the best brownies ever


Other than bread and pizza, I’m not much of a baker. I leave the cakes, pies, and most of the cookies to Sarah. But I do like making brownies, and am always searching for a great recipe.

Or, at least, I WAS searching. The hunt is over now. These are the best brownies I’ve ever made – they are rich, chewy, and crackly. Best of all, they’re incredibly simple. The whole thing comes together in one pan and you don’t need any fancy ingredients. The secret here is browned butter, which gives the brownies a rich, caramel-y taste.

Start with a bunch of butter in a small pan over medium heat:

Cook it for about 10 minutes, or until it melts completely and then turns deep brown and the foaming mostly subsides. Then you add the rest of the ingredients in steps. It’s important not to overbeat the batter or the brownies will be tough.

Transfer to a foiled-and-oiled baking pan and then bake until a toothpick comes out clean-ish.

This toothpick is not yet clean-ish:

This one is:

Serve with some fresh fruit so you can trick yourself into thinking that it’s a well-rounded dessert.
(didn’t I try this before?)

Espresso Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Adapted from Bon Appetit. Makes 16 brownies.


  • 1 1/4 sticks butter (10 tablespoons)
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cups cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee granules (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cups plus 1 tablespoon flour [I hate it when recipe editors do this. If you need to be this specific, I say, use a damn kitchen scale. Feel free to eyeball this by using a well-rounded 1/3 cup measure. I will not tell.]
  • 1 cup walnut halves and pieces


Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8×8 baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray (or lightly rub with vegetable oil or butter).

Place the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the butter melts and browns. Do not let it get too dark, but there will be some browned bits at the bottom of the pan. On my stove, this whole process took 10 minutes. Don’t rush it.

Remove from the heat and add the sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons water, vanilla, espresso powder, and salt. Stir well and let the whole thing cool for 5 minutes. Beat in eggs one at a time, stirring well after each addition. When it looks shiny, add the flour and stir until well incorporated. Stir in the walnuts and pour into your prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted near the middle comes out clean-ish (see pictures above). Let cool about 30 minutes, then cut into squares and serve.


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