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Shall we talk about brownies again? Your favorite recipes and why they are favorites?

buttertart Mar 3, 2011 10:09 AM

Mine is of course Nick Malgieri's Supernaturals as I am sure everyone is sick to death of me going on and on about.
I will concede that even though they (with a tweak or two, the addition of 1 tsp baking powder being the most important) hit my every brownie nerve, they quite possibly don't do it for everybody.
So - hit me with your best shots - no holds barred. I can't promise I'll make all of them but I'll try to.

  1. fldhkybnva Dec 13, 2012 09:53 PM

    I just whipped up a batch of mint brownies with Andes mints and Ghirardelli Double Chocolate Brownie Mix - they were a hit at the office party and I'll be making them again for another holiday party this weekend. The "recipe" called for Andes mixed into the mix as well as melted on top but I thought mixed in was enough minty flavor and skipped the chocolate topping.

    1. a
      angelsmom Oct 5, 2012 04:23 AM

      Do yo weigh your flour for theses brownies? I made last weekend to take to a party and they were very very wet.....almost had to eat with spoon. I cooked them on convection and removed when shiny and cracked. Any ideas?

      1 Reply
      1. re: angelsmom
        chowser Oct 6, 2012 04:07 PM

        I'd guess undercooked.

      2. HillJ Oct 4, 2012 07:29 PM


        As I shared earlier today, this recipe. A delicious, easy to fix brownie with all the right moves.

        2 Replies
        1. re: HillJ
          rstuart Oct 14, 2012 08:22 AM

          Yum.. I have made these, and they were very popular. The salty-sweet combo is magic!

          1. re: rstuart
            HillJ Oct 14, 2012 09:17 AM

            Glad you enjoyed them, rstaurt. My daughter made a batch a few weeks ago and used chocolate covered pretzels. The top was a bit gooey but the kids in her neighborhood loved them.

        2. i_eat_a_lot_of_ice_cream Oct 4, 2012 07:05 PM

          I bought cocoa nibs, and, not knowing what to do with them, I happened upon this amazing brownie recipe. They are so rich that I cut them in squares that are less than a square inch. Gooey, very dark and bittersweet, fudgy, dense, these are grown up brownies. I love the varying textures of the brownie base, the chocolate chunks (I use the Ghiradelli disks), and the nibs.


          1. buttertart Mar 28, 2012 02:35 PM

            Lest you think I'm a big ole stick in the mud, I now have a second favorite -- the Pam Anderson on e from "150 Best American Recipes". I believe the recipe is on the thread discussing baked goods from the book. Awfully darn tasty! But my heart still belongs to Nick.

            2 Replies
            1. re: buttertart
              royceag Mar 28, 2012 04:05 PM

              Hilarious! I, of course thought this was a brownie named for or by Pamela Anderson- like in the shape of giant boobs... Well, now I know better. I shall delve into this recipe further, THANK YOU! I'm still giggling though.

              1. re: royceag
                buttertart Mar 28, 2012 07:00 PM

                No! the cooking Pam! not the boobs Pam. ;-)

            2. r
              royceag Mar 28, 2012 11:32 AM

              Hi All, I'm new here and only a year late to this discussion but, I thought I'd share my findings on the brownie subject. I just conducted a taste test of 3 mentioned recipes: Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies, Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies & NY Times' Man-Catcher Brownies. All were made with Trader Joe's 54% dark Belgian chocolate and/or Ghirardelli's unsweetened cocoa (as sub for unsweetened chocolate(+ butter) in IG's & as called for in MC). Also, I added 1 tablespoon Meglio d'Oro instant espresso to both MC & NM's; IG's calls for it. Walnuts were used in all recipes and the extra chips were omitted in IG's because they're rich enough! All were wrapped and chilled overnight then brought to room temp for testing. The panel was comprised of 9 women & 1 man with 4 votes for Outrageous, 4 votes for Supernaturals & 2 votes for Man-Catcher. Most preferred the look of IG"s for the dark, richness - they also had the most depth of flavor & coffee kick (they call for more). IMO, they are really intense & super-rich. If you want a seriously decadent treat, these are for you. The NM's had that beautiful fine crackly sheen to the top which made them almost 2-toned from the side. These are pretty wonderful; just a perfect all-around crowd pleaser. They're plenty rich, just not quite to the level of Outrageous. The Man-Catchers were super sweet & fudgier than the other 2 cakier versions. Oh, and the man didn't pick these- just too sweet & a bit dry, he said. I saw 1 woman quietly spit her bite out into a napkin- eek. I agree, I wouldn't make these again but, in their defense, I may have baked them a minute too long, maybe... I still have to try Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc Brownies, David Lebovitz's Robert's Best Brownies & Dorie's French Brownies. Next time- I'm all brownied out! Thanks for all of your fabulous input and the sublime recipes!!

              1. greygarious Jan 11, 2012 07:14 PM

                I just looked in on a baking blog and noticed these intriguing, lovely Nutella/Chevre brownies that were posted a month ago. The recipe appeals to me but I think the heart shape really makes them special.

                1. chowser Aug 24, 2011 11:03 AM

                  So what's your verdict so far? Are you still a tried and true NM fan?

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: chowser
                    buttertart Aug 24, 2011 11:06 AM

                    When all is said and done, yes.

                  2. bushwickgirl Jul 25, 2011 09:04 AM

                    Just found this recipe, from www.cakespy.com - very rich, makes a 9 x 13 pan, and contains pine nuts and ancho chili powder. I haven't tried them, as It's too damn hot to bake here, but will soon:

                    Ancho Pine Nut Brownies
                    • 1 pound semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
                    My note: I'd use 54% cacao or more bittersweet chocolate.
                    • 1 pound unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
                    • 7 eggs (the original recipe calls for 8!
                    )• 3 cups granulated sugar
                    • 2 cups all-purpose flour
                    • 1 1/2 tablespoons ancho chile powder
                    • 1/2 cup good quality semisweet chocolate morsels
                    • 1 1/2 cup toasted pine nuts or Pinon nuts.

                    My note: I bet toasted pecan pieces would be a good substitute for pine nuts.

                    1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
                    2. In the top pan of a double boiler, combine the chocolate and butter. Place over barely simmering water in the bottom pan and heat, stirring occasionally, until the chocolate and butter have melted and are combined.
                    3. Remove from heat. In a bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until thick and smooth. Slowly pour into the chocolate mixture, stirring constantly.
                    4. Stir in the flour, ancho chile powder, chocolate morsels and pine nuts.
                    5. Pour evenly into the prepared baking pan. Place in the oven and bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out mostly clean (crumbs clinging.)
                    6. Remove from the oven and let cool completely. Cut into squares to serve. If desired (do it!) serve with ice cream.

                    My note: These would be nice drizzled with caramel or caramel-orange sauce as well.

                    See brownie photo and credit to the blog that developed the original recipe, scroll to bottom of page: http://www.cakespy.com/blog/month/jul...

                    1. j
                      JaneEYB Jul 25, 2011 08:15 AM

                      I recently wanted a "more special" brownie (though supernatural brownies are still special to me). I made Ultimate turtle brownies from Cook's Illustrated 2006 Annual (May/June magazine) though like all CI recipes it turns up in lots of different books. The instructions for the caramel were very good and the results were perfect. Though the brownies should be served cold from the fridge as the caramel runs off the top in heat. The brownie was quite dense, almost fudge like, which I like. The combination of chocolate, pecans and caramel made this very special.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: JaneEYB
                        buttertart Jul 25, 2011 08:41 AM

                        For special read lethal, that is one pan I could not walk away from. Make the caramel a bit salty amd uh oh!

                        1. re: buttertart
                          jvanderh Jul 25, 2011 12:24 PM

                          That sounds unbelievable

                      2. kathleen221 Jul 22, 2011 09:16 PM

                        My go-to brownie recipe is King Arthur Flour's fudgy brownies, to which I add a little espresso powder (and sometimes replace half the cocoa powder with KAFs black cocoa). Exactly what I want in a brownie, and easy enough that my 8 year old has been making them.

                        I also like the supernaturals, though I've only made them once. And I must have missed the instruction to leave them alone for a day, because they definitely didn't last that long.

                        Today I tried a recipe from an issue of Cook's Illustrated, but I didn't care for it. It had an odd aftertaste. It may be the kind of chocolate I used (Hershey's unsweetened; it's what I had on hand). The KAF recipe uses cocoa powder.

