And by “killer” I don’t mean piled up with all kinds of nonessential stuff. No distracting studdings of nuts, chocolate chips, coconut or mini-marshmallows. No alluring swirls of peanut butter or caramel. No exotic hints of chipotle or ginger. Those things can indeed be lovely additions to brownies. But sometimes you need simplicity. You need the deepest-chocolatiest-fudgiest brownies you can muster. Yep. And for that, we have just the thing.
Preheat the oven to 350.
Bring the water to a boil in a double-boiler, then turn down the heat so you keep a simmer going. Combine the butter, chocolate, cocoa and coffee granules in the top of the double boiler and stir a few times as they melt together.
As the chocolate mixture is finishing its melt, get ready to add the sugars, salt and vanilla to the whisked eggs. I used kosher sea salt, and that’s pretty coarse, so I ground it up a bit with my little mortar and pestle.
I add the brown sugar first so my whisk can get a better shot at breaking up those brown-sugar lumps. Then I whisk in the white sugar, salt and vanilla.
Now comes the funnest part: adding the chocolate mixture:
Now we fold in the flour, with as few strokes as possible. Just barely enough to get it mixed.
Let’s get the 8-x-11-inch pan ready. We want to make a parchment sling for the brownies. This will be handy when they’re cool and we are ready to cut them. Details later. But for now, let’s make our sling.
Butter the pan and then lay two strips of parchment across the narrow ends, like this:
Now lay another piece of parchment crosswise to cover the rest of the pan, like this:
Now butter the parchment as best you can, and pour in the brownie batter. Here we are, ready to go into the oven:
About 34 minutes later (maybe a little longer or shorter, depending on your oven, but don’t-don’t-don’t overbake), our Killer Brownies are ready to start their agonizing cooling phase (agonizing for me, that is):
Okay. Flash-forward to several hours later/the next morning, if you’re the patient type; or a 20-minute, brisk chill on the deck railing in 20-degree weather if you’re impatient or hormonal and really need to get your brownie on. Whichever. The point being: they’re finally cool. Now we see how handy the parchment sling is.
Left in the pan, we would likely mangle the brownies as we wrestle them outta there. But here, on the cutting board, with their little sides exposed, we can cut cleanly from end to end, and crosswise, with a nice long knife. (Remember this will work only if the brownies are fully cooled, and preferably chilled. So behave yourself.)
I can’t help leaving you with another yumptious image of the finished product:
- 1/2 pound unsalted butter
- 8 ounces bittersweet chocolate, cut up
- 3 Tbsp. cocoa
- 2 Tbsp. instant-coffee granules
- 4 eggs
- 1 c. sugar
- 1 c. packed dark brown sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 tsp. Kosher sea salt, ground fine
- 1 c. flour
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Grease a 8 x 11-inch pan. Line with parchment paper. Grease the parchment.
- In a double boiler, melt together the butter, chocolate, cocoa and coffee.
- In a big bowl, whisk together the eggs. Add the sugars, vanilla and salt.
- Mix in the melted chocolate mixture. Fold in the flour until barely combined.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan.
- Bake 34-35 minutes, just until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Take care not to over-bake.
- Cool completely. Chill in the refrigerator.
- Using the parchment as a sling, lift the brownies out of the pan. Place them on a cutting board. Use long, sharp knife to cut into squares.