The Brownie Project Top 10 List for 2009

I have to admit, coming up with a “Top 10” brownie list was more difficult than I imagined it would be. There are so many variables to consider with each recipe – but I think I’ve got it down.

Instead of just listing the Top 10, I’m also providing a brief synopsis of each recipe – I think this will help if you’re trying to decide which one to make.

Ready? Here they are:

#1 – Outrageous Brownies (Ina Garten) – these are still my all time favorite. They do contain a lot of coffee, and are loaded with chocolate chips. Intensely flavored.

#2 – Supernatural Brownies (Nick Malgieri) – these are really rich, and pack a serious chocolate punch. They almost pushed Ina’s recipe out of the #1 spot.

#3 – Deep Dark Brownies (Baked) – these run parallel to the Supernatural Brownies. They are just what the name describes – deep and dark (and delicious!)

#4 – Amaretto Brownies (Tyler Florence) – yes, they do contain alcohol, but these are my husbands favorite – and he usually doesn’t like brownies. These aren’t as rich as the first three recipes, which is probably why he likes them so much.

#5 – King Arthur Brownies –  for a brownie made strictly with cocoa powder, these are seriously chocolatey. I think they are a good choice when you don’t want something strongly flavored with coffee or alcohol.

#6 – Perfect Brownies for Kids – these come highly recommended from a 10 year old – and he samples a LOT of brownies. These are mild, but chocolatey enough to satisfy.

#7 – Sour Cream Brownies (Nick Malgieri) – these are light on the chocolate flavor, and very cake-like, with a pleasant tang from the sour cream. I think they would make a great base to a sundae.

#8 – Triple Chocolate Brownies (Anna Olson) – very hefty, intense, and more like a fudgy chocolate cake than a brownie. But worth every bite.

#9 – Classic Brownies (Dorie Greenspan) – sturdy, with the “traditional” brownie flavor. A good all-purpose choice – they aren’t too strongly flavored but can definitely hold their own.

#10 – The Farm Brownies – very, very rich, decadent and very chocolatey. I actually made these twice in one month – I ate the test brownie before I photographed it. These will satisfy any chocolate craving – and then some.

As always, brownies are a very subjective matter – what works for me may or may not work for you. My goal was just to outline the 10 recipes that I liked best this year. I have two new recipes coming up in December – so come back soon!

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Dorie Greenspan’s Classic Brownies

Since several readers of The Brownie Project have asked for it, and it’s getting close to that time of year when many of you are looking for just the right recipe for a holiday gathering, I’m working on a “Top 10” list of brownies.

Of course, looking back at my posts throughout the year has kicked off a brownie craving like you can’t imagine.

But before I publish my list, I’d like to get another great brownie recipe into the running – because you know, 31 recipes over the course of the year just isn’t enough.

Dorie Greenspan has several wonderful brownie recipes in her book, “Baking From My Home To Yours”, and as I was flipping through it, I came across her version of “Classic Brownies”. Dorie says these are not classics in the truest sense of the word, as they contain both unsweetened chocolate as well as bittersweet chocolate.

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However, these brownies fit my definition of a classic because they are sturdy enough to be packed, simple to make, yet deeply chocolatey enough to border on the fudgy side. They are dense, but not heavy. Assuming, of course, you don’t cut large squares like I do.

These are a great go-to brownie when you want something simple, without anything to get in the way of a pure chocolate punch.

Classic Brownies – adapted from Dorie Greenspan

5 tbs. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 oz. bittersweet chocolate, chopped
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
¼ tsp salt
1/3 cup all purpose flour

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8” square pan with foil and either butter the foil or spray it with nonstick spray.

In a medium sized saucepan, over very low heat, combine the butter and chocolates. Stir until just melted and smooth, then remove from the heat. Stir in the sugar, then whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Add the vanilla, and gently stir in the salt and flour just until incorporated. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until a tester just about comes clean. Be very careful not to overbake. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely, then use the foil to remove the brownies from the pan and cut into squares.

Yield – 16 brownies.

The Farm Brownies

Happy November to you!

It might appear that things are quiet over here at The Brownie Project, but I’ve actually been baking – two new recipes to be exact – and I wanted to wait until the Halloween infused sugar rush was over.

Is it over yet?

For us, it is – I usually throw out the leftover candy one or two days after Halloween – the kids lose interest in it rather quickly. Which works out splendidly for me, given the amount of baking I do.

With that in mind, here’s a recipe for brownies from The Farm Restaurant in Beverly Hills, California. You can read about The Farm restaurant here – but from what I read, they are pretty famous for their brownies. With such rave online reviews, I had to see for myself if they were worth the hype.

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Oh boy – these lived up to their name and then some. I took the time to re-read the reviews before baking them – which translated into cutting back a bit on the butter, and chilling them thoroughly before attempting to cut or eat them.

These were amazingly rich, decadent, super chocolatey – I couldn’t stop eating them.  I can’t imagine adding anything else to these, they were perfect on their own. And, I just realized, I actually made these twice last month – which is a first in the history of The Brownie Project.

The Farm Brownies – adapted from epicurious.com

2 ½ sticks unsalted butter, cut into pieces
12 ounces fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
6 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch process)
3 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 13- by 9- by 2-inch metal baking pan, knocking out excess flour. Melt butter with chocolate in a large metal bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water, stirring until smooth. Remove bowl from pan and whisk in eggs, one at a time. Sift together flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl and stir into batter with sugar and salt. Pour batter into pan and bake in middle of oven until top is firm and a tester inserted into center comes out with crumbs adhering, 40 to 45 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a rack, about 2 hours, before cutting into 20 squares.