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

buttertart Sep 16, 2009 09:30 AM

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. c
    chilibug Sep 16, 2009 10:04 AM

    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
      buttertart Sep 16, 2009 10:43 AM

      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
        biondanonima Jul 1, 2011 06:18 PM

        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
          chowser Jul 2, 2011 05:31 AM

          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
            biondanonima Jul 2, 2011 04:02 PM

            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
              chowser Jul 2, 2011 04:55 PM

              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
                biondanonima Jul 2, 2011 05:06 PM

                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
                  biondanonima Jul 2, 2011 06:18 PM

                  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
                    chowser Jul 2, 2011 06:59 PM

                    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
                      biondanonima Jul 3, 2011 08:04 AM

                      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
                        buttertart Jul 3, 2011 08:23 AM

                        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
                          chowser Jul 3, 2011 08:30 AM

                          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
                            biondanonima Jul 3, 2011 09:47 PM

                            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
                              chowser Jul 4, 2011 08:30 AM

                              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
                                biondanonima Feb 12, 2012 05:40 PM

                                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
                                  chowser Feb 13, 2012 05:14 AM

                                  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
                  m
                  mandycat Jul 3, 2011 09:28 AM

                  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. g
          gordeaux Sep 16, 2009 10:16 AM

          4 eggs?
          Are these kinda cakey?

          1 Reply
          1. re: gordeaux
            buttertart Sep 16, 2009 10:32 AM

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

          2. v
            Val Sep 16, 2009 10:21 AM

            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
              buttertart Sep 16, 2009 10:36 AM

              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
                v
                Val Sep 16, 2009 11:06 AM

                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
                  mnosyne Sep 16, 2009 11:21 AM

                  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
                    buttertart Sep 16, 2009 11:22 AM

                    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
                      greygarious Sep 17, 2009 12:33 PM

                      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
                        buttertart Sep 17, 2009 01:47 PM

                        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. The Dairy Queen Sep 16, 2009 10:27 AM

                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
                  buttertart Sep 16, 2009 10:38 AM

                  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
                    The Dairy Queen Sep 16, 2009 11:39 AM

                    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
                      buttertart Sep 16, 2009 11:55 AM

                      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. chowser Sep 16, 2009 10:32 AM

                  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.

                  1. buttertart Sep 16, 2009 10:39 AM

                    PS recipe can be doubled and baked in half-sheet pan prepped as belo at 350 deg F for +-40 mins.

                    1. Soop Sep 17, 2009 02:11 AM

                      Sorry I missed this yesterday; the recipe I use is Nigel Slater's.

                      The chocolate you use really helps. I stick to green and blacks, and organic cocoa powder. They're almost overwhelmingly rich and earthy.

                      http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyl...

                      I've just noticed the veiled reference he makes to "add whatever you want" and to Glastonbury.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Soop
                        buttertart Sep 17, 2009 06:52 AM

                        Gee, whatever could he mean?

                        1. re: buttertart
                          Soop Sep 17, 2009 07:02 AM

                          lawl, i kno rite?

                      2. m
                        mtomto Sep 17, 2009 04:51 AM

                        Here it is without customization. Its all the net.

                        Nick's Supernatural Brownies

                        16 tbsp. unsalted butter,
                        plus more for greasing
                        8 oz. bittersweet chocolate,
                        cut into 1⁄4" pieces
                        4 eggs
                        1 cup sugar
                        1 cup firmly packed dark brown
                        sugar
                        2 tsp. vanilla extract
                        1⁄2 tsp. fine salt
                        1 cup flour

                        Preheat oven to 350. Grease/butter a 9" x 13" baking pan with butter and line with parchment paper; grease paper. Set aside.

                        Pour enough water into a saucepan that it reaches a depth of one inch. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low. Combine butter and chocolate in a medium bowl. set bowl over saucepan. Cook, stirring, until melted and smooth, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.

                        Whisk together eggs in a large bowl. Add sugar, brown sugar, vanilla, and salt; whisk to combine. Stir in chocolate mixture; fold in flour. Pour batter into prepared pan; spread evenly. Bake until a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool on a rack. Cut and serve.