                        1. BananaBirkLarsen Jul 22, 2011 06:13 PM

                          I used to make the Money Back Guarantee Brownies from Nuts About Chocolate (Susan Mendelson and Deborah Roitberg), but haven't made them in years. They were perfect with chopped dark chocolate and walnuts. I never iced them, as the recipe suggested (although the incredible chocolate icing recipe is my go-to chocolate icing).

                          I think that cookbook's been out of print for some time though.

                          15 Replies
                          1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                            rstuart Jul 22, 2011 08:12 PM

                            My mother had all of their cookbooks.. bet it's still in her basement. I actually remember her making those, and I would get miffed because they had walnuts, which i thought was a waste of perfectly good chocolate...

                            1. re: rstuart
                              BananaBirkLarsen Jul 23, 2011 12:05 PM

                              Fortunately, walnuts are fairly easy to leave out when you're making these yourself!

                              I would love to get a copy of this book. My parents have the only one I've ever seen and I checked online at some point and found out it was out of print (although I believe its sequel is not).

                              1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                rstuart Jul 23, 2011 02:57 PM

                                Yes, one of my favorite things about baking is that I can always leave the nuts out in whatever I want!
                                I don't think that I've ever seen any of those cookbooks in used bookstores, which is surprising, since I think everyone in Canada had it in the 80s! Probably on ABE books...

                                1. re: rstuart
                                  BananaBirkLarsen Jul 23, 2011 03:38 PM

                                  Ah yes. I just did a search on ABE books and found 21 results. Several cost less than $5 with shipping included.


                                  I just might have to pick myself up a copy.

                                  1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                    buttertart Jul 23, 2011 03:40 PM

                                    Uh oh...Canadian, eh? Must get.

                                    1. re: buttertart
                                      BananaBirkLarsen Jul 23, 2011 03:44 PM

                                      Honestly, it's worth it just for the Incredible Chocolate Icing. I could eat that stuff with a spoon.

                                      UPDATE: I just placed my order! Chocolate icing, here I come!

                                      1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                        buttertart Jul 23, 2011 03:53 PM

                                        Great, I just ordered it! A woman with no impulse control, that's me.

                                        1. re: buttertart
                                          BananaBirkLarsen Jul 23, 2011 03:57 PM

                                          Yup. No impulse control. That makes two of us.

                                          1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                            rstuart Jul 25, 2011 06:58 AM

                                            It's a classic.. I have many memories of my mother cooking out of both that and "Mama Never Cooked like this", and "More Nuts about Chocolate". I think that I made one of my first solo cakes (chocolate with white chocolate icing?) out it...

                                            1. re: rstuart
                                              BananaBirkLarsen Jul 25, 2011 12:01 PM

                                              I just got an email confirmation -- the book was shipped today!

                                              And yes, it was a classic in my family as well. Both of my parents used it, but my dad in particular brought it out every April, which was birthday month in our family.

                                              1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                                BananaBirkLarsen Jul 27, 2011 08:45 PM

                                                Just wanted to add that I got my Nuts About Chocolate today and it's in near perfect condition all for the low low price of $4.67!

                                                I shall have to find something nice and cold and chocolaty to make while it's still hundreds of degrees outside.

                                                1. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                                                  rstuart Jul 28, 2011 08:37 AM

                                                  Enjoy it! Finally raining here, so I did some baking in (relative) comfort last night.

                            2. re: BananaBirkLarsen
                              buttertart Aug 24, 2011 06:44 AM

                              I received this book a few days back - very nice recipes, and the authors must rue the day that the cover photo was shot...if you want a real blast from the 1980's, their togs and hairstyles will surely do the trick!

                              1. re: buttertart
                                rstuart Aug 24, 2011 07:55 AM

                                Ha! yes... the giant perms are very much of the time.. sure my mother had one too..

                                1. re: buttertart
                                  BananaBirkLarsen Aug 24, 2011 11:15 AM

                                  Yes! That was my first reaction when I got the book in the mail too. I hadn't looked at the cover for years.

                              2. jmckee May 13, 2011 07:41 AM

                                Chocolate Apricot Brownies from Camille Glenn's "The Heritage of Southern Cooking." A straightforward, moist, delicious brownie with the added deliciousness of slivers of glazed apricots.

                                3 Replies
                                1. re: jmckee
                                  buttertart May 13, 2011 08:52 AM

                                  That sounds super.

                                  1. re: jmckee
                                    cyclecat May 13, 2011 09:04 AM

                                    Can you post a link? I couldn't find it using the normal search words (camille glenn brownies apricot)

                                    1. re: cyclecat
                                      jmckee May 16, 2011 09:38 AM

                                      as near as I can tell it's only available in her book, Heritage of Southern Cooking.

                                  2. c
                                    cyclecat May 13, 2011 06:56 AM

                                    Oh, sorry. AND I forgot to mention: NM's seemed almost TOO sweet. I've seen the flour/sugar ratio anywhere between 1:2 and 1:1. His is 1:2, an awful lot considering he doesn't call for unsweetened chocolate. Is there a consensus among the brownie aficionados here as to what the optimal ratio should be? Knowing in advance that the cacao content of the chocolate will affect this somewhat...

                                    6 Replies
                                    1. re: cyclecat
                                      lilgi May 13, 2011 08:06 AM

                                      Cycle, one of the instructions for NM brownies is to let them sit for a day or so before trying, but for us it made no difference and we were able to taste them either way (we had a lot left over after the first day and we had waited about 8 hours before trying the first time). We felt the same way you do about the flavor, and many have said that it's very much "light chocolate/caramel pudding", but again there are people that enjoy this.

                                      If you do get around to trying my tweaked recipe please report back, would love to hear what you think either way, and If those aren't for you, there's also the brownies from "Baked" that have become very popular.

                                      1. re: lilgi
                                        cyclecat May 13, 2011 08:22 AM

                                        Yep, lilgi, I did try that (after sneaking just a little corner while they were still warm "for scientific comparison purposes." I found them to be much better the next day (and the day after that), but still not so good that I felt possessive. I ended up parting with half the batch for an after-concert reception at my son's high school.
                                        I also found it interesting that NM's brownies didn't have the intensity of chocolate flavor that I was expecting. I noticed your recipe is basically 75% of the main ingredients in his, with the exceptions being half the flour and half the sugar, which to my mind is a step in the right direction. What would happen if I added a titch of baking powder? Is that verboten? I'm still on the fence about whether i should remake Ina's, or try yours. Either way, both will probably be made within the week, in between bike rides to attempt to undo some of the damage to my thighs...

                                        1. re: cyclecat
                                          lilgi May 13, 2011 08:33 AM

                                          You don't need baking powder for brownies and shouldn't have to use it, but it was recommended as a way of fixing a brownie. If you like Nick's and want to stay with it try it, but I felt at this point that his recipe was not for me.

                                          1. re: cyclecat
                                            lilgi May 13, 2011 10:28 AM

                                            Please do let me know if you try mine since we felt the same about NM's. I think what you'll enjoy the most is the texture, it's great stuff. Again, brownie experiences are different for everyone but the recipe was worth sharing since there are those that don't like NM's and because I had so much success with mine. So you can use me as a guide. The only thing that I didn't change at all with Dorie's is her technique.

                                            1. re: lilgi
                                              cyclecat May 13, 2011 03:28 PM

                                              Well, lilgi and chowser, I think I'm gonna go back to Ina's recipe and do a couple tweaks, for a few reasons: lowest sugar to other ingredients ratio, lower egg to other ingredients ratio, and inclusion of instant coffee/espresso powder. I think that adds a depth of flavor, and I'm aware that I could add it to either of the other recipes. The one change I think I'm gonna make with Ina's is to omit the unmelted chokky chips. I have actually quartered the recipe in the past, I assume with success as i do recall making it several times. But really, a half-sheet pan full?!?! Bad news.
                                              Will be interesting to see (taste) whether I still like them as much as I think I did before. And will DEF try the tweaked Dorie recipe after that...
                                              I'm with you on the NM tweaks, chowser. Too many other yummy-sounding recipes to try (or try again!) first.

                                              1. re: cyclecat
                                                chowser May 13, 2011 04:40 PM

                                                I've wanted to try IG's brownies but the half sheet pan is just too big. I guess I should cut it down but right now, I'm loving TK's ad hoc ones.

                                      2. c
                                        cyclecat May 13, 2011 06:51 AM

                                        Okay, my turn to chime in. Finally got around to trying the NM recipe. It was good but I don't think I was bowled over by it like I was the IG one. I don't even look at calorie/fat/choc content; what's the point? Unfortunately it's been years since I made Ina's recipe, so now I've got to go and make it again to see whether I indeed preferred it. Or perhaps I should try lilgi's tweak of the NYT one? Aack. So many brownie recipes, so little time.
                                        <plus i must confess to enjoying them while still warm is that bad??>
                                        And that bold-print caveat about Nick's gave me pause. But I also don't like those rock-hard chokky chips when they're cooled, and I think that gave Ina's a minus. And Nick's had an almost eggy flavor b/c of all the eggs. Would baking powder help? Lower egg to rest of ingredient ratio? Help!!

                                        10 Replies
                                        1. re: cyclecat
                                          buttertart May 13, 2011 08:51 AM

                                          What chocolate did you use?

                                          1. re: buttertart
                                            cyclecat May 13, 2011 09:05 AM

                                            TJ's 72% Belgian and Ghirardelli 72%, about 25/75.

                                            1. re: cyclecat
                                              buttertart May 13, 2011 09:34 AM

                                              TJs is what I usually use, diff strokes for diff folks.

                                            2. re: buttertart
                                              lilgi May 13, 2011 09:11 AM

                                              I made NM's with extra bittersweet callebut that I usually order. When I made Dorie's the first time I had to use the bittersweet Callebut callets at Fairway since I'd run out. It was then that I had to double check the cacao content, the callets are much weaker.

                                              I've used Dolfin a few times (ghg recommended, luv it) but it's a bit pricey.

                                              1. re: lilgi
                                                goodhealthgourmet May 17, 2011 08:53 PM

                                                ooh, you tried the Dolfin? glad you like it :) where'd you buy it?

                                                1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                  lilgi May 17, 2011 11:36 PM

                                                  Fairway, I have a lil bit left over that I'm saving, deelish! You take such good care of me :)

                                                  1. re: lilgi
                                                    goodhealthgourmet May 18, 2011 01:27 PM

                                                    gotta look out for my girls :) oh how i wish we had Fairway here! i finally had to cave last week and go to Whole Wallet for the first time since they "downsized" me 8 months ago. it was traumatic.

                                            3. re: cyclecat
                                              chowser May 13, 2011 09:53 AM

                                              If you like the IG ones but not the chocolate chips, chop your own chocolate. It makes a huge melt in your mouth difference in baked goods. I'll never use chocolate chips in in brownies again. If you don't like NM's eggy texture, I wouldn't bother playing with it to get what you're looking for--there are enough brownie recipes and I'd spend the time tweaking what you like.

                                              1. re: chowser
                                                cyclecat May 13, 2011 03:33 PM

                                                Hmmmm....OR maybe I will add some chopped chocolate to IG's...

                                              2. re: cyclecat
                                                chowser May 13, 2011 02:10 PM

                                                I make the NM ones on occasion because they're so easy. I just whipped up a batch and I agree w/ you about them. I like the texture but don't find them intensely chocolate. My recent go-to (it changes frequently) has been Thomas Keller's ad hoc at home--wonderfully chocolately, melt in your mouth but not really a chewy brownie as most would want. I think texturally the NM brownies are close to some boxes (though not in flavor).

                                              3. e
                                                exotec Apr 28, 2011 10:42 PM

                                                I'm a total pushover for the brownie edges and corners. ;-P
                                                This isn't about a recipe ... but have any of you tried that strange-looking baking pan, maybe called "All Edges" or some such ... the batter goes in a river-like thingy. Looks interesting.


                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: exotec
                                                  chowser Apr 29, 2011 03:49 AM

                                                  Make them in mini muffin tins and you have more edge than center.

                                                  1. re: exotec
                                                    goodhealthgourmet May 17, 2011 08:51 PM

                                                    it's called Baker's Edge.

                                                  2. buttertart Apr 28, 2011 10:51 AM

                                                    These look awfully interesting...the website too...

                                                    3 Replies
                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                      chowser Apr 28, 2011 11:12 AM

                                                      That might be the solution to my "meh" feeling towards brownies--less overwhelming fudginess. I do like Dorie Greenspan's chipster brownies.


                                                      Or, I could combine the two, have shortbread topped with brownie topped with chocolate chip cookie....

                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                        buttertart Apr 28, 2011 11:41 AM

                                                        That's the spirit! The great Maida Heatter has a nice one on an oatmeal base in her "Brand-New Book of Great Cookies" that came out in the 1990s. Hey looky looky, on MH:



                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                          chowser Apr 28, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                          Wow, too many mouth watering desserts on that site. I got down to the polka dot cheesecake and was hooked. Palm beach brownies with chocolate covered mint... That was just the beginning.

                                                    2. maplesugar Apr 28, 2011 10:28 AM

                                                      I haven't tried the Supernatural Brownies yet. My go-to brownie is still the recipe on the back of the Fry's Cocoa container (the Canadians around here will know Fry's) It produces a consistently dense fudgey brownie with a nice crust and unlike other recipes I've tried doesn't rise high on the sides and sink (I like edges but I don't like HUGE edges). The blondie recipe uses much the same method and it's from an old Better Homes & Gardens Baking book.

                                                      I just made these brownies and blondies this morning (for that bake sale I mentioned yesterday).

                                                      2 Replies
                                                      1. re: maplesugar
                                                        buttertart Apr 28, 2011 10:44 AM

                                                        Is that it?
                                                        This fellow even if living away Canadian wants to know...

                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                          maplesugar Apr 28, 2011 12:36 PM

                                                          That's the one. Skipped the nuts today because I was taking it in to the school. :)

                                                      2. buttertart Apr 28, 2011 08:48 AM

                                                        For your consideration...

                                                        1. biondanonima Apr 28, 2011 08:43 AM

                                                          Love this thread. I'm particularly looking forward to trying the Supernaturals and the Ina Garten recipe, as I'm firmly in the fudgy camp when it comes to brownies. I actually have a question for any of you who live in NYC or might have been here, though - Bliss Spa serves some KILLER brownies in their relaxation room and I was wondering if anyone had tried them or knew of a copycat/similar recipe. They don't look like much - in fact, I remember thinking they looked dry and not worth eating, but they simply melt in your mouth. They cut them into tiny squares about the size of a Yahtzee die, probably to make you think you're not really eating a whole brownie even if you eat 20 of them. Amazing! Let me know if you have any ideas...

                                                          5 Replies
                                                          1. re: biondanonima
                                                            chowser Apr 28, 2011 08:46 AM

                                                            I think the Ad Hoc at Home brownies sound like that.


                                                            The chopped chocolate adds a lot more than I'd think in their melting in your mouth (which I used instead of chips).

                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                              biondanonima Apr 28, 2011 09:27 AM

                                                              Hm, the photo on that link looks somewhat similar to what I remember, but the Bliss ones definitely didn't have any chunks of chopped chocolate. Still, worth a try. I have AHAH so perhaps this weekend I'll give it a go!

                                                              1. re: biondanonima
                                                                chowser Apr 28, 2011 09:34 AM

                                                                When I pulled them out of the oven, I was disappointed because I thought they looked dry. I've been looking for a picture of bliss spa brownies and have found quite a few but none from the NYC one. BTW, I chopped the chocolate into fairly small pieces so you couldn't see it but could feel the chocolate melt in my mouth. I don't think, as buttertart said above about chocolate chips, that I would have liked them nearly as much w/ chocolate chips.

                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                  biondanonima Feb 12, 2012 07:03 PM

                                                                  I finally made the Ad Hoc Brownies tonight - they're amazing, but I think the Robert's Absolute Best Brownies are closer to the Bliss Spa recipe. The Ad Hocs are more similar to a box mix brownie, just 10000x better. Both are terrific, though - definitely my top two brownie recipes thus far. I'll definitely never make the Supernaturals again!

                                                            2. re: biondanonima
                                                              buttertart Apr 28, 2011 08:47 AM

                                                              Fiendishly clever cutting them so small...but sorry, I haven't been there!

                                                            3. CapreseStacy Apr 1, 2011 08:56 PM

                                                              Apologies in advance for the potential "eww" factor here. My 19 YO stepson has been quite proud of his "awesome brownie creation," which he has now made for his college roomies at least twice (and, no, to my knowledge, there are no additional "herbal" ingredients): He takes a regular brownie batter, which I'm guessing is a boxed mix, and layers it with chocolate bunnies from supermarket Easter candy purchases and spoonful dollops of peanut butter. The superchunk Easter Bunny brownies are a big hit with his "peeps" (Easter candy pun intended).

                                                              1 Reply
                                                              1. re: CapreseStacy
                                                                buttertart Apr 3, 2011 07:55 AM

                                                                There is no "eww" in brownie! ;-)

                                                              2. j
                                                                JaneEYB Mar 31, 2011 04:40 PM

                                                                buttertart - you'll be pleased to know that for my son's 18th birthday yesterday he rejected a cake and only wanted Supernatural brownies. And very delicious they are too.

                                                                1 Reply
                                                                1. re: JaneEYB
                                                                  buttertart Apr 1, 2011 02:56 PM

                                                                  You obviously raised that boy right. Fun to hear. Happy belated birthday to him!

                                                                2. f
                                                                  flibbertygibbet Mar 18, 2011 09:40 AM

                                                                  Nigella Lawson's from How to be Domestic Goddess. Makes a HUGE quantity of delicious fudgey, melty, chocolatey rich brownies that generally make people look at you as though you are some sort of demi-god when they taste for the first time. Seriously.

                                                                  Once made this to take to a party, but with the minor addition of a layer of dulce de leche AND a layer of nutella on top (I was like 15, ok?!). One friend managed to snaffle nearly the entire tray and, after drinking copious amounts of alcohol, vomited the whole thing up onto the doormat. It didn't even put me off them.

                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                  1. re: flibbertygibbet
                                                                    rstuart Jul 22, 2011 01:49 PM

                                                                    Those have been my go-to brownies for the last decade as well.. omitting the nuts, of course (I'm a confirmed nut hater in brownies..)

                                                                  2. goodhealthgourmet Mar 17, 2011 10:58 AM

                                                                    perhaps another contender to add to the list...? from Recchiutti Confections in SF, published in today's LA Times:


                                                                    2 Replies
                                                                    1. re: goodhealthgourmet
                                                                      buttertart Mar 17, 2011 11:11 AM

                                                                      Why do they have to spoil a recipe with calorie content? ;-)
                                                                      Thise look really rather good.

                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                        goodhealthgourmet Mar 17, 2011 12:58 PM

                                                                        maybe they should insert a "Spoiler Alert" above the nutrition info ;) you all know that i'm not really one for the really rich, ultra-decadent desserts, but these even sound good to me! probably because they fall on the bitter end of the chocolate spectrum...

                                                                    2. lilgi Mar 8, 2011 10:33 AM

                                                                      Chose this recipe to work with.

                                                                      The flavor was not delicious, the percentage of cacao in my chocolate too low, and still not sure if it is 60% or 66% cacao (Callebaut's bittersweet callets is what I had). I'll be looking closely at some other chocolates, maybe tweaking with some unsweetened in the mix, and possibly instant espresso.

                                                                      The building blocks for the texture were all there, much more than ideal for us, we loved it. It seems a contradiction for a brownie to be dense and light at the same time, but that's how I would describe these. These have a lighter chocolate flavor for those that prefer that, but I'll be intensifying a little bit. They are also a scant 1" thick which we like. Baked perfectly for 50 minutes only.

                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                      1. re: lilgi
                                                                        lilgi Apr 28, 2011 12:32 AM

                                                                        My best brownies, have made them several times already. For us and everyone I've had the pleasure of sharing with, these have been a winner. Same recipe as Dorie's French Chocolate Brownies linked above, with the following adjustments:

                                                                        [6 ounces bittersweet chocolate (this time using 72%, could probably go even heavier), doubled the salt (1/8 tsp to 1/4), doubled the vanilla (1/2 teaspoon to 1), and changed the sugar to 3/4 cup white and adding 1/4 cup dark brown sugar.]

                                                                        1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces, plus 1 teaspoon melted butter for brushing pan
                                                                        1/2 cup all-purpose flour
                                                                        1/4 teaspoon fine salt
                                                                        6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, in pieces
                                                                        3 eggs
                                                                        3/4 cup sugar
                                                                        1/4 cup dark brown sugar, firmly packed
                                                                        1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                                                                        They're baked in an 8x8-inch square pan with the eggs and sugar whirled in a mixer before adding the melted chocolate and flour. Baked at 300 degrees for not more than 50 minutes (recipe says 50 to 60), lower bottom oven.

                                                                        The subtle changes made a huge difference. For us, the brownie thang is ovah!

                                                                        1. re: lilgi
                                                                          buttertart Apr 28, 2011 05:49 AM

                                                                          This does sound good. Thanks.

                                                                      2. m
                                                                        MmePatissiere Mar 7, 2011 07:49 PM

                                                                        The finest brownies I've ever made are from two recipes: Grand Marnier Brownies from the Godiva Chocolate website recipe files, http://www.godiva.com/recipes/recipe...., and the Polka Dot Cake Studio's "Better than Brad Pitt Brownies". They're both ultra fudgy--actually, I tweak the BTBP brownies by baking them 5 minutes longer than the recipe requests, but they're still phenomenal--and with a chocolate/butter/golden syrup glaze, either of the recipes is my standard go-to, with Godiva having the edge (I adore chocolate and orange). Somehow the Godiva recipe turns out a brownie with both a perfect texture and grown-up chocolate flavor without being overly sweet, even with the glaze. 72% chocolate, however, is imperative here, for both recipes.

                                                                        I've made the Supernatural Brownies, and they are also superb; they're my third recipe choice. While I know it's a character flaw on my part, they don't quite shoot to the top for me, as the other recipes do--but they're still one of the only three brownies I'll ever bake again.

                                                                        8 Replies
                                                                        1. re: MmePatissiere
                                                                          lilgi Mar 7, 2011 09:33 PM

                                                                          Character flaw? Finally, now I know why we're living under the stairs and only coming out when it's dark.

                                                                          1. re: lilgi
                                                                            buttertart Mar 8, 2011 05:10 AM

                                                                            No character flaws whatsoever inferred, I just like the NMs best of all the brownies I've made in about 40 years (gasp) of baking.
                                                                            The Godiva sounds great, I love chocolate and orange too.

                                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                                              lilgi Mar 8, 2011 06:37 AM

                                                                              Scary isn't it? NM brownie does have a large number of followers, but it doesn't represent the entire population of brownie eaters by any stretch. I'd say the deal breakers for many are

                                                                              a) texture
                                                                              b) brown sugar (yes, lots of us like brown sugar but don't want to be overwhelmed by it in a brownie, and some of us don't like it at all)
                                                                              c) light chocolate vs. dark or rich chocolate flavor
                                                                              d) sweetness

                                                                              and then you have those that want to define a brownie; well, that's dangerous territory.

                                                                              1. re: lilgi
                                                                                chowser Mar 8, 2011 12:03 PM

                                                                                You mean like, why isn't the Texas sheet cake a brownie? It's a pretty close call.;-)

                                                                                The thing about brownies is that there are different types and different textures. It's like finding the perfect cookie--there isn't one.

                                                                          2. re: MmePatissiere
                                                                            JaneEYB Mar 8, 2011 05:57 AM

                                                                            Thanks for the link to the Godiva brownie - now printed out. Do you use the Godiva callets or do you find any good chocolate works well? For special occasions I use Valrhona 70% guanaja but if it's just baking for teenagers I use Ghirardelli 62% chips.

                                                                            I found the BTBP brownies on a blogger's site - she had reproduced it from Chocolatier magazine. Could you please take a look and confirm it is the same as the recipe you use? http://valeriepondering.blogspot.com/...

                                                                            I'm looking forward to testing these out.

                                                                            1. re: JaneEYB
                                                                              buttertart Mar 8, 2011 07:19 AM

                                                                              That is a very nice recipe (the Godiva) - would be good to know how much that measure of the callets weighs...

                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                JaneEYB Mar 14, 2011 11:19 AM

                                                                                I made the Godiva brownies this weekend and thought they were really good. Because of the expensive chocolate (I used Valrhona 70%) and the orange flavor they won't end up as my regular brownie but for special occasions, they are, well, special. They had a good texture, fudgy but not too heavy. I baked them for the lower end of the baking time, 25 mins. Also a great flavor, no doubt helped by the quality of chocolate. I didn't add the walnuts.

                                                                                Like buttertart, I would like to know, MmePatissiere, what 2.25 cups of Godiva callets weigh. I had to estimate with my chopped Valrhona chocolate.

                                                                                1. re: JaneEYB
                                                                                  buttertart Mar 14, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                                  A little on the Terry's Chocolate Orange side?
                                                                                  http://www.godiva.com/product/dark-me... chocolate callets
                                                                                  Wonder if the recipe is written for one 8-oz bag.
                                                                                  Mme Patissiere, could you please let us know how much they weigh? With your expertise I'm sure you have a scale.

                                                                          3. j
                                                                            JaneEYB Mar 7, 2011 12:28 PM

                                                                            My number one brownie is NM's Supernatural brownies (thanks Buttertart!). But they are only getting half the oven time as my daughter prefers the Essential NYT Cookbook brownies. They are really quick to make, have a good fudgy texture, and a lovely shiny crackled top. Only 1 stick of butter and 4oz of chocolate for those concerned about those things.

