Friday, April 29, 2011

The Search for the Best Brownie Recipe

I never thought I would come across a recipe that could match Nick Maglieri's Supernatural Brownies. They are deep, rich, moist, and simple to make. All the characteristics of the best brownies recipe in my book.

But that was before I discovered Baked in Red Hook, Brooklyn.  I love everything about the place from the incredible frosting on the cup cakes to the owner's story. Baked was founded by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. They met while working at an advertising agency, but their first love was dessert. All the stories I came across about the pair said they were tired of the cupcake craze and cakes that were shaped like purses, but tasted like cardboard. Matt Lewis went to ICE (back when it was still the Peter Kump School) at night and the two ended up opening a wonderful bakery with a focus on classic American desserts, made even better.

So back to the brownies.

While I was doing research on Baked and toying with the idea of interning their for class (why 'o why is there no subway that goes to Red Hook) I came across my new favorite recipe: Matt and Renato's Baked Spicy Brownie. It has so much flavor it left me speechless. After my first bite I had a look on my face that made my husband jealous. They are that good. These brownies earn my high praise because they have a little kick to them with some ancho chilli powder, fresh ground ginger (I used grated fresh ginger root - amazing) and cinnamon. I gave some to friend of mine and she told me they were too good to share with her husband. I take that as the highest compliment.

My deepest thanks to Matt and Renato for coming up with the best brownies recipe imaginable!

The Baked Spicy Brownie

  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbsp. plus 1 tsp. Dutch cocoa powder
  • 1 Tbsp. ancho chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 5 ounces coarsely chopped dark (60 percent) chocolate
  • 1 stick unsalted butter , plus more for pan
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp. freshly grated ginger
Preheat oven to 350°. Butter sides and bottom of a glass or light-colored metal 8" x 8" pan.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, cocoa powder, chili powder, and cinnamon.

Configure a double boiler (fill a medium saucepan with 2 inches of water and fit a metal bowl on top without letting it touch water; bring water to a boil). Place chocolate and butter in bowl and stir occasionally until both are completely melted and combined, about 6 minutes. Turn off heat, but keep bowl over water and add both sugars. Whisk until completely combined and remove bowl from pan. Let stand until room temperature, about 20 minutes.

Add eggs to chocolate-butter mixture and whisk until just combined. Add vanilla and ginger; whisk to combine. Do not overbeat the batter at this stage or the brownies will be cakey.

Sprinkle flour-cocoