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Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies - is there really a better recipe? I think not.

All of the brownie mix discussion brought this to mind. An inquiry primarily to those who have made the Malgieri brownies, which truly do live up to their name. Recipe summary as I make it, my slight alterations in (): 8 oz butter, melted over low heat, add in 8 oz good bittersweet chocolate, chopped; allow to melt, add 1 cup white sugar, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 2 tsp vanilla (plus a tiny dribble of almond extract), 4 eggs one by one, 1 cup flour, (1/2 tsp baking powder), 1 tsp salt, (1/2 to) 1 cup chopped nuts (usually walnuts, sometimes pecans). 13x9 in pan, 350 deg F oven appx 30 mins (recipe calls for longer, I bake just until solid in center). Let cool, cover with aluminum foil, and let stand overnight before cutting/serving (this last is an essential step, do not!!! mess with these before they have rested). If you have made these, have you ever found a better recipe, and if so, what is it? If you haven't made these I urge you to give them a go. I have tried several other recipes since and always come back to these.

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  1. buttertart, I haven't tried these but will do so. I REALLY love the Ina Garten Outrageous Brownies. They have a little bit of coffee in them for that extra goodness, and they are great. Very easy to overbake them though - gotta be careful of that. I don't get that whole thing that some people like when brownies or cookies are still kinda raw but overcooked brownies are worse!

    16 Replies
    1. re: chilibug

      The Ina Garten recipe is like this doubled with less chocolate and more add-ins. I tried it and while it is excellent, I have to say I did not like it as much as these.

      1. re: buttertart

        Just rereading this thread for the comments about the Supernatural brownies - is this the Ina Garten recipe in question?

        http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/in...

        If so, it has far MORE chocolate than the supernaturals - nearly a pound and a half melted into the batter plus another 12 oz added as chips later rather than just a pound in the Malgieri recipe (if doubled). I was actually surprised at how little chocolate is called for in the Malgieri recipe as compared to the quantity of sugar - are they extremely sweet?

        1. re: biondanonima

          That's a good observation because after fooling around w/ a lot of different recipes, I went back to the SN ones and while I like the texture, they weren't chocolatey enough and were too sweet. I tried Ina's brownies and liked them but didn't love them--maybe I'd switch a good part of the sugar with brown sugar to give them more chew. It is far more chocolate-y than the SN ones. I used chopped chocolate rather than chocolate chips (a lot of chopping!). I prefer the texture of the SN but the chocolateness of Ina's.

          1. re: chowser

            Chowser, would you say Ina's were on the cakey side, or more fudgy? I have no use for cakey brownies but anything in the fudgy or chewy realm is fine, although I prefer fudgy above all (and the less crispness the better - I ONLY eat middle pieces, LOL!). I may do a side-by-side with these two, or even a 3-way competition with these two and the Alice Medrich ones that are mentioned below - I will be baking for an appreciative and hungry group in August so I don't have to worry about the possibility of eating three batches of brownies by myself.

            1. re: biondanonima

              I'd say more on the cakey side but not cakey. Have you tried the mancatcher brownies? If you don't mind cocoa in baked goods, they're probably the most fudgey brownies I've tried, in part because they're thick so the center stays moist and dense. My favorite right now is Thomas Keller's from Ad hoc--there is a good amount of chopped chocolate in them that each bite melts in chocolatey goodness. I think all that chocolate is what spoiled the SN brownies for me. I still want to try Alice Medrich's but like you, want to wait for an occasion where I can pass them off.

              1. re: chowser

                I got AHAH for Christmas and I've heard raves about the brownies but I haven't had the chance to make them - I am going to grab the book now. I haven't tried the mancatchers either, but looking at the recipe I would guess they will be extremely sweet - 4 cups of sugar to 2 cups cocoa? The Medrich recipe looks similar but with a lot less sugar (no brown sugar, to be precise), and I have a feeling I might like it more. How important is the dark brown sugar to the supernaturals? I only have light in the house and I'm thinking of doing a trial run of these for some friends tomorrow, but I am too lazy to go to the store!

