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Brownie showdown (DL vs NM)

I made David Lebovitz's "Robert's Absolute Brownies" not too long ago and was in love with the texture and the crunch provided by cacao nibs. I loved how fudgy and the fact it wasn't intensely sweet. I loved everything about it!

But being the recipe whore that I am, I want to know if Nick Malgieri's "Supernatural Brownies" will top that. I tried searching the boards for comparison between the two, but haven't really found any. All I know is people are raving about NM's brownies as their go-to recipe.

Would love to hear your thoughts! :)

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  1. I haven't made the DL recipe but I did make the Supernaturals recently and wasn't particularly impressed. For my taste, they were far too sweet and not chocolatey enough, with a pronounced brown sugar flavor which is not what I want in a brownie. The texture was good, although a bit chewier than I prefer. They were a big hit with my friends and family, though, and I think they would in general be big crowd pleasers. I am a dark chocolate person and I prefer a brownie with a much higher proportion of chocolate to sugar. I will have to try the DL recipe now that I've read your description!

    11 Replies
    1. re: biondanonima

      I see... I might not waste my calories on NM's brownies then. I think I am the same as you, I love brownies with a more pronounced chocolate flavor, rather than sugar. And I also prefer it to have less amount of flour.

      Try the recipe, I'd love to hear your thoughts about it!!!

      1. re: jalapenocheese

        I made the DL recipe the other day with a couple of changes (added a pinch of salt and omitted the nuts, plus accidentally used 1/3c. flour instead of 1/4c.). WOW. They are really, really good, but incredibly rich - to the point where they're almost not brownies, IMO. They are sort of half way between a brownie and a flourless chocolate cake. I liked them much more than the NM brownies, though - so much more chocolate flavor (btw, I used 70% cacao chocolate). They are a bit thin in the pan, but since they are so rich I didn't want a big piece. I am still on the hunt for my ultimate perfect brownie, but I will definitely make these again.

        1. re: biondanonima

          We love those too, nice with some powdered sugar dusted on top and since they're not terribly sweet it gives them a nice flavor. No nuts here as well, and wish they could be a little thicker but we love the texture.

          1. re: lilgi

            Why not bake them in a smaller pan if you want them thicker?

            1. re: buttertart

              Yes, I thought of that - I'm not sure how small one could go though. I think I have a 6x6 pan, but that might be too small. I prefer center pieces anyway (not a fan of crispy edges or corners on my brownies - I know this makes me weird!), so I would prefer to leave them in the larger pan to get more middles. I will probably double the recipe next time and do them in a 9x13 for this very reason!

              1. re: biondanonima

                6x6-inch would definitely be too small I think, but if you have a pan slightly smaller than the 9x13 that might work doubling the recipe. For us (and those I've made my brownies for) the recipe I use is no contest and my 8x8-inch is perfect, thickness is about 1" and the brownies are firm and mousse-like so I've never experimented further.

      2. re: biondanonima

        I could have written that first part because that's exactly how I feel about them, too. But, they are really popular and it shows how diverse tastes are as brownies go (or anything really). They're really popular anywhere I bring them, too. Added to which I've converted and do not want a super fudgey chewy brownie, either (man catcher ones used to be my go-to). Recently, I've taken to Ad Hoc's brownies--3 sticks of butter to 3/4 c flour):

        http://www.thecookbookchronicles.com/...

        1. re: chowser

          Yes, I'm eager to try the Ad Hoc recipe, as well as the Medrich cocoa recipe and the Ina Garten recipe. So many brownies, so little time...

            1. re: biondanonima

              Ina Garten's brownie recipe is the only one I'll use--especially for a big family get together. That recipe produces brownies that'll have you levitating!

            2. re: chowser

              I've tried the Ad Hoc - absolutely divine.

          1. We didn't care for Supernaturals either. We liked Robert's but found them to be a bit thin, and re-adapted Dorie's brownies in this recipe by replacing 1/4 cup of the granulated sugar with dark brown sugar:
            http://www.nytimes.com/2007/04/11/din...

            These are my crowd-pleasers with a slight increase to salt and vanilla as well to bring out the chocolate, Robert's are a close second.

            5 Replies
            1. re: lilgi

              Cool! Thanks for that! I might try this recipe instead! :)

              1. re: jalapenocheese

                Everyone that has tried them here loves em, I think you will too :)

                1. re: lilgi

                  I haven't tried the DL brownies but am practically obsessed with the NM ones. My tendency with all baking recipes is to add less sugar than called for. I did just that with the NM brownies and they were gone in about 2 hours. (I had help.) I think they're stupendous.

                  1. re: jessierandall

                    Jessierandall, can you please tell me how you cut down sugar without messing the recipe?

                    1. re: jessierandall

                      I think you meant this for the op :)

              2. Haven't tried the DL ones (you could add nibs to NM's of course), but every recipe I've tried other than the Supernaturals has elicited a comment from my office mates along the lines of "these are BMWs, the ones you usually make are Maseratis". ;-)

                3 Replies
                    1. re: buttertart

                      Concur, my favorite by far. The Maserati of brownies, that says it all. I love the chewiness of these and how the brown sugar compliments the chocolate. Second for me, and a bit different texture than NM's, is is Alice Medrich's Cocoa Brownies, fudgier than NM's with a nice crust:

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

                      Here's David Lebovitz' absolute brownie recipe, via David Leite's website, for those who might want to compare, in all fairness, of course:

                      http://leitesculinaria.com/36645/reci...

                      As with everything, there's no right answer, it's just what flavor and texture one prefers.

                1. I love Alice Medrich's adaptation of her own cocoa brownies, " Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts"
                  ttp://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views...
                  Only slight variation in quantities of ingredients, but you brown the butter before mixing. Wonderful flavor!

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: ndchef

                    I love Ina Gartens outrageous brownies without nuts. The Baked guys also have a good recipe which reminded me of nigella's.

                    1. re: petitgateau

                      Nigella's looked really good, How was the texture?