                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                            1. re: JaneEYB
                                                                              buttertart Mar 7, 2011 12:41 PM

                                                                              Same proportions choc and butter as the NM brownies except doubled and that his make a 13x9 - NYT a 9" or 8"?

                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                JaneEYB Mar 7, 2011 06:34 PM

                                                                                8" square pan and now I check the ingredients NM's is identical and exactly double the NYT recipe except that NM's has 1 cup brown and 1 cup white sugar and the NYT is all white sugar. The method is identical though NM's cooks for 10 minutes longer, being in a bigger pan. The NYT recipe was originally in the NYT in 1943.

                                                                                I think I'm now going to have to make a batch of each (some time when I have a lot of teenagers in the house) and compare them side by side. No wonder I like both recipes since they are almost the same. The volume of a 13x9 pan is slightly less than an 8x8 pan doubled so the NM brownies will be very slightly deeper.

                                                                                1. re: JaneEYB
                                                                                  buttertart Mar 8, 2011 05:08 AM

                                                                                  Agree with you on all points, will be interesting to hear results. I haven't liked NM's as much when I've made them with all white sugar.

                                                                            2. h
                                                                              hungry_united Mar 7, 2011 10:03 AM

                                                                              My favorite brownie recipe is Alice Medrich's cocoa brownie recipe:
                                                                              I use an organic, Dutch-processed cocoa (Equal Exchange) and forgo the nuts. I melt the butter in the microwave to save time, and double the recipe to fill a 13 x 9 inch pan (lined with parchment). If you have all the ingredients, it's almost as fast as making brownies from a box mix. They are especially delicious when stored in the fridge or freezer... super chewy with a dark chocolatey taste!

                                                                              1 Reply
                                                                              1. re: hungry_united
                                                                                audreyhtx1 May 13, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                                Same here! My husband tried these and they were FANTASTIC! Very rich - like half a brownie square is plenty. We always add walnuts - love walnuts with dark chocolate. I don't think we are going to bother looking for another brownie recipe - we're set!

                                                                              2. LoBrauHouseFrau Mar 7, 2011 09:54 AM

                                                                                I like my brownies very fudgy, no nuts. My go to brownie recipe is Alton Brown's Cocoa Brownies.

                                                                                I made them Sunday using Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder, and I left out the two teaspoons of vanilla, using espresso instead.. brownie bliss. SO so good.

                                                                                1. buttertart Mar 7, 2011 05:46 AM

                                                                                  Here are the Maida Heatter "Book of Great Cookies" cheesecake brownies that were left (of a whole pan) at 4 pm in my office last Friday. These are excellent (but of course not a straight-ahead unembellished brownie, which is what this is more or less about). I used 72% chocolate and the brownie part was a bit stiff to marble - the recipe was written before most people knew about percentages of cocoa mass and high percentage chocolates were not widely marketed if at all.

                                                                                  3 Replies
                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                    foiegras Dec 13, 2012 04:15 PM

                                                                                    Kind of amazed that the first mention of Maida is this far downthread. Maida knows chocolate, but I kinda think her South Beach cannot be beaten. Just recommended the recipe to someone wanting to make brownies today.

                                                                                    1. re: foiegras
                                                                                      buttertart Dec 13, 2012 05:12 PM

                                                                                      Maida is one of my goddesses.

                                                                                      1. re: foiegras
                                                                                        foiegras Dec 13, 2012 08:27 PM

                                                                                        Just wanted to note, they are Palm Beach brownies ... it's biscotti that's named for South Beach. What do brownies have to do with beaches anyway? :) I also cut back on the espresso powder, and generally use pecans instead of walnuts.

                                                                                    2. rockability Mar 6, 2011 05:00 AM

                                                                                      I just made some brownies yesterday and was so thrilled with the end result. The recipe came from a little cookbook sent to me by my mother that is basically just a collection of local Hawaiian dishes from her local community.

                                                                                      The brownie recipe was Peanut Butter Fudge Brownies. Ridiculously easy to do and they turned out perfectly crunchy on the edges and chewy in the middle without too much of a peanut butter taste (not a big fan of PB but even I loved these). If anyone wants the recipe I'll type it up.

                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                      1. re: rockability
                                                                                        rstuart Jul 22, 2011 01:52 PM

                                                                                        I'm always up for more peanut butter brownie recipes if you're still up for typing them up!

                                                                                      2. greygarious Mar 5, 2011 05:33 PM

                                                                                        I've never tried the supernatural brownies because if there is something better than Ghirardelli's DARK brownie mix adding walnuts and using virgin coconut oil rather than oil or butter, I don't want to know. Chocolate is normally my last choice for dessert at restaurants and I don't keep it on hand for baking. But these are wondrous.

                                                                                        Regardless of recipe, if you like crispy edges and soft interiors and don't want to buy the spendy edge pan, use mini-muffin tins. Two of these (the inexpensive gray nonsticks sold in supermarkets) make 24 pieces from a boxed mix. I spray with Pam to be on the safe side, bake them at 325 for 15 minutes and let them cool almost completely before turning them out.
                                                                                        They come right out; possibly the Pam is superfluous but I have not tried without it. I use these pans for blondies and Congo bars too. Using a spring-loaded ice cream scoop makes filling them neat and fast.

                                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                                        1. re: greygarious
                                                                                          buttertart Mar 7, 2011 05:27 AM

                                                                                          I must do that some time, have the mini-muffin pans.

                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                            greygarious Mar 7, 2011 07:36 AM

                                                                                            The first time I used the mm pans for a bar cookie recipe it was summer, and I did it to shorten the time the oven needed to be on. Serendipitously, they gave me the texture I like best, so my 7x11 pan sees little use now. I used the rectangular rather than 8 or 9 inch square pans because with the 7x11, I could slice so each piece had at least one edge.
                                                                                            Nibbling around the edges of a mm brownie first, I can nurse one to be a satisfying portion. I don't think I'd be happy with a 24th of a square/rectangular batch.

                                                                                            1. re: buttertart
                                                                                              chowser Mar 7, 2011 08:09 AM

                                                                                              It's so much easier, especially if you're bringing them somewhere--no cutting, no worrying about their sticking to each other, pretty paper, lots of crust.

                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                greygarious Mar 7, 2011 08:51 AM

                                                                                                Glad to see your mention of paper. I never used liners for fear they would stick to the batter and that they wouldn't develop as much crust. Stupid of me never to think to at least try a liner in one or two of the wells! The only thing I don't like about using the mm tins is that it takes a bigger container to store them.

                                                                                                1. re: greygarious
                                                                                                  chowser Mar 7, 2011 09:30 AM

                                                                                                  I'm glad you mentioned this about sticking. I normally buy regular baking liners and don't have problems w/ sticking. However, the last batch I made were inexpensive cups. The directions said you could bake in them but they weren't specifically made for baking and we had the hardest time with sticking. I'm going to be more careful from now on. I've read that you can spray the liners but haven't tried that yet. I'm too lazy to wash that many individual little muffin tins so love the liners.

                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                    greygarious Mar 7, 2011 10:31 AM

                                                                                                    I have to say that between the Pam and the tins being nonstick to begin with, they look ALMOST clean once I turn them out. All it takes is one swipe of the soapy dishcloth in each well. But if liners mean I don't have to wash the tins AT ALL, I'm there!

                                                                                          2. n
                                                                                            NanH Mar 5, 2011 05:02 PM

                                                                                            Pick your favorite brownies. And 1 tsp chipotle pepper powder.

                                                                                            1. Vetter Mar 5, 2011 03:34 PM

                                                                                              I like the NM Supernaturals, too. I usually use TJ's bittersweet chocolate and cut the sugar a bit. They are best the next day, room temp, after a night in the fridge.

                                                                                              I make them gluten free, and can tell folks that they're fine with no gums. I've actually got a batch in the oven right now, but I used some ground chia seed slurry to see if I couldn't get a little more chew.

                                                                                              1. roxlet Mar 5, 2011 02:20 PM

                                                                                                I love NM Supernatural brownies. Before those, I was a brownie tramp -- faithful to none and always looking for something better. One brownie I made a few times that was a big hit was from a Martha Stewart show (Everyday Food maybe?) and it involved Peppermint Patties in between two layers of brownie batter. Those were wonderful, but needed to be cut in V-E-R-Y small pieces. If anyone tries to make these, it is important to properly regulate your oven temperature -- the patties can melt right into the batter.

