perfect brownies

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Perfect Brownies

By , from the Culinate Kitchen collection
Total Time 1 hour
Yield 16 small or 8 large brownies


For years I’ve relied on Chow’s brownie recipe for superlative brownies at that perfect halfway point between cake and fudge. But then I realized that, having tweaked it here and there over time, I wasn’t making Chow’s recipe any longer. Here’s the version I make at home.


6 oz. bittersweet chocolate (around 60 percent cacao; dark chocolate chips are fine)
8 Tbsp. (1 stick) unsalted butter
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder (both natural and Dutched are fine)
1 to 2 Tbsp. brewed coffee, espresso, or dissolved instant espresso powder (decaf is fine)
¾ tsp. kosher salt (do not use table salt)
½ tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8-by-8-inch baking dish, or line it with a piece of aluminum foil. (The foil is wasteful, but it allows you to remove all the brownies easily from the pan.)
  2. In a medium saucepan, combine the chocolate and butter and cook, stirring frequently, over medium-low heat. When the chocolate and butter are evenly melted, remove from the heat and let cool while you mix the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine all of the remaining ingredients except the flour. Stir in the butter-chocolate mixture, then stir in the flour.
  4. Scrape the batter into the prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly. Bake until a tester inserted in the center of the brownies comes out mostly clean with only a few crumbs attached, about 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and cool at least half an hour before cutting.
  5. Cut the brownies in the pan or, if you used aluminum foil, use the edges of the foil to lift the sheet of uncut brownies out of the pan before cutting into squares or rectangles.


Variation: For chocolate-mint brownies, skip the cinnamon and replace the vanilla with 2 teaspoons mint extract.

This content is from the Culinate Kitchen collection.

There are 8 comments on this item
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12% recommend this recipe
1. by healthgal on Sep 3, 2009 at 7:38 PM PDT

I made these brownies tonight and I have to say that they are probably the best tasting brownes i have ever had.
I do have one question. When I took them out of the oven to cool, there was an irridesant film on the top that became crumbly when they were cool and I cut them into pieces. I think I must have done something wrong. Can you tell me why this happened so I don’t repeat it. The film flaked off each brownie when cutting. Didn’t affect the taste but they didn’t look as good.

2. by Corey Zimmerman on Sep 10, 2009 at 4:27 AM PDT

Made these to bring over to our friends who had just welcomed a new baby into the world. They were delicious! I will certainly make these again. Thanks for sharing your recipe!

3. by Caroline Cummins on Oct 1, 2009 at 3:34 PM PDT

Healthgal: Was the iridescent film the usual crackly crust that brownies form? (See the sheen on the brownies in the photo.) If so, that’s just typical -- although the flaking off is not.
Corey: Glad you enjoyed the brownies! Hope your friends liked them, too.

4. by healthgal on Oct 1, 2009 at 7:13 PM PDT

Thanks for responding to me. No, this was not the usual crackly crust that brownies form. This flaked off like thin pieces of paper as I cut them. They were then looking like naked brownies.
I used a hand beater to make them.could that have had an effect? I’d love to figure this out. I love these brownies and will make them again and again but I’d like them to look like they should.
THanks in advance for your answer.

5. by Caroline Cummins on Oct 3, 2009 at 10:51 PM PDT

Estelle -- Maybe using a hand beater (I assume you mean an electric handheld mixer) overbeat the batter. I’ve never used anything but a fork to mix these brownies -- why get extra dishes dirty if you don’t have to?

6. by Emma Hirsch on Nov 24, 2009 at 8:49 PM PST

These look really good.
When I make brownies, I usually use table salt. Why kosher salt?

7. by Caroline Cummins on Nov 29, 2009 at 8:26 PM PST

Emma --

As Hank Sawtelle pointed out in his column on salts, kosher salt and table salt differ both in taste (table salt generally has iodine and anticaking agents added to it) and volume density (table salt packs more closely than kosher salt, meaning a teaspoon of table salt will be saltier than a teaspoon of kosher salt).

In other words, if you replace the kosher salt in the brownies with table salt, your brownies will taste saltier. If all you’ve got is table salt, check Hank’s column for tips on reducing your table-salt measurements accordingly.

Good luck!


8. by Emma Hirsch on Jan 8, 2010 at 6:32 PM PST

Thanks for the tip!

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