July 8, 2021 8:47 PM   Subscribe

I have been tasked with baking brownies and possibly very chocolatey brownie adjacent cookies for the birthday of a person who is very special to me. Please give me your most delicious recipes so I can make them very happy!

I know they like super dense and super chocolatey and I'd like to make them from scratch rather than from a mix. Things that keep well enough that I can make them a few days in advance would be very good given my uncertain work schedule.
posted by Zalzidrax to Food & Drink (24 answers total) 45 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: My go-to brownie recipe is this one from Smitten Kitchen.

I also love Smitten Kitchen's brownie roll-out cookies and these double dark chocolate chip shortbread cookies (which are also delicious if you use regular cocoa and semi-sweet chips.)
posted by Redstart at 9:03 PM on July 8, 2021 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Joy of Cooking has a recipe for Brownies Cockaigne. It’s very good, I use it frequently and have for years. Here is the recipe online I’ve been told that it is a very old fashioned way to make this very dense and moist dessert.
posted by chuke at 9:18 PM on July 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

Seconding Redstart- came in here to link the same Smitten Kitchen recipe! They are very, very good with quality chocolate, they are very, very fast, and you can do everything in one bowl so cleanup is nothing!
posted by charmedimsure at 9:38 PM on July 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

Bravetart ftw. The reason I got her cookbook. Probably made them a half dozen times, a few variations, but the original is best.
posted by supercres at 10:11 PM on July 8, 2021 [2 favorites]

I've tried a lot of recipes, and Supernatural Brownies are my all-time favorite. Easy and delicious.
posted by mogget at 10:18 PM on July 8, 2021 [1 favorite]

I actually like a DIFFERENT Smitten Kitchen recipe—I make just the dark chocolate ones and add some ghirardelli bittersweet chips.
I’m definitely on the side of brownies made with melted chocolate rather than cocoa—it’s a little bit more trouble but totally worth it.
posted by exceptinsects at 10:52 PM on July 8, 2021

Oh! And these: The Browniest Cookies
posted by exceptinsects at 10:56 PM on July 8, 2021

Best answer: I've actually found that the most chocolatey brownies are the ones made with cocoa powder, not melted chocolate. Bon Appetit has a good explanation of why, and if, as you said, you have to make the brownies a few days in advance, you're going to be better off with a cocoa-based brownie anyway; the chocolate-based ones will get hard and crumbly if they sit around too long, whereas the cocoa brownies will remain softer and more brownie-like longer.

For years, my default cocoa brownie recipe was Alice Medrich's, but Michelle Lopez' Box Mix Brownies From Scratch became my new go-to over the last 18 months. I've made them over a dozen times, even skipping the chocolate chips when we didn't have them on hand, and they are the the quintessential brownie to me. Better than every other brownie recipe I've tried (Smitten Kitchen and Bravetart included); better even than Ghirardelli's.

But even better appreciated than that in the Kouti household? Smitten Kitchen's Chocolate Toffee Cookies. Mr. Kouti says they remain his all-time favorite dessert that I make even after 16+ years of eating every other dessert I've made for him. Given your time constraints, I would follow her directions for making and freezing the dough well ahead of time, but ideally only bake them off a couple of hours before you intend to give them to your loved one, no earlier than the night before if you must.
posted by Pandora Kouti at 12:14 AM on July 9, 2021 [2 favorites]

The Choc Star Ultra Fudge Brownies recipe in this Independent article is the best brownie recipe I've ever tried. Consistently amazing. So dense and rich and chocolatey that a tiny square may well be enough.

On the cookie front, I'm seconding the Smitten Kitchen brownie roll-out cookies, which are incredibly moreish.
posted by ManyLeggedCreature at 2:20 AM on July 9, 2021

I can't eat brownies anymore so it has been ages since I made them. But when I did absolutely adored a "three ingredient" nutella brownie (with a couple minor tweaks.) Here is one. (They are all pretty similar.) I would add a scosh of baking powder, a bit of salt if not called for by the recipe, and the biggest change: a crushed bar of the best ultra dark chocolate you can find. Dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips would work ok too, but tend not to be the best chocolate, and I think it really makes a difference. Look for fair trade ingredients! Happy baking!
posted by prewar lemonade at 4:20 AM on July 9, 2021

I second supernatural brownies. These brownies with espresso ganache in them are amazing but a huge pain.
posted by jeather at 5:12 AM on July 9, 2021

These from bon appetit were a stable from me during the early days of the pandemic.
posted by pixiecrinkle at 6:33 AM on July 9, 2021

Not a recipe but a baking trick! Bake them for 15 minutes, take them out for 15 minutes, return to the oven and bake until they are done.