                                                                                                3 Replies
                                                                                                1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                  buttertart Mar 7, 2011 05:26 AM

                                                                                                  I did that with the Supernaturals once and they were not a hit (used After Eights and it tasted like toothpaste). If I do it again it'll be with a straight white sugar recipe, I think the brown sugar had something to do with it being not so hot (was super-excited to try it because I love chocolate and mint).

                                                                                                  1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                    roxlet Mar 8, 2011 07:27 AM

                                                                                                    It just so happens that David Lebovitz posted about these today...

                                                                                                    1. re: roxlet
                                                                                                      buttertart Mar 8, 2011 07:35 AM

                                                                                                      We are on the cutting edge as always, chérie! Frozen would be especially good.

                                                                                                2. lilgi Mar 4, 2011 02:28 PM

                                                                                                  Still not quite there with my first trial; I really couldn't wait to make the Lebovitz brownies recipe and made them tonight (using the pretext that I had lots of left-over whipped cream from yesterday, of course).

                                                                                                  That recipe is missing salt which I added (1/4 tsp. fine sea salt). I made them in an 8x8-inch pan, smaller than the recommended 9-inch and they were still way too thin. Texture was good, and the flavor was rich, delicious, and chocolatey but could use a little more sugar for those that have a sweet tooth. We liked the taste and texture, would not say this hit my every nerve, but will keep this as one other go-to.

                                                                                                  Chowser, one day you'll have to explain to me how you find the Malgieri brownies to be chewy because I tried them based on your description. I don't think I've seen anyone else describe them as chewy and they certainly aren't in my opinion, no way! Even BT described them as fudgy to another reader who asked (I'll have to find that post).

                                                                                                  I read the comments on the bottom of the page of the link to my recipe, and there is one poster there that seems to have my dilemma. Well Tiffany, I hope you read this because we've tried the same brownies and not a home run yet.

                                                                                                  Edit: After 30 minutes more of cooling the texture was perfect, still they are too thin.

                                                                                                  10 Replies
                                                                                                  1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                    buttertart Mar 5, 2011 07:36 AM

                                                                                                    If you sub oil + cocoa for half of the chocolate in the NM ones they come out rather chewier.

                                                                                                    1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                      lilgi Mar 5, 2011 01:59 PM

                                                                                                      My dear BT, you have the gift of persuasion but I've moved on.

                                                                                                      NYT has an adapted recipe by Dorie and the math on this one speaks volumes. I'm less skeptical about it than any others I've tried. If I hear Rocky's "Going the Distance" as I take my first few bites I'll post back for the non-Malgieri crowd (or non-crowd).

                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                        petitgateau Mar 5, 2011 02:07 PM

                                                                                                        I am also a fan of Ina Garten's outrageous brownies. The recipe does call for a half sheet pan and they are fudgy with chocolate chips. I leave out the nuts because I go for pure chocolate. They are easier to cut if they are frozen or at least chilled well first. My favorite! I have tried the Baked version of brownies which are very good too and remind me of Nigella's. Outrageous are my favorite though.

                                                                                                      2. re: lilgi
                                                                                                        chowser Mar 7, 2011 03:28 AM

                                                                                                        I find them chewy, as in a chocolate chip cookie is--it doesn't just melt in your mouth like some fudgy brownies. I first discovered them years ago here, in this old thread.


                                                                                                        But, rereading that thread after all these years, I'd forgotten how much I liked the Baker's brownies recipe. I haven't made them since then, I don't think.

                                                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                                                          lilgi Mar 7, 2011 06:58 AM

                                                                                                          I hadn't seen that thread, and I'm glad I didn't. I will say with utmost conviction that the op is a FUDGY brownie eater. For purposes of discussion, it doesn't compare to a ccc cookie either (far from it). I'm not trying to be argumentative, but for some reason people think we all fall into the corner-eating category. I will gladly eat corners when the middle is gone, it doesn't mean a thing.

                                                                                                          I'm posting this article from another blog, This was very informative, scientific, and illustrates the differences. I think these pictures bring a lot more clarity for purposes of distinction.


                                                                                                          1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                            chowser Mar 7, 2011 08:07 AM

                                                                                                            I've always liked this article about brownies, fudgy, chewy or cakey.


                                                                                                            I think it's more scientific than that blog.

                                                                                                            To me, the Ad hoc brownies and man catcher brownies are fudgy. The SN ones are chewy, imo, as are Baker square ones. I don't find them at all cakey. Cakey to me is along these lines:


                                                                                                            You can see the texture difference just in the picture. They look far cakier than the buffchickpea blog. I think the brown sugar makes the SN brownies chewy.

                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                              lilgi Mar 7, 2011 08:15 AM

                                                                                                              I'm making the NYT version of Dorie's French Chocolate Brownie as we speak. But I think you missed my point. The pictures on the ones I showed and comments provide a wealth of information for someone who is looking for a chewy brownie and Nick's is not.

                                                                                                              I enjoy a cakier/chewier brownie but I don't have to go to extremes. You enjoy a fudgy brownie. Nick's is chewier for a fudgy brownie. It is still a very fudgy brownie, and believe me I when I tell you that his was not well received here.

                                                                                                              1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                                chowser Mar 7, 2011 08:28 AM

                                                                                                                I think we have different definitions of what cakey and chewy and fudgy are. Cakey and chewy aren't the same to me. I agree that NM is a chewier and fudgy brownie. It's not my first choice if I'm making one for myself but it's the one I bring when I'm going out because people swoon over them, For myself, I'd much prefer the Chow intense brownie because it's far less sweet, far more bittersweet chocolate taste. The finecooking article I posted has descriptions of what I think of as cakey, fudgy and chewy and recipes for all. That said, I'm not even a huge fan of brownies, compared to a good cake--since I don't care for the sweet chewy fudgy denseness vs a nice light cake. This is all interesting because if you look online, you'll find a lot of different descriptions of what chewy, fudgy and cakey are--even "chewy supernatural brownies" will get a lot of results that call them chewy.

                                                                                                                Let me know how you like the French chocolate brownies. Are you looking for a chewy brownie? Or a cakey one? Since you're not looking for a fudgy brownie, maybe the ad hoc one would work for you.

                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                  lilgi Mar 7, 2011 09:08 AM

                                                                                                                  I wholeheartedly agree (thank goodness!), semantics, descriptions, so forth. The ad hoc ones will absolutely not work having looked at the ingredients. Still waiting for the chocolate to cool a bit before I pour into the egg mixture, but this has been interesting. Will post back ;)

                                                                                                                  1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                                    lilgi Mar 7, 2011 09:18 AM

                                                                                                                    Btw, I've been meaning to say this for quite some time. If there's one thing I've learned is that I never go by whatever seems to be well received outside of my home and I mean generally speaking (schools, functions, etc.) because I have learned that people/kids for the most part will gobble anything baked.

                                                                                                                    That said, DS informs me that he needed something baked for school well after hours (of course) and no time for me to shop for everything that I was out of. I was short on everything, even to make a recipe for chocolate cupcakes of all things (not enough chocolate, butter, etc.) I mean it was just not a good time for me to bake anything at all since I was scheduled for shopping the very next day. He reports back, omg they all went and someone wants the recipe. Go figure.

                                                                                                      3. woodleyparkhound Mar 4, 2011 09:35 AM

                                                                                                        I love Thomas Keller's brownies from Ad Hoc at Home. They are very rich, moist and chocolatey -- everything I want in a brownie.

                                                                                                        3 Replies
                                                                                                        1. re: woodleyparkhound
                                                                                                          chowser Mar 4, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                                                                          Mine is in the oven right now. I was loving the batter and I normally don't like brownie batter and it had a beautiful sheen to it. It smells great and I can wait!

                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                            chowser Mar 4, 2011 12:20 PM

                                                                                                            I love the taste of these brownies, love the melted chopped chocolate within. They're not too sweet which is perfect to me. For me, though, I like the texture of the Supernatural brownies--the chewy fudginess of them and these don't have that. I need something that combines the taste of these and the texture of the sn ones.

                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                              woodleyparkhound Mar 5, 2011 03:22 PM

                                                                                                              Funny you should say that. I agree - this is the most delicious brownie batter EVER!

                                                                                                          2. a
                                                                                                            angelsmom Mar 4, 2011 09:28 AM

                                                                                                            May I ask what your other tweaks to his recipe are please?

                                                                                                            2 Replies
                                                                                                            1. re: angelsmom
                                                                                                              buttertart Mar 4, 2011 09:36 AM

                                                                                                              I usually add a bit of almond extract as well as the vanilla, and bake it for about 25-35 mins (but my ovens have always been a bit wonky, I go by smell to check doneness). I melt the butter and then melt the chocolate in the melted butter off heat. Sometimes I brown the butter. Nothing all that major.