                1. re: biondanonima

                  Raided the pantry and found about 3/4 of dessicated dark brown sugar, so I nuked it to soften and made up the difference with light brown. I used about 6 oz. of 60% and 2 oz. of 80% chocolate, but upon tasting, the batter still seemed overly sweet to me, so I added a tablespoon of instant espresso bloomed in a little water, which did seem to add depth. The teenager licking the bowl has pronounced the batter awesome. They are in the oven now, but I PROMISE I will not touch them until tomorrow!!!!!!!!!!!!!

                  1. re: biondanonima

                    Oh, I should have said I always add espresso powder to brownies--good call. The brown sugar adds chew but I usually use white and add a dollop of molasses. I guess the mancatchers are sweet but I find all brownies a little too sweet, except maybe AHAC and Chow's intense brownies. And, I undermeasure for sugar. For all the brownie baking I do, I'm not a huge fan of them!

                    1. re: chowser

                      Ok, I lied a little bit :) I broke off a corner last night while the brownies were cooling, just to see. Was not impressed AT ALL. They were rather cakey (which I do not like) and had a very prominent molasses flavor, which IMO has no place in brownies. Also, not chocolatey enough. I let them cool completely, wrapped them in plastic wrap and stuck them in the fridge overnight.

                      So, just now, 12 hours later, I took them out to cut and allow to come to room temp, and tasted again. MUCH different texture - they are now EXTREMELY chewy. The molasses flavor has mostly subsided, but they are still very sweet and not very chocolatey. Hopefully the chocolate flavor will come through more as they come to room temp. I am happier with the texture now but I hope they will become somewhat more fudgy as they warm as well.

                      1. re: biondanonima

                        They are not impressive until they've rested, I believe that's the "supernatural" part. I don't find them molasses-y or too sweet and they're as chocolate-y as I can imagine being appealling. But of course that's only me. There are lots and lots of nice recipes, I just happen to like this one best.

                        1. re: biondanonima

                          When I read the first part of your post about them not being chewy, I thought maybe I had the wrong recipe you were trying until I read further. These might be the chewiest of the brownies I can think of. I haven't noticed the molasses flavor but do think they could be less sweet, more chocolate-y. Oh, the molasses flavor might be the use of dessicated dark brown sugar. I usually add a little molasses, as I said or light brown sugar (because you can't beat the price of Costco's light brown sugar).

                          1. re: chowser

                            Final verdict: four people ate half the batch of brownies in one day, so I'd say they were a hit! When they came back to room temperature they were very fudgy and soft (no longer particularly chewy as they were when cold). The texture reminded me somewhat of the AMAZING brownies served at Bliss Spas, but it was a little heavier - the Bliss brownies just melt in your mouth, whereas these required a little more "work" to chew and had a slightly more pasty mouthfeel.

                            The brown sugar flavor was again very prominent at room temp, but that was probably because I used old stuff - if I make them again, though, I'll go with light brown sugar. For me, they were still too sweet and not chocolatey enough, but my husband, stepdaughter and our friends thought they were incredible. None of them are quite as fond of dark chocolate as I am - I almost never eat anything lighter than 80% - so it's probably just a personal preference thing. I may try playing with this recipe by adding some cocoa powder to give them more chocolate oomph, and/or cutting some sugar. Or perhaps I'll move on to Medrich or AHAH for my next batch!

                            1. re: biondanonima

                              This is why they're my go-to brownies for potluck type functions. They disappear quickly and people rave about them. I think the ad hoc ones are more a more specific taste. Thanks for experimenting and reporting your experience!

                              1. re: chowser

                                Just wanted to report that I finally got around to trying the Ad Hoc At Home Brownies - I followed the recipe religiously except that I bloomed the cocoa in the melted butter instead of adding it with the flour, and my chocolate chunks were 54% instead of 60-64%. I used Callebaut cocoa powder. Anyway, WOW. They are really, really delicious, fudgy and chocolaty, with the thin crackly top that box brownies have. However, they are almost a little TOO buttery, and that's really saying something since I am a butter fiend. They left a little pool of grease on the plate.

