The Best Brownies

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Photo by Keri White

There is a wide range of quality in the brownie. A brownie can be truly sublime — not as fancy as a complicated torte, but often just as satisfying if done correctly.

The perfect brownie is rich, fudgy and dense, not cakey. It also boasts a flaky shiny surface, the result of beating the eggs just so.

Brownies are simple, certainly, but there’s more to these humble and familiar squares than meets the eye, especially if made to their fullest potential.


I had reason to experiment with these classics recently. I had time on my hands and a hankering for something sweet, but didn’t want anything terribly time consuming, so brownies called my name.

I did some research, and came up with a recipe that, while it requires a teeny bit more effort than just dumping the stuff in a bowl, delivers a rapturous result. The addition of sliced almonds and chocolate chunks, which are larger and randomly sized and shaped chocolate chips, made these really special, but if you don’t have those ingredients on hand, no matter.

We served these with scoops of vanilla ice cream, which was grand, but we enjoyed them just as much on their own.

The Best Brownies

Makes 16 squares

1 stick butter

1 tablespoon cooking oil

¾ cup brown sugar

⅓ cup white sugar

2 eggs

½ cup flour

½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder

⅓ cup sliced almonds (or the chopped nuts of your choice)

½ cup chocolate chunks

¼ teaspoon salt

  1. Heat your oven to 350 degrees, spray a square pan with cooking oil and line it with parchment.
  2. Melt the butter, and mix it with the oil and sugar. Whisk it for about a minute until thoroughly blended. Add the eggs and whip for another minute until the mixture is light and a bit fluffy.
  3. Sift in the cocoa, flour and salt and mix until just combined. Overmixing at this stage will bring a cakey, dry texture, which we do not want!
  4. Add the nuts and mix until just distributed, two or three stirs. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20-25 minutes until the center is just set. Cool the brownies in the pan, and cut it into 16 squares.

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