                                                                                                              1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                angelsmom Mar 4, 2011 10:20 AM

                                                                                                                Thanks so much.

                                                                                                            2. j
                                                                                                              jvanderh Mar 4, 2011 09:22 AM

                                                                                                              This one: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/ghirard... but with white rice flour instead of brown. It's moist and chocolatey.

                                                                                                              1. m
                                                                                                                Maggie Larkin Mar 4, 2011 09:07 AM

                                                                                                                anyone have a TASTY recipe that seriously cuts the typical amount of calories found in brownies. i am not opposed to splenda or other sweetners, but i am opposed to tons of fat/sguar & compromising on taste.

                                                                                                                i have heard of mixing a box with some nonfat greek yog or using black beans. has anyone tried this?

                                                                                                                2 Replies
                                                                                                                1. re: Maggie Larkin
                                                                                                                  lilgi Mar 4, 2011 09:45 AM

                                                                                                                  The link to the Lebovitz recipe that I posted above might be a good choice for you to try. This recipe is growing on me and will be trying very soon; probably not the ad hoc ones because of the amount of butter. The Lebovitz brownies also have much more chocolate and less sugar.

                                                                                                                  1. re: Maggie Larkin
                                                                                                                    TrishUntrapped Mar 4, 2011 10:03 AM

                                                                                                                    This is a super easy sounding recipe a friend who has diabetes gave me. I'm not diabetic and can't vouch for it, but it seems interesting.

                                                                                                                    Black Bean Brownies

                                                                                                                    1½ cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
                                                                                                                    ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
                                                                                                                    1 tablespoon espresso powder
                                                                                                                    ¾ cup egg substitute
                                                                                                                    2 tablespoons low-calorie sugar-free chocolate syrup, such as Walden Farms
                                                                                                                    2 tablespoons reduced-fat sour cream, such as Breakstone's
                                                                                                                    1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
                                                                                                                    24 packets (84 g) Truvia or 8 tablespoons granulated Splenda
                                                                                                                    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

                                                                                                                    1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray an 8×8-inch glass baking dish with cooking spray.

                                                                                                                    2. Combine the beans, cocoa powder, espresso powder, and egg substitute in the bowl of a food processor. Process until the mixture is smooth, about 2 minutes, scraping down the bowl halfway through.

                                                                                                                    3. Add the chocolate syrup, sour cream, butter, Truvia, and vanilla. Process until all of the ingredients are combined, about 1 minute.

                                                                                                                    4. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish, and smooth the top with a spatula. Bake for 28 to 30 minutes, turning the dish halfway through the baking time. A toothpick inserted in the center will come out with soft batter clinging to it.

                                                                                                                    5. Let the brownies cool completely in the baking dish on a wire rack. Then cut into 12 squares and serve. Refrigerate any leftovers.

                                                                                                                  2. I used to know how to cook... Mar 3, 2011 05:41 PM

                                                                                                                    Hi everyone,

                                                                                                                    I do have a favorite brownie recipe. It's Hershey's Easy-Does-It Fudgey Brownie. It truly is easy - takes maybe 5-10 minutes to mix it up. From a 1982 magazine.

                                                                                                                    Why is it my favorite? Because it's a moist, fudgy dark chocolate brownie that mixes up fast. Makes a 9 x 13 pan. One bowl. No expensive ingredients. No mixer. No sifting... Okay, I'll stop. :)

                                                                                                                    An interesting method. Dry cocoa is mixed with vegetable oil and baking soda, then boiling water is added. The cocoa/oil/soda mix bubbles up and becomes a wonderful dark chocolate mixture. Then it gets sugar, eggs and flour added. Of course some salt and vanilla.

                                                                                                                    To be honest, I've been reluctant to post it here because it's not 'gourmet' nor does it use any fancy cocoa powder. Just plain ole Hershey's natural cocoa powder, not Dutch process.

                                                                                                                    Matter of fact, it doesn't come out as well using dutched cocoa because dutched cocoa can't be substituted in a recipe where baking soda is the only leavening. I made the brownies at my son's house this past summer. The cocoa he had was an expensive dutched brand. The brownies were okay, just okay. Not deep, dark and fudgy delish.

                                                                                                                    Anyhow, here's a link to the recipe. It's no longer available from Hershey's but I found it on Cooks.com.


                                                                                                                    Oh, you just gotta frost these with ganache...


                                                                                                                    11 Replies
                                                                                                                    1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                                                                                                      buttertart Mar 4, 2011 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                      This is very interesting, thanks!

                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                        I used to know how to cook... Mar 4, 2011 08:22 AM

                                                                                                                        Yes, I also found it interesting .

                                                                                                                        A week or so ago I came across a Red Devils Food Cake recipe I wanted to try. It's made with shortening, egg whites, water and baking soda. No butter, egg yolks, milk or baking powder.

                                                                                                                        The method was different too - the egg whites are beaten into a meringue using part of the sugar and folded into the batter before adding the leavening.

                                                                                                                        I decided to research it because I was concerned with the soda-only leavening.

                                                                                                                        Came across this site which discusses the differences in cocoa. Learning the important factor was natural cocoa, I decided the recipe was worthwhile.


                                                                                                                        The cake was extremely nice. Moist, reddish-brown crumb, very good flavor with no baking powder taste. It rose perfectly to the top of the pans, didn't hump up in the middle.

                                                                                                                        I frosted it with Seven Minute Icing.

                                                                                                                        Edited to add: A classic buttercream would have been way too rich for this cake. (I ended up using the egg yolks for bread pudding.)



                                                                                                                      2. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                                                                                                        chowser Mar 4, 2011 09:03 AM

                                                                                                                        I'm not a big fan of dutched cocoa, actually, and much prefer alkalized. That recipe looks interesting--I'll bet using hot coffee would make a big difference, too.

                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                          buttertart Mar 4, 2011 09:23 AM

                                                                                                                          The cocoa I like best is Valrhona, which I think is dutched. The effective dutching with the soda in the brownie recipe is very interesting.

                                                                                                                          1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                            chowser Mar 4, 2011 10:18 AM

                                                                                                                            I should look for Valrhona. I tend to buy less expensive cocoas and I thought, though wouldn't put money on it, that the alkalining of it was more than just adding baking soda.

                                                                                                                          2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                            I used to know how to cook... Mar 4, 2011 09:28 AM

                                                                                                                            The Red Devil's Food Cake recipe is in my old and tattered BH&G cookbook, 1965 Edition, page 106. I don't know if it is in more recent editions.

                                                                                                                            Yes, using coffee might give a deeper, almost mocha, flavor. I wonder how the acid in the coffee would affect the leavening? Anyone care to weigh in?

                                                                                                                            Editing to add re what Buttertart posted... Yes, dutching natural cocoa with the soda... Seems that neutralizes the soda, leaving no soda/leavening taste.


                                                                                                                            1. re: I used to know how to cook...
                                                                                                                              chowser Mar 4, 2011 10:17 AM

                                                                                                                              Adding an acid to a batter doesn't make a difference--batter doesn't have to be neutral. People often get that backward because if you have baking soda, then you need an acid for it to react. But, having an acid w/out baking soda is fine. If you use a tsp of espresso powder, you don't taste the coffee flavor but it intensifies the chocolate, along the lines of how adding salt intensifies flavors.

                                                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                I used to know how to cook... Mar 4, 2011 10:21 AM

                                                                                                                                Thank you, Chowser.


                                                                                                                                1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                  lilgi Mar 4, 2011 10:39 AM

                                                                                                                                  Chowser, our favorite chocolate cake recipe has baking powder and no acid.

                                                                                                                                  edit: nvm, I think buttermilk is an acid.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                                                    chowser Mar 4, 2011 10:46 AM

                                                                                                                                    Yes, baking powder is neutral so doesn't need an acid. Buttermilk is an acid and is often used w/ baking soda. But, you can use baking powder w/out problem in an acidic batter.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                      lilgi Mar 4, 2011 10:47 AM

                                                                                                                                      Meant to say Baking soda, for some reason I always make that mistake :) No baking powder in my recipe.

                                                                                                                          3. visciole Mar 3, 2011 02:46 PM

                                                                                                                            Dare I say I like the old Joy of Cooking's "Brownies Cockaigne" recipe? I use a bit more chocolate and a bit less sugar than called for, and these are just right for my tastes -- very chocolate-y but not too greasy or sweet.

                                                                                                                            4 Replies
                                                                                                                            1. re: visciole
                                                                                                                              TrishUntrapped Mar 3, 2011 02:52 PM

                                                                                                                              Say it all you want Visciole, and I'll say it too.

                                                                                                                              It may not be the most glamorous or gluttonous brownie out there, but the Joy of Cooking Brownies Cockaigne recipe is darn good, and it's my go to recipe when I make Super Bowl Sundaes (brownie, ice cream, hot fudge sauce, whipped cream and of course a cherry)

                                                                                                                              1. re: visciole
                                                                                                                                buttertart Mar 4, 2011 06:17 AM

                                                                                                                                That used to be my standard as well, for years and years. Also the Fannie Farmer Baking Book one with unsweetened chocolate.

                                                                                                                                1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                  visciole Mar 5, 2011 05:16 PM

                                                                                                                                  So, Buttertart, since you've made and eaten these as well as your faves the NMS brownies, can you please tell me how they taste different? I looked at the recipe and it seemed to me like they would be heavier texture-wise and richer tastewise... but maybe if you tell me your feeling as to how they're different I'll know whether or not I ought to try out the NMS ones....

                                                                                                                                  (I should add I generally use 5 oz unsweetened chocolate and 3/4 cup sugar in the JoC recipe, rather than 4 oz and 1 cup.)

                                                                                                                                  1. re: visciole
                                                                                                                                    buttertart Mar 7, 2011 05:21 AM

                                                                                                                                    To tell the truth it's been ages (ever since "Chocolate" came out) so I don't really remember, but the dark brown sugar in the NM ones adds a distinct note that makes them seem not terribly sweet (to me).

                                                                                                                              2. j
                                                                                                                                jarona Mar 3, 2011 11:27 AM

                                                                                                                                I have two favorite brownie recipes. One is Ina Garten's "Outrageous Brownie" recipe. It is decadadent, rich, heavy, and unbelievable.
                                                                                                                                The other is an easy-peasy brownie recipe that is on the back of the nestle's cocoa box. It isn't as heavy and rich as Ina's, but is great for a quick brownie. Better than Duncan Hines.

                                                                                                                                13 Replies
                                                                                                                                1. re: jarona
                                                                                                                                  chowser Mar 3, 2011 11:43 AM

                                                                                                                                  Wow, over a pound of chocolate and a pound of butter in outrageous brownies. Although, I guess to be fair, it's one large pan--12x18 is an odd size. I don't have a pan that size.

                                                                                                                                  1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                    jarona Mar 3, 2011 11:44 AM

                                                                                                                                    I use a large jelly-roll pan. I agree that the pan size is an odd size, but -- Oh my, these brownies are absolutely amazing.

                                                                                                                                    1. re: jarona
                                                                                                                                      chowser Mar 3, 2011 11:53 AM

                                                                                                                                      My jelly roll/cookie sheets are too big. I'm like Goldilocks here but this recipe looks great. I'll have to work around it and maybe make two pans.

                                                                                                                                    2. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                      buttertart Mar 3, 2011 12:47 PM

                                                                                                                                      A half-sheet pan, no?

                                                                                                                                      1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                        chowser Mar 3, 2011 03:15 PM

                                                                                                                                        I just measured--they are 12x18. I don't know why they seem so much bigger. But, they're only 1/2" tall. I think I can get it to work in a 9x13 and 8x11 but watch them closely.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                          mateo21 Mar 3, 2011 05:45 PM

                                                                                                                                          Sounds like a half-sheet pan to me.

                                                                                                                                    3. re: jarona
                                                                                                                                      kosherfoodies Mar 8, 2011 08:18 AM

                                                                                                                                      I came in here to say Ina's Outrageous Brownies (but leave out the nuts)!; they really live up to their name!
                                                                                                                                      I'm pretty sure she uses a half-sheet pan in the episode of her show that she makes these. That's what I always use anyway, and they turn out fine.

                                                                                                                                      1. re: kosherfoodies
                                                                                                                                        chowser Mar 8, 2011 12:02 PM

                                                                                                                                        Does it have to be an inch tall like the recipe calls for? Mine is about 1/2" and I don't want it to overflow but these might be great party brownies.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                          kosherfoodies Mar 9, 2011 05:17 AM

                                                                                                                                          no, just a regular 1/2" one works!

                                                                                                                                          1. re: kosherfoodies
                                                                                                                                            chowser Mar 10, 2011 03:06 AM

                                                                                                                                            Thanks--I'll give it a try for this weekend's skiing. Sounds perfect!

                                                                                                                                      2. re: jarona
                                                                                                                                        buttertart Mar 10, 2011 05:58 AM

                                                                                                                                        I've never been tempted to make this recipe because I don't like chocolate chips in chocolate things, it makes a boatload of them, and to me they seem outrageous in an unappealing way. Just sayin', it's just me. Speaking of boats, my philisophy is whatever floats yours.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: buttertart
                                                                                                                                          chowser Mar 10, 2011 08:05 AM

                                                                                                                                          I feel the same way but I have to say I love Ad Hoc's chopped chocolate in the brownies. I chopped them more finely than chocolate chips and they melt so you get some nice chocolate-y bites. I'd do that, if I made this recipe.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                            buttertart Mar 10, 2011 08:25 AM

                                                                                                                                            That's an idea, it's the mouthfeel of the chocolate chips themselves - regular ones that are hard once cooled - that I don't like. Still feel the recipe is too, too.

                                                                                                                                      3. lilgi Mar 3, 2011 11:06 AM

                                                                                                                                        So glad you posted this, it's always helpful when people post reasons rather than "blech", so that readers have some direction.

                                                                                                                                        Loved the flavor of NM's and spoons were licked, but will be adding a slight bit of flour and (BP, your suggestion); this made me think we might be bigger on texture here than on flavor so, I will keep experimenting. I'm really hoping there are some other worthy recipes out there to try.

                                                                                                                                        Chowser, I looked at the ingredients on the second one you posted (the CH one), may give that one a go, as well as this one:


                                                                                                                                        I want to try this one with an 8-inch square rather than 9.

                                                                                                                                        4 Replies
                                                                                                                                        1. re: lilgi
                                                                                                                                          chowser Mar 3, 2011 11:20 AM

                                                                                                                                          The leites one looks good with the less sugar but I want a brownie that's less fudgy and that doesn't have much flour. The next one on my "To try" list is Thomas Kellery's Ad Hoc brownies.


                                                                                                                                          Oh...and I just figured out that NM is Nick Maglieri, not Neiman Marcus. Don't know why it took so long.

                                                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                            lilgi Mar 4, 2011 06:48 AM

                                                                                                                                            Not sure why you think the Lebovitz recipe that I posted has too much flour. The rest of the ingredients are proportionately less and the flour is a mere 1/4 cup. I still think these may be a bit too soft/fudgy, but all the brown sugar in Malgieri's recipe might be the problem for me. That's why I would like to try this one as well (without nuts, I always make without nuts).

                                                                                                                                            I'd like to try the ad hoc recipe too; had chocolate birthday cake to make but will try some maybe next week.

                                                                                                                                            1. re: chowser
                                                                                                                                              Laura D. Mar 5, 2011 02:24 PM

                                                                                                                                              I love the picture of the Ad Hoc brownie but it seems like 3 sticks of butter is an awful lot for a recipe in a 9 inch pan, when most of my go-to recipes for brownies use 1 stick of butter for a pan that size. If you make it then definitely report back!

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Laura D.
                                                                                                                                                karenfinan Mar 7, 2011 08:30 AM

                                                                                                                                                I made them last week. They were good, even very good, but not the best I have ever made or had. They are a very cake like brownie, and have a very rich flavor, but I am not sure they are worth all the calories of three sticks of butter!

                                                                                                                                          2. chowser Mar 3, 2011 10:48 AM

                                                                                                                                            The supernatural ones are my regular go-to one. They're always a hit and especially good in muffin/cupcake cups because of the chewy texture and extra crust. I think, quintessentially, it's what most people have in mind for a brownie.

                                                                                                                                            But, if I want a less sweet brownie with an intense dark chocolate taste, I use Chow's brownies but replace the tsp of espresso coffee w/ espresso powder. And, I use less white sugar but add a little molasses (home made brown sugar essentially).


                                                                                                                                            If I want to be overwhelmed by chocolate, I use the man catcher brownies recipe. But, it calls for 3 sticks of butter and 6 eggs--just a lot of brownie for what I normally need.

                                                                                                                                            I also have a recipe for a cakey brownie swirled with peanut butter batter. It's very kid oriented, less chocolately/fudgy but I also chop reese's peanut butter cups and add them on top. I wouldn't bring it to a CH function but to a kid function, except that pb has been outlawed at those.

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