife.
  • For easy removal of the brownies from the pan, line baking pan with aluminum foil or baking paper. Grease foil or paper, then add batter.
  • Brownies can be iced, but it is not necessary as they are sweet and decadent enough on their own. If desired, top with chopped nuts and semisweet chocolate chips before baking, or drizzle with a white chocolate glaze, or sprinkle cooled brownies with icing sugar.
  • This recipe is very similar to the Blockbuster Brownies recipe inside the box of Baker’s Unsweetened chocolate squares. That recipe calls for 1-1/2 cups (375 mL) butter, 6 eggs and 1 cup (250 mL) chopped nuts. The batter is baked in two 8-inch (2 L) square pans at 350F (180C) for 35 to 40 minutes.
  • Brownies freeze well.

For more brownie recipes, visit Brownie Lover’s Diary.

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