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Brownie showdown (DL vs NM)

jalapenocheese Aug 31, 2011 04:20 PM

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! :)

  1. n
    ndchef Oct 9, 2011 10:26 AM

    I love Alice Medrich's adaptation of her own cocoa brownies, " Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts"
    Only slight variation in quantities of ingredients, but you brown the butter before mixing. Wonderful flavor!

    2 Replies
    1. re: ndchef
      petitgateau Oct 9, 2011 04:43 PM

      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
        juli5122 Oct 9, 2011 05:22 PM

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

    2. buttertart Sep 1, 2011 10:47 AM

      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
        jalapenocheese Sep 1, 2011 10:53 AM

        Wow what a compliment!

        1. re: jalapenocheese
          buttertart Sep 1, 2011 11:03 AM

          To Mr. Malgieri.

          1. re: buttertart
            bushwickgirl Sep 22, 2011 10:23 AM

            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:


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


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

      2. lilgi Aug 31, 2011 07:11 PM

        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:

        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
          jalapenocheese Aug 31, 2011 07:23 PM

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

          1. re: jalapenocheese
            lilgi Aug 31, 2011 07:25 PM

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

            1. re: lilgi
              jessierandall Aug 31, 2011 11:12 PM

              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
                jalapenocheese Aug 31, 2011 11:41 PM

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

                1. re: jessierandall
                  lilgi Aug 31, 2011 11:45 PM

                  I think you meant this for the op :)

          2. biondanonima Aug 31, 2011 05:38 PM

            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
              jalapenocheese Aug 31, 2011 06:06 PM

              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
                biondanonima Sep 22, 2011 07:18 AM

                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
                  lilgi Sep 22, 2011 07:29 AM

                  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
                    buttertart Sep 22, 2011 07:31 AM

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

                    1. re: buttertart
                      biondanonima Sep 22, 2011 07:55 AM

                      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
                        lilgi Sep 22, 2011 08:03 AM

                        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
                chowser Aug 31, 2011 06:36 PM

                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):


                1. re: chowser
                  biondanonima Aug 31, 2011 07:26 PM

                  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
                    jalapenocheese Aug 31, 2011 07:31 PM


                    1. re: biondanonima
                      jarona Sep 1, 2011 12:11 PM

                      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
                      woodleyparkhound Sep 22, 2011 07:34 AM

                      I've tried the Ad Hoc - absolutely divine.

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