                                Anyway, my husband declared them the best he's ever had, and I think that anyone who likes box brownies would love these, but I think I prefer the Lebovitz recipe for Robert's Best Brownies. If i were making them for a bake sale, though, I'd definitely make the Ad Hoc ones - they are much more beautiful than the Lebovitz recipe, which looks a little flat and dry (even though it doesn't taste dry!). I'll make them again, but I may cut both the butter and sugar slightly (I think 2.5 or even 2 sticks of butter would be sufficient) and I'll definitely use a darker chocolate for the chunks.

                                And now if you'll excuse me, I need to go get another brownie!

                                1. re: biondanonima

                                  Thanks for reminding me--I haven't made brownies in a long time but so I have to go make these this week! I'm glad you liked them. I'll go check out Lebovitz's recipe.

                2. re: biondanonima

                  My go-to brownies is the Maida Heatter's Santa Fe Brownies, which are essentially chocolate, butter, egg, cream cheese and sugar, with just enough flour to make them stand up nice and straight. They're the ultimate fudgy brownie and are best made the day before you serve them.

                  http://apinchoftaste.blogspot.com/200...

                  I was faintly surprised at the comment that accompanies the recipe on this link since it sounded so much like me. I'm wondering if it actually WAS me.

        2. 4 eggs?
          Are these kinda cakey?

          1 Reply
          1. re: gordeaux

            No, very fudgey. You just stir the eggs in, the batter is never beaten.

          2. I've been trying not to use my oven over these past summer months but am dying to try these...do you grease or prep the 13x9x2 inch pan at all before pouring in the batter? Thanks.

            6 Replies
            1. re: Val

              I line it with aluminum foil or baking parchment and spray that with PAM. Form the foil on the outside of the pan, wet the pan under the tap, and put the foil in, smoothing it into the corners and up the sides. Baking parchment 1/2 of a half-sheet pan size sheet (how I get my parchment), cut the corners in the depth of the pan on a diagonal, spray pan w PAM, put the parchment in (the cut corners slide around and fit nicely), respray with PAM.

              1. re: buttertart

                Got it...(but just one more annoying question: what's the purpose of wetting the pan under the tap if I may ask?) Thanks again!

                1. re: Val

                  I've been making these for about a year, but I use disposable aluminum foil pans. After a night in the 'frig, I turn them over on plastic wrap, let them sit for a while, and just peel off the pans and discard them. Then cut the brownies.

                  1. re: Val

                    I was going to explain it but was rushing - it helps to hold the foil in place a bit when you are pressing it in - otherwise it slides around a lot. Same with the PAM before you put in the parchment (you don't want it to get wet, so can't use water). Of course you can grease the foil with shortening or butter if you don't use PAM, I just always have it handy.

                    1. re: buttertart

                      I disregard instructions to dab anything on a pan before lining it with parchment. Half the reason for using parchment is so that the pan doesn't need cleaning! I use the black-and-silvery bullnose binder clips sold in office supply stores to hold parchment in place. They are undamaged by 375-400 degree oven heat (never tried any higher).

                      1. re: greygarious

                        Good idea, my piece of parchment doesn't extend all the way up to the top of the pan so better for me to use the ol' PAM to secure it.

              2. I was with you until you got to the part about letting it rest overnight! I can barely resist going at the brownie batter with a spoon before it's baked. It does sound delicious!

                ~TDQ

                3 Replies
                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  They are great and they are completely different and nondescript if you don't let them rest. It IS supernatural what happens to them. Try them. Step away from the pan!!!

                  1. re: buttertart

                    That is so weird. Okay, I see your note below that the recipe can be doubled, have you ever tried making them in muffin or mini-muffins? Or, might that compromise the supernatural effect. (I find if I make muffins or mini-muffins, I'm better about not chowing "more than my share."

                    ~TDQ

                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      No so can't say. I give most of these away (always have a couple, though) so don't have them on hand for temptation.

                2. Those are my go-to brownies if I want something chewy. I like the man catcher brownies if I want something chocolatey, thick, and decadent. If I want a more adult taste, I use the bittersweet chocolate brownies on Chow, only w/ instant espresso powder. If I want something more and have more time, I do Dorie Greenspan's chocolate chipster brownies which is chocolate chip cookie dough over brownie batter and baked.