How to Make the Densest, Fudgiest Brownies?
What makes a brownie truly dense, rich, and fudgy? I love brownies that are like a solid bar of fudge - really moist and rich.
Are there particular ingredients that make a brownie more fudgy? More or less eggs? Brown v. Granulated sugar? More or less flour? More or less butter? Cocoa v. melted chocolate?
Can you recommend a recipe?
I have been making Silver Palate's brownies for the past 18 years for every party I throw or go to -- always with raves because they are so dense. I double the recipe so it fits in a 9x13 pan. I have it memorized, so if it isn't exactly like the book, that's why. I make it all in a heavy sauce pan on the stove. This is the doubled recipe:
Melt 12 oz of semi sweet chocolate chips over low heat, stirring so it doesn't scorch;
When almost fully melted, add 2 sticks of butter and melt those;
Turn off heat;
Add 1/2 cup of Hershey’s Syrup, a teaspoon of vanilla, and 4 eggs, just slightly beaten and stir well;
Stir in 1 cup of flour and 1 1/2 cups of white sugar;
Pour batter into a greased and floured 9x13 pan;
Bake at 350 for about 40 minutes (the recipe says only 25, but they are raw in the middle and disintegrate) or until a toothpick comes out clean. I've forgotten them in the oven for up to almost 90 minutes and it doesn't ruin them -- the edges get burnt, but the center brownies are usually fine. I don't recommend this, but unlike others than require strict timing, these are forgiving. They are moist and chewey no matter what.
Can't go wrong. Once you get it down, you can go from cupboard to oven in about 10 minutes. Sometimes I get tired of them being so dense and chewy, so I add extra flour and baking powder to make them a little cakier -- just for a change. Otherwise, they are almost like candy.
i'm afraid i might get branded as a philistine for this, but taking taste, texture, and time into consideration, i go for Ghirardelli brownie mix. it's good stuff, especially if you sub kaluah liqueur for most of the water and add some chopped walnuts. i will take the time to bake EVERYTHING ELSE from scratch, but these brownies are so good i'd rather use the box and pretend i made them myself. ;)
and don't forget to underbake by 3 minutes or so!
how about adding just a couple extra tablespoons of melted butter or a bland oil like rice bran? just 1 or 2, might be worth an experiment.
And ditto on the overbaking. If the edges are starting to pull away from the pan, start testing center for doneness. Don't be doing ANYthing else!
Air is the arch nemesis of fudgey brownies.
Don't beat your eggs (like in Alton's Recipe). Fold everything together as few times as possible. When the batter is mixed, bang it on the counter a few times to get the bubbles out. If you wait until halfway through cooking the top might be already be set.
Also, don't ever add baking powder. Baking powder and beaten eggs are cakey brownie fundamentals.
Crystallized sugar is the defining texture of fudge. Although the sugar in brownies is, for the most part, uncrystallized, it's still a huge part of what gives them gooeyness/fudginess. Sugar is also hygroscopic (water attracting) so that's where a lot of the moistness comes from.
If the fudgiest brownie possible is your goal, I'd experiment with two things:
1. A vibrating table. Traditionally used for vibrating chocolate in molds, but works well for getting the air out of brownie batter
2. A less sweet high glucose/low fructose form of sugar such as glucose syrup or regular corn syrup (not high fructose corn syrup)
Both of these are probably overkill, but I thought I'd through them out there in case you were a fanatic. I know I am.
Last week, I made Rose Levy Beranbaum's recipe for a Brownie Puddle on p. 297 of "Pie and Pastry Bible." She calls for a fluted tart pan (which I have used for fancy parties), but this time I did it in an 8" square pan.
What I like about the recipe is that it calls for melted chocolate (I used Lindt), alkalized cocoa powder (I used Droste), butter, and cream cheese, along with the usual eggs, flour and salt and sugar. The cheese, butter and melted chocolate makes for a dense, fudgy brownie.
I agree with other posters that you should not over-bake them. In this recipe, you take the brownies out of the oven when a toothpick inserted an inch from the side comes out clean. This means the center will still be wobbly. They firm upon cooling, and they are scrumptious. I frosted them with chocolate ganache icing, cut them into squares, and froze them.
My next project is to try a few of the brownie recipes from Lisa Yochelson's "Chocolate Chocolate."
I get a lot of complements on my brownies, and I think the secret is in the baking... don't overbake for one milli-second.
Just as you start to smell them, it's time check for doneness. If the knife inserted is no loger gooey, then pull them out and wisk into an ice bath or freezer to cool down ASAP. This is what makes them fudgy, (aside from the butter).
I've also found that a metal pan works best, I guess because you can cool them down quicker in metal.
I've always made them this way:
1 c. unsalted butter
4 or 5 (or 6)oz. unsweetened chocolate
Melt the two together in a double boiler and set aside.
4 eggs in a mixing bowl, beat till frothy,
add 2 c.s sugar and mix, then add 1 c. flour, 1 tsp. vanilla, 1/2 tsp. salt, the chocolate mixture. Taste, mmmmm.
350 oven for 20-30? min. I don't really know for how long because my oven is like an open pit.
Also, anytime I've reduced the sugar they realy didn't turn out right, but you can add more unsweeted chocolate and nuts or berries to make them less sweet.
Hi - I visited the TVFN link you posted and was about to print the recipe when I decided to read the reviews (at the time I visited, there were 299 reviews). The top reviews ALL refer to this brownie as "cakey" or some incarnation of the word "cake." I'm searching for a truly fudgy brownie - which brings me to a question... Is there NO WAY to make a truly fudgy brownie WITHOUT melting chocolate? I've noticed that self-proclaimed "fudgy" brownies also call for melting the butter. Is the melting of chocolate or butter simply unavoidable to make a fudgy brownie?? TIA.