                        7 Replies
                        1. re: mtomto
                          chowser Sep 17, 2009 11:31 AM

                          There was also a long discussion about these brownies here:

                          http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/357805

                          1. re: chowser
                            buttertart Sep 17, 2009 12:27 PM

                            Latest post 2007. Lots of brownies baked since then...

                            1. re: buttertart
                              c
                              Clavdia_Chauchat Nov 20, 2010 07:02 AM

                              I found the so-called Supernatural brownies disappointingly cakey and crumbly. I've read that they are better cold from fridge or freezer but I want them to be good at room temp. Had MUCH better results with the chewy Alice Medrich via Smitten Kitchen cocoa powder (no melted chocolate) recipe. Perfectly balance of chewy and fudgy, not too sweet, not too bitter, no freezer needed. No crumbles.

                              The NM brownies came out like most other brownie recipes I've tasted (and I've tried many--Ina, CI are the closest to good but still not great): a let down. Good thing I'm pregnant and have been on a brownie recipe testing spree. I had the MEdrich ones back to back after the Supernaturals and they were clearly superior, no comparison.

                              And the cocoa powder ones are so fast to make. AND you already have all of the ingredients in your cupboard. Seriously there is no excuse for anyone to ever use a box again.

                              1. re: Clavdia_Chauchat
                                The Dairy Queen Nov 20, 2010 11:10 AM

                                Sorry, which recipe is the the cocoa powder ones? (I'm always looking for fast recipes...)

                                ~TDQ

                                1. re: Clavdia_Chauchat
                                  roxlet Nov 20, 2010 11:33 AM

                                  I have to disagree with you on the Alice Medrich via Smitten Kitchen brownies. Now, my son is a brownie fan -- as are his friends -- but these brownies were deemed to be TOO fudgy and candy-like, and I wound up tossing most of them. I like Nick's because they are fudgy enough to satisfy the fudgy brownie craving, but you still know that they are a brownie not candy.

                                  I feel that all brownies are so simple that it's a shame to ever use a mix, so we do agree on that part!

                                  1. re: Clavdia_Chauchat
                                    buttertart Nov 20, 2010 02:20 PM

                                    I have never had them come out cakey or crumbly, they are always perfectly fudgy. Perhaps your oven was running hot?
                                    Why compare them to a cocoa brownie? That's another breed of cat entirely. I made the cocoa ones from his Chocolate book once but went back to the Supernaturals, really prefer chocolate confections made with chocolate, not cocoa.

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      chowser Nov 20, 2010 02:23 PM

                                      I like both cocoa and chocolate brownies and have never found the supernatural ones to be anything but chewy not cakey either. This recipe has far too much brown sugar and butter to be cakey. Personally, I don't think there is a "best" brownies or "superior" brownies. It's about what I feel like at the time. I have about a dozen go-to brownies recipes, depending on my mood.

                            2. j
                              jsaimd Sep 17, 2009 08:53 AM

                              I love these brownies and prefer them to Ina's Outrageous Brownies. However, I did add dulce de leche swirl once and it made these to thick and pasty. So, just be aware of what you add!

                              1. Island Girl Sep 25, 2009 12:20 AM

                                I've tried so many brownie recipes but I have to say the Supernatural ones are my favourite too. The next time I make them I will definitely leave them overnight in the pan. I almost always double the recipe and use a half sheet with parchment and since it doesn't completely cover the interior of the pan I'm OK with daubing a little butter to hold the parchment in place since I have to wash the pan anyway. When I make the half sheet I will cut it into quarters first and wrap/freeze the extras which hold up very well.

                                These are my "notes" on the recipe as I alter the recipe depending what I want to use the brownies for...

                                I almost always make ganache for the brownies and sometimes sprinkle finishing salt on top. Everyone loves these brownies so have even decorated a few as it has been requested as the "birthday" cake.

                                Use toasted chopped pecans and may add some extra finely chopped chocolate.

                                For a deeper flavour will add some espresso powder.

                                I think one of the reasons I love this recipe so much is because it is so adaptable but mainly because I love the texture [yes, even of the batter], taste, and how they somehow taste better each day - if they last that long.

                                1. Soop Sep 25, 2009 02:04 AM

                                  I think the most important thing is the ingredients (i.e. the chocolate).
                                  What brand of chocolate do people use, and what's the cocoa solids %?

