best ever brownies

Everyone needs a favorite brownie recipe.


I fell in love with Ina Garten’s “Outrageous” brownies. But found them impractical for sharing because of their super gooey constancy. Then, I came across David Lebovitz’s recipe for the “Absolute Best Brownies” (these celebrity chefs sure are modest…). And I fell in love.

{dense, fudgy center}

These only have a tiny bit of flour in the batter — which results in a chocolatey, moist center.

I am a generally open-minded person, but I really don’t understand the people who go crazy for a cake-like brownie. Why not just bake a chocolate cake? A brownie should be fudgy and dense — and that is exactly what these are — all the way up to the thin, shiny, tissue-paper crust on the top.

{crinkle-y tissue-paper thin crust}

This is also the perfect fool-proof recipe to experiment with different add-ins. I had bought a bag “Sweet and Salty M&M Trail Mix” (almonds, M&Ms and pretzels), and mixed that in. (I picked out the raisins).

Bring these to bake sales, stuff these in your purse, share them at work, eat them for breakfast. People love them.
Do you have a favorite brownie recipe?

With love,
Erica

{these transport beautifully}

Adapted from The Sweet Life in Paris
 David Lebovitz

Ingredients

  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
  • 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

optional: 1 cup add-ins (nuts, trail mix, candies etc.)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Line a 8-inch square baking dish with a sheet aluminum foil that
covers the bottom  up over the sides. If it doesn’t reach all the way up
and over all four sides, cross another sheet of foil over it, making a
large cross with edges that overhang the sides. Spray the bottom and
sides of the foil with cooking spray.
In a saucepan melt butter, add the semi-sweet chocolate, stirring
constantly over very low heat until the chocolate is melted. Remove from
heat. Add in eggs one at a
time, then stir in the sugar, vanilla, then the flour and nuts if using.

Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow cool completely.
.

Storage: These brownies will keep well for up to 4 days and can be frozen for 1 month.

Variation: This recipe
takes well to mix-ins. I’ll sometimes add 1/3 cup (45 g) chopped dried
cherries or 1/3 cup (45 g) cocoa nibs to the batter.

To make minty brownies, crush the contents
of one 50-g tin of peppermint Altoids in a sturdy plastic bag. Add the
crushed mints to the brownies along with the nuts (or omit the nuts). If
you like very minty brownies, add 1/2 teaspoon mint extract along with
the crushed mints.

chunky chocolate pecan salty oat cookie

Oatmeal cookies tend to get a bad rep. They always seem to be the last ones left on cookie platters (after chocolate chip, sugar, snickerdoodles etc.). But these are different. These are salty oat cookies. Even those of you who cringe at the thought of an oatmeal raisin cookie will fall in love with these salty-sweet bundles of buttery, oat-y goodness.

A true D.C. specialty, the salty-oat was made famous at one of my favorite D.C. restaurants, Teaism. They sell three varieties: salty oat, chocolate oat, and my personal favorite, chunky chocolate pecan.
Don’t get me wrong, I love their variety (it is the original after all…), but nothing beats whipping these babies up at home. (Plus one cute little cellophane-wrapped pack of six will cost you $12!)

This isn’t your run-of-the-mill oatmeal cookie coated in sea salt. These chubby little mounds are chewy, oat-y, and delicious. The sweet warm spices of oatmeal, buttery pecan pieces, and dark chocolate chunks are accented by the occasional bite of a salt crystal. Undoubtedly a unique cookie — but it captures that salty-sweet experience that you find in a chocolate covered pretzel. Once you sink your teeth into a salty oat, its hard to go back to regular, unsalted oatmeal cookies. So preheat your oven, get a cold glass of milk ready, and savor these “subtley sweet, curiously salty’ cookies.
 Are there any cookie recipes unique to your region?
 With love,
Erica

ingredients
3/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon allspice
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups rolled organic oats
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks
1/3 cup chopped pecans
Coarse sea salt (I used pink Himalayan salt)


Start off by whipping cold chunks of butter in a stand mixer for a minute or two. Next, add both sugars the baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and allspice. Mix at a medium speed till the mixture has a crumbly texture. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.
With the mixer on a low speed, slowly add flour. Be careful not to overmix at this point or your cookies will get tough.
Gently fold in the oats, dark chocolate and pecans. Place the dough in an airtight container and chill for at least an hour
When you are ready to bake, pre-heat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper. Drop heaping tablespoons of dough on the dough about 2 inches apart and lightly sprinkle with salt. Bake on the second rack from the top for 12-15 minutes or until the edges are golden brown but the cookies are still soft to the touch. Transfer to a cooling rack. Enjoy with a nice tall glass of milk 🙂