These brownies, man. They are just so good. The best. Nothing I can take credit for, except for sheer joy in opening up David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert as a casual read, and not being able to put the book down until I had one of these chocolatey guys in hand. I first saw this recipe a shocking two days ago, and have since made the brownies three times. That should tell you something.
Seriously though, I’m a little obsessed with these brownies. They’re dense, fudgey, with that beautiful thin-crisp layer on top just begging to crumble off. So yummy they make my cheeks tingle and blush a little…something I’ve always debated as a sign of a mild chocolate allergy, but I really think is just my brain saying, “HAPPY! CHOCOLATE!”. Amazeballs. The world needs to know about these.
Aside from this recipe, Ready for Dessert has the Chocolate Pave recipe that Chez Panisse serves, the perfect chocolate treat that I greedily gobbled up every day it was offered at staff lunch during my internship there. “Oh, but today I’ll be able to resist dessert at lunch. Damn it, the pave! Okay, fine, I’ll just have one or ten bites.” Morale of the story is, I need to own this book.
Why would anyone ever make these out of a box? I think I might start a campaign where I print this recipe and tape it to every creepy brownie mix I find.
These are called Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies in David Lebovitz’s book Ready for Dessert. His friend Robert adapted them from the cookbook author Maida Heatter. Just goes to show the power of word of mouth when there’s a good recipe.
- 6 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, cut into pieces
- 8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped
- optional: 1/3 cup chopped dried cherries or 1/3 cup cacao nibs
Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9-inch baking pan and line with two lengths of parchment, setting them perpendicular to each other and letting the paper hang just a bit off the edges of the pan.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat, then add the chocolate and stir until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and add in the vanilla and sugar until well combined. Add the flour and energetically stir for one full minute. This part is a crucial step — even if everything seems mixed well before the minute’s up, just keep whisking strongly until time’s up!
Stir in the chopped, toasted nuts if using. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 30 minutes, until the center feels almost set.
Let the brownies cool completely in the pan before lifting them out with the parchment. David tips that if you pop the brownies in the freezer for a few minutes after they cool down enough, you’ll get picture-perfect slices, using a bread knife with a quick rinse between each slice.