                                  3 Replies
                                  1. re: Soop
                                    buttertart Sep 25, 2009 06:55 AM

                                    I use a number of chocolates from 62% (French Nestlé baking choc in 200 gm bars, friends bring it back for me) to 72% (Trader Joe's - grocery store here as you prob know - house label which is apparently Belgian Callebaut). Or a bunch of different ones mixed together - the high percentage ones like Lindt with some Hershey's Special Dark or other ordinary chocolate. They all work well. Just don't go with all very high percentage, they will be drier and not nearly as good.

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      Soop Sep 25, 2009 07:03 AM

                                      Lint we get over here and is considered quite good. However, I've a mistrust of "cooking" chocolate. In my youth, it was a waxy tasteless chocolate (although it's better than hersheys). Nestle have never made particularly good chocolate either in my experience.
                                      I use green and blacks (one 40%, one 70, one 80%), although it's a little more expensive.
                                      You've had experience of chocolate in the UK, am I right? What's your opinion on the difference? Chocolate has undergone a slight renaissance here too - thorntons used to be considered top-tier, but now places like Hotel Chocolat are above them.

                                      1. re: Soop
                                        buttertart Sep 25, 2009 07:41 AM

                                        I don't like Nestlé in general but this is really quite good. My only experience of UK chocolate (have only been in London once, sorry to say, and nowhere near a kitchen) is the milk chocolate bar kind, as on the Crunchie (my favorite). Use whatever you like as long as not high pctg like 97% - which you could use in the Hepburn brownies also discussed, recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate.

                                  2. t
                                    trvler Sep 25, 2009 06:07 AM

                                    Kathryn Hepburns brownies. I still have the original clipping from Ladies Home Journal from many, many years ago. I noticed they are all over the internet. Try them.

                                    3 Replies
                                    1. re: trvler
                                      The Dairy Queen Sep 25, 2009 06:11 AM

                                      Oh, I'm a huge fan of Hepburn's. Therefore, I must try these. Thanks for the tip.

                                      http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

                                      ~TDQ

                                      1. re: The Dairy Queen
                                        p
                                        PamelaG Jul 3, 2011 08:14 AM

                                        Ah, the Hepburn brownies. That was my regular standby for years before I discovered the NY Times Supernatural Brownie recipe. I've not tried the Ina Garten recipe yet because ... well, why mess with perfection?

                                        1. re: PamelaG
                                          buttertart Jul 3, 2011 08:20 AM

                                          I like you, PamelaG. ;-)

                                    2. t
                                      trvler Sep 25, 2009 06:19 AM

                                      The Kathryn Hepburn brownies were also Lorie Colwins favorite. Another suggestion--don't try pecans--they are too rich. Very, very simple for dessert. Just raspberry sauce and small scoop of ice cream or whipped cream.

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: trvler
                                        The Dairy Queen Sep 25, 2009 07:25 AM

                                        Yes, the link I provided referenced a Laurie Colwin piece, edited by Ruth Reichl! Thanks for the tips on the pecans.

                                        ~TDQ

                                      2. j
                                        joannabar Sep 25, 2009 07:28 AM

                                        I didn't think I could love a brownie recipe more than the Supernaturals until I bought Nick's "The Modern Baker". He has a recipe using cocoa nibs that makes me swoon. It isn't better than the supers....just different, perhaps slightly less sweet. Wonderful.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: joannabar
                                          buttertart Sep 25, 2009 07:34 AM

                                          He is da man as far as baking books are concerned. Have all his books, love that one and also A Baker's Tour. The cocoa nib one is a variation on Supernaturals, no?

                                        2. p
                                          PamelaG May 1, 2010 07:36 AM

                                          I'm not quite getting how this recipe differs from the one I've been making for some time from the NY Times. I tend to always double my vanilla in any recipe calling for vanilla ... also double the salt when the recipe includes chocolate. At any rate a lovely brownie - great w/ the addition of about a cup of chocolate chips to the batter with the nuts.

                                          1 Reply
                                          1. re: PamelaG
                                            buttertart May 3, 2010 06:13 AM

                                            I think they featured this recipe in the NYT when the book came out.

                                          2. buttertart May 3, 2010 06:15 AM

                                            Take that, CI chewys! Make the Supernaturals with 1/2 veg oil and 1/2 butter, and sub 1/4 c cocoa for 1/4 c flour, even better chewy brownies than CI's.

                                            1 Reply
                                            1. re: buttertart
                                              sbp May 10, 2010 06:14 PM

                                              Funny, I was reading through this thread looking for the 2010 update and thought "I wonder if you used half oil per CI it would be even better?" So, have you made these with oil, and are they not only better than CI but better than the original supernaturals (with your amendments, of course!)?

                                            2. kattyeyes May 10, 2010 05:32 PM

                                              On buttertart's recommendation, I made a variation of the supernatural brownie with a key lime cheesecake swirl this weekend. I halved the recipe, baked in an 8" x 8", did NOT line the pan with parchment. Can anyone explain what the deal is with greasing, then parchment, then buttering the parchment (or foil)? I simply greased the pan with butter, poured in the battter (reserving 1/2 cup), then poured the cheesecake batter, then dolloped the remaining brownie batter over that.

                                              Oh, full disclosure--I also used light brown sugar rather than dark brown...can't imagine that makes a huge difference.

                                              Pics are on my blog. I do think these are very rich and delicious brownies. They were extra special swirled with key lime cheesecake and everyone loved them. BUT for the extra effort of chopping chocolate and melting it (I used Callebaut), plus the extra step with the parchment and greasing the pan twice...I am every bit as pleased with my usual go-to brownies from the Ghirardelli canister, which are miles easier and just as tasty. I do NOT add nuts or additional dark chocolate chips to them. I add a small portion of white chocolate chips and a handful of fresh raspberries...they are equally delicious (to me and my mom, anyway) and a whole lot less fussy.

                                              All that said, I enjoyed trying a new recipe and highly recommend you give this idea a "swirl" and see how you like it....maybe you'll like it now and learn to love it later. ;)
                                              (a la Robbie Robertson's "Somewhere Down That Crazy River")

                                              http://kattyskitchen.wordpress.com/
                                              Look for "Supernatural" Key Lime Cheesecake Swirl Brownies!

                                              3 Replies
                                              1. re: kattyeyes
                                                buttertart May 11, 2010 06:38 AM

                                                They look gorgeous, kattyeyes! Here are my shortcuts - I line the pan with foil or parchment, whichever is handier, and spray it with PAM. I melt the butter and chuck the chocolate in in biggish chunks (broken up by hand). I stir in the sugars (also use light brown if I don't have dark), then the vanilla and a drop of almond extract, then the eggs, then the flour and salt (usually plus a 1/2 tsp or so of baking powder, my addition). That makes them less fussy. I feel a brownie tasteoff coming on! In this corner, the winner and still champeen, Mr. Nicky Supernatural!!! The one, the only! (so far anyway).

                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                  kattyeyes May 11, 2010 07:15 AM

                                                  Thank you. And another thank you to the poster who recommended zapping the block of chocolate ever so slightly in the microwave to make it easier to chop. BRILLIANT. I wish I could remember who it was or where I read it, but since I can't, THANK YOU here. :) Super bright idea.

                                                  1. re: kattyeyes
                                                    buttertart May 11, 2010 07:23 AM

                                                    It is brill, especially with the high-percentage chocs that are a b to chop.
                                                    I was just given a KILO of 72% top-quality Russian chocolate with orange peel (one of my customers imports it), how about Supernaturals with that as the choc???

                                              2. mebby Oct 22, 2010 11:28 AM

                                                Buttertart, if you're around these parts, I have a question...

                                                I was going to make these today for a bake sale tomorrow, BUT I just found out I have to drop them off at the school this afternoon, which means cutting and wrapping them today. Given the *hands off until the next day* instruction, do you think I will fail to get the eerily great flavor development? Should I pick another recipe intended for immediate consumption?

                                                And what is it that's so different about them the next day? Just flavor or texture also or...?

                                                Thanks in advance!

                                                17 Replies
                                                1. re: mebby
                                                  chowser Oct 22, 2010 11:32 AM

                                                  FWIW, I do these for bake sales and make them in cupcake cups. You don't have to worry about cutting them and they're easy to transport--and the flavor is great the next day, too. Given the season, it's easy to find cute Halloween cupcake liners.

                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                    j
                                                    just_M Oct 22, 2010 12:22 PM

                                                    Chowser how full are the cupcake cups, and does it affect the cooking time? This would be so convenient. TIA - M

                                                    1. re: just_M
                                                      chowser Oct 22, 2010 12:55 PM

                                                      I'm so imprecise--I make about 20-24 brownies, usually, about half full I'd guess (lol, or half empty). I start checked at about 15 minutes but don't open the oven then, just peak in the window. I use different size cups so kind of wing it.

                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                        j
                                                        just_M Oct 22, 2010 01:43 PM

                                                        Thanks chowser - I figured they'd have to be less full than I do cupcakes (about 2/3 full) But now I have a place to begin to play - I think I need more cupcake pans ;-)

                                                        1. re: just_M
                                                          w
                                                          wonderwoman Oct 22, 2010 02:26 PM

                                                          Variation on the cupcake theme: I use madeline tins. The following is my adaptation of Alice Medrich's Best Cocoa Brownies.

                                                          10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
                                                          1/2 cup each white and brown sugar
                                                          3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (natural or Dutch-process)
                                                          1 teaspoon espresso powder
                                                          1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                          1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
                                                          2 cold large eggs
                                                          1/2 cup all-purpose flour

                                                          Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 325°F. Line the bottom and sides of the baking pan with parchment paper or foil, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides.

                                                          I use madeline tins sprayed with canola oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Makes about 18.

                                                          Combine the butter, sugar, cocoa, espresso powder and salt in a medium heatproof bowl and set the bowl in a wide skillet of barely simmering water. Stir from time to time until the butter is melted and the mixture is smooth and hot enough that you want to remove your finger fairly quickly after dipping it in to test. Remove the bowl from the skillet and set aside briefly until the mixture is only warm, not hot.

                                                          Stir in the vanilla with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring vigorously after each one. When the batter looks thick, shiny, and well blended, add the flour and stir until you cannot see it any longer, then beat vigorously for 40 strokes with the wooden spoon or a rubber spatula. Stir in the nuts, if using.

                                                          Spread evenly in the lined pan. Or spoon into madeline tins.

                                                          Bake until a toothpick plunged into the center emerges slightly moist with batter, 20 to 25 minutes (10 minutes for madeline tins). Let cool completely on a rack.
                                                          Lift up the ends of the parchment or foil liner, and transfer the brownies to a cutting board. Cut into 16 or 25 squares.

                                                          1. re: wonderwoman
                                                            j
                                                            just_M Oct 22, 2010 04:34 PM

                                                            Looks like madeline tins are my next need to have :-) these brownies would just be beautiful, unique and of course delicious. Thanks wonderwoman, I never would have thought it :-) M

                                                            1. re: just_M
                                                              w
                                                              wonderwoman Oct 22, 2010 05:32 PM

                                                              i like them better than cupcakes because they don't have to be unwrapped and are the perfect size to eat with one hand.

                                                              and, i forgot to mention, they freeze beautifully and are delicious right out of the freezer.

                                                              1. re: wonderwoman
                                                                j
                                                                just_M Oct 22, 2010 05:59 PM

                                                                Excellent (insert cackle) I shall now have delicious treats at will (bwaahaahaha)
                                                                Alright I'm not very good as an evil treat maker but I am looking forward to filling my freezer and not even thinking (too much) this holiday season :-) M

                                                            2. re: wonderwoman
                                                              chowser Oct 23, 2010 05:01 AM

                                                              I'll have to give this a try! You'd get some nice edges with it, too. Thanks!!

                                                          2. re: chowser
                                                            greygarious Oct 22, 2010 02:44 PM

                                                            When I do Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie mix, I use mini-muffin tins and bake at 325 for 12 minutes, if that helps. They are moist and chewy that way. I don't use liners, just Pam spray in nonstick pans, so I leave them in the pan till almost cool. The mix makes 24. The wells are quite full.

                                                            1. re: greygarious
                                                              j
                                                              just_M Oct 22, 2010 04:40 PM

                                                              Thanks greygarious; I do love my mini muffin tins and these directions will give me the confidence that guestimating never does. I've made that mix before and it is delicious and I think makes about double the Bittman recipe I use (which seems like the halved version of the Nick Malgieri's! Thanks again, its time to play :-) M

                                                              1. re: greygarious
                                                                chowser Oct 23, 2010 05:02 AM

                                                                I like mini-muffin tins, too. It's almost all chewy crust and a perfect bite size. I'm lazy and like the liners so it's not as hard to wash, or remove each brownie.

                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                  greygarious Oct 23, 2010 12:47 PM

                                                                  Don't you think the sides are less crusty when you use liners? With Pam and non-stick tins, the brownies fall right out when the pan is inverted.

                                                                  1. re: greygarious
                                                                    chowser Oct 23, 2010 07:56 PM

                                                                    No, they're still very crusty in the liners, even more so because of the ridges. I'll confess that I don't wash the pans when I use the liners and the cleaning (esp. the Pam gunk that cooks in the oven) also stops me.

                                                        2. re: mebby
                                                          buttertart Oct 22, 2010 11:44 AM

                                                          I'd say either do what chowser advises or make a different recipe.
                                                          I've cut them still warm and they weren't as exciting (in this case, it might have been the chocolate, I was at my MIL's and used her Baker's).
                                                          I believe however roxlet made them and cut them same day and people loved them.

                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                            mebby Oct 22, 2010 11:55 AM

                                                            Great idea, Chowser. And thanks to both you and Buttertart for the advice.

                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                              roxlet Oct 22, 2010 01:26 PM

                                                              I cut them the same day, but I refrigerated them first. They really didn't get eaten until the next day though since my son brought them to school.

                                                          2. j
                                                            just_M Oct 22, 2010 04:54 PM

                                                            I have not tried the Supernatural brownies yet, but they seem very close to the Bittman ones I've been making. One experiment that paid off well was using smooth peanut butter in place of the butter (I have a plethora of one and very little of the other right now). The flavor is not peanut buttery, however it does seem to enhance the chocolate.

                                                            To keep it easy to make I just use a metal bowl, place the butter or pb in the bottom and have the chocolate on hand. I place the metal bowl directly over a very low flame and stir w/ a wooden spoon then add the chocolate just as the (p)butter begins to melt and stir continuously lifting the bowl a bit as needed until all melts (my bowl has never even gotten hot at the rim where I hold it). This all only takes maybe 2 min. Then I add the sugar, etc. so its one bowl and comes together in minutes.

                                                            1. SilverlakeGirl Oct 23, 2010 05:07 AM

                                                              My best, most complimented brownie recipe is from Maida Heatter.

                                                              But I would like to try Malgieri's. Which cookbook is it in?

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                                                h
                                                                HillJ Oct 23, 2010 09:06 AM

                                                                http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes...

                                                                1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                                                  buttertart Oct 23, 2010 05:07 PM

                                                                  My summary of the recipe is in the first post, too.

                                                                  1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                                                    buttertart Oct 23, 2010 05:08 PM

                                                                    Which Maida Heatter?

                                                                    1. re: SilverlakeGirl
                                                                      pikawicca Dec 12, 2010 05:43 PM

                                                                      I agree: Heatter's Palm Beach Brownies are amazing.

                                                                    2. h
                                                                      HillJ Oct 23, 2010 09:09 AM

                                                                      Has anyone tried these? If you enjoy orange & chocolate these are heaven!

                                                                      Grand Marnier Brownie Bites

                                                                      Brownies:
                                                                      5 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
                                                                      1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
                                                                      1 1/4 cups sugar
                                                                      2 teaspoons grated orange peel
                                                                      1 teaspoon vanilla extract
                                                                      1/4 teaspoon salt
                                                                      3 large eggs
                                                                      3/4 cup all purpose flour

                                                                      Topping:
                                                                      1/2 cup whipping cream
                                                                      1 teaspoon grated orange peel
                                                                      5 1/2 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
                                                                      1/4 tsp vanilla extract
                                                                      3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

                                                                      For the brownies:
                                                                      Preheat oven to 325°F. Line 8x8-inch metal baking pan with foil. Melt unsweetened chocolate and unsalted butter in heavy medium saucepan over low heat, stirring until smooth; cool slightly. Whisk sugar, grated orange peel, vanilla extract and salt in a large bowl. Add slightly cooled chocolate to the sugar mixture. Whisk in eggs 1 at a time, then continue whisking until mixture is smooth and velvety. Add flour and whisk just to blend. Transfer batter to prepared metal baking pan.

                                                                      Bake brownies until top is just springy to touch and toothpick inserted into center comes out with moist crumbs attached, about 35 minutes. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes. If necessary, press down on raised brownie edges to level top. Using the foil, lift the brownies out of the pan to a wire rack. Cool completely.

                                                                      For the topping:
                                                                      Bring cream and orange peel to simmer in heavy small saucepan. Remove from heat. Add chocolate and whisk until smooth. Whisk in 1/4 tsp vanilla and Grand Marnier. Refrigerate until thick enough to spread, stirring occasionally, about 45 minutes.

                                                                      Spread topping over brownies. Refrigerate until topping is cold, about 1 hour. Using a hot knife, carefully cut the brownies into squares. Let brownies stand at room temperature 30 minutes before serving.

                                                                      3 Replies
                                                                      1. re: HillJ
                                                                        j
                                                                        just_M Oct 23, 2010 10:33 AM

                                                                        Those sound divine HillJ, they are going on my must make list! After I clean last nights disaster out of the oven :-{

                                                                        1. re: just_M
                                                                          h
                                                                          HillJ Oct 23, 2010 11:47 AM

                                                                          just_M, I've been known to sub almond butter for butter and/oil in many baking recipes and I agree with you-wonderful. The last time was in a banana bread recipe in place of oil and it wound up tasting so much better with the almond butter.

                                                                          1. re: HillJ
                                                                            j
                                                                            just_M Oct 23, 2010 01:22 PM

                                                                            Looks like its time to broaden my pb use, thanks HillJ

                                                                      2. sugarcube Dec 12, 2010 05:21 PM

                                                                        Nick's are delicious, but I also like Alice Medrich's 'Best Cocoa Brownies'. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Best-Cocoa-Brownies-108346 They have a sophisticated depth of chocolate flavour which comes from the use cocoa powder rather than just chocolate. I also like how they straddle the fudgy and cakey realm and sit happily in the middle with a slight chew. Naturally, they will take on a fudgier texture if you put them in the fridge.

                                                                        http://theavidbaker.wordpress.com/

                                                                        1. b
                                                                          burgeoningfoodie Feb 9, 2011 06:31 AM

                                                                          The first non boxed brownie I ever made were Fudge Truffle Brownies care of The Hardy Boys on FN. It is a very rich brownie and definitely on the fudge side (instead of cake). I don't want to call it a rival, but of an addition to the list of competitors. I would have to think that the judging is left to the individual who is tasting.

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

                                                                          1. k
                                                                            kenrbnsn Feb 3, 2012 10:23 PM

                                                                            I just found this discussion ... I've been making these brownies for over 10 years. I first got the recipe in a Kings Cooking class in NJ where Nick was trying out recipes for the Chocolate cookbook. I use a mixture of 60% bittersweet & 100% unsweetened chocolate. I let the brownies rest at least 2 hours (they are better if they rest overnight covered with aluminum foil) before turning them out of the pan and cutting them with a pizza cutter (cut off the edges & save for me, then cut the remaining slab into 32 pieces).

                                                                            When I get invited to pot-luck dinners, I don't get a choice -- it's usually "you are coming and you're bringing your brownies (you can also bring your spicy noodle salad...)".

                                                                            In my oven, I bake them for 45 minutes at 350. I can usually smell when they are done.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. re: kenrbnsn
                                                                              buttertart Feb 4, 2012 07:24 AM

                                                                              You got it. They're the Lamborghini of brownies (as a car-mad friend told me).

                                                                            2. s
                                                                              sandra gluck Mar 22, 2013 03:31 PM

                                                                              These brownies are absolutely the best. Nick also has a variation, for those of us who like nuts in our brownies. I add pecans and chopped dried cherries.

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