It makes them unbelievably gooey... if you like that texture that is. Also works on blondies and any other similar treats.
posted by dazedandconfused at 6:36 AM on July 9, 2021 [3 favorites]

Nthing the Smitten Kitchen My Favorite Brownies. Also, pro-tip: If you bake brownies in muffin tins, everyone gets chewy edges.
posted by tangosnail at 7:56 AM on July 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I am something of a brownie traditionalist and after trying all kinds of different, variously complex brownie recipes over several decades -- some of which were effort-y and some of which were straightforward -- far and away the best brownie recipe I've tried is Brooke's Best Bombshell Brownies which is closer to the straightforward end of the spectrum than the effort-y end. Occasionally they get doctored with a little espresso powder in the mix, but are stellar brownies exactly as written.

Our household uses no other brownie recipe now.
posted by majick at 8:52 AM on July 9, 2021

lots and lots of good advice above; just adding that there are some standard tricks of the trade here, like adding espresso to the mix, or adding chipotle powder, or bacon, or ... Snickers? Anyway, lots of good suggestions: bourbon, walnuts, cinnamon, etc etc. that might work well with any of the above recipes (or a box mix if you spend so much time researching that you run out of time for cooking).
posted by adekllny at 9:51 AM on July 9, 2021 [1 favorite]

I just made these ones from Claire Saffitz's book the other day and they were a hit.
posted by saladin at 10:11 AM on July 9, 2021

This recipe is from the New Basics cookbook. I have made these many, many times over the past 25 years. If you prefer rich and moist brownies over cakey and crumbly brownies then these are for you. Their texture is more like a torte or ganache than a cake. You have to serve them as 1 inch squares because any more than that is way too much.
posted by rouftop at 11:20 AM on July 9, 2021

I'm lazy, so Ghirardelli boxed-mix is my go-to. Dependable results every time, and the winner of my multi-way taste test against all of the other boxed mixes. I usually make a double-batch so they come out nice and thick.
posted by Wild_Eep at 12:37 PM on July 9, 2021

Brownies have been well-covered here. I love both the SK brownies and the ones from Joy of Cooking; the latter were the brownies I had growing up, so they have a special place in my heart.

These Chocolate Sugar Cookies from Cook's Illustrated are also wonderful and might make a good addition if you were making something in addition to the brownies.
posted by Betelgeuse at 12:56 PM on July 9, 2021

Best answer: I really like Alton Brown's version 2 brownies.

I like to add chopped up peanuts, or bacon bits.
posted by Marky at 1:08 PM on July 9, 2021

How has no one mentioned the best brownies ever? Either of the Moosewood recipes are excellent: 8x8 pan or 9x13 pan.
posted by ReginaHart at 3:43 PM on July 9, 2021

My favorite box mixes are Pillsbury and Ghirardelli, I've never found the from scratch brownies with melted chocolate and butter to be anywhere near as good, though I am now very very interested in trying the cocoa based recipes.

It is good to find out if your very special person likes the corner/edge pieces. You can use muffin tins or special pans to have extra edge if they do, but many people don't care for them.

Certainly find out if they like anything in brownies before you try to make them extra special with bacon or peanuts or something. These are in no way "standard" tricks of the trade, these are things that some people like a lot and some people quite dislike. I quite like walnuts, some people hate the texture. If someone gave me special homemade brownies with espresso, I would attempt to look like I actually liked them and eat a tiny bit, and then they would be going into the trash as soon as I got the chance, and I would be very sad that they went to so much trouble to make me something special and ruin it with adding strange things.

For anyone considering adding bacon or alcohol to brownies -- please be sure to inform people! Vegetarians don't generally think to ask if there is bacon in things like brownies or cookies, and some people have reasons to avoid alcohol even if you think it "cooks off".

You should also know that brownies are best without frosting, so that one can enjoy the wonderful unique texture of the brownies. (OK, that one is just my opinion, but it is the correct opinion, so there! /s)
posted by yohko at 1:57 AM on July 12, 2021

« Older Brainstorming new, post-pandemic self-guided tour...   |   Basic Trail Camera for Wildlife Watching Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments