My mom is a really good cook, but she’s an excellent baker. The woman whips up layer cakes with abandon, turns out batches of flaky croissants, has the best brownie recipe on the planet, and of course, who could forget the almond kringle we all look forward to every Christmas morning? True, her skill comes from decades of practice, but you know what I think the real secret sauce is? Her passion not only for baking, but for eating the fruits of her labor infuses her creations with a deliciousness that wouldn’t be possible otherwise.
They are truly baked with love. My mom is a sensualist when it comes to delicious pastries and desserts, breathing in the aromas and savoring the tastes of every fresh-from-the-oven treat that comes from her hands.
Almost all of my favorite desserts are ones that my mom has made for us for as long as I can remember. Italian cream cake, buttermilk pie, and these brownies. In all honesty, I think that I took their glorious simplicity for granted until I grew up and tried many other brownie recipes that couldn’t hold a candle to these. I finally realized these were something special.
When I recently asked her for the recipe, mom texted me a faded, oil-splattered photo of an old typed recipe that she’d torn from her old McCall’s cookbook, along with the words, “I’ve made these dozens of times, and keep a little Pyrex pan for when I want to make a half recipe. It’s dangerous to have the whole batch around!”
For one, the texture is almost soufflé-like — a lacy crisp cocoa top that shatters into blissful shards the moment you bite into it.
The fact that these only have 8 ingredients that are always in my pantry is another plus. And did I mention it’s a one-bowl wonder? Most importantly, there’s something about the simplicity of the bitter unsweetened chocolate that yields the most satisfying, food-gasm-inducing flavor.A few good things to know about the best brownie recipe I’ve ever made (or eaten):
- These freeze beautifully. Just let cool completely, slice, then pop into a ziploc freezer bag for up to a couple months. When you’re ready to eat, gently warm in the oven or microwave at medium power.
- Feel free to add nuts. The original recipe calls for chopped toasted walnuts. I leave them out because Adam prefers his brownies “pure,” but feel free to stir in a cup of chopped nuts of choice as the final step if you like.
- For a thinner brownie, use a 9×9″ baking pan. Just reduce the cook time by 5 minutes or so.
- Dress them up for a dinner party. Add whipped cream and chocolate shavings, or crumble and layer them in a glass with whipped cream and fresh raspberries.
Scroll on for the recipe, and I’d love to hear in the comments if you give these a try!
- 1/2 cup butter, softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, at room temperature
- 2 ounces melted unsweetened chocolate, cooled slightly
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/8 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- flaky sea salt, for garnish
- Preheat oven to 325. Line a 8x8" baking pan with parchment paper, then spray with nonstick spray.
- In the bowl of a standing mixer, beat butter and sugar at medium high speed for about 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in chocolate and vanilla.
- Add flour, baking powder and salt, and use a fork to gently combine them. Turn mixer on low speed and beat just until combined. Scrape down sides and turn on mixer on low for just a quick few seconds to totally combine.
- Transfer mixture to prepared pan, and spread top evenly. Bake for 30 minutes, or until a knife inserted in center comes out dry (a few crumbs sticking to it is good, you just don't want it to be wet.)
- Lift brownies out of pan using parchment paper, sprinkle with flaky salt, and let cool for at least 10 minutes before cutting. It will be tough, but be patient! Eat warm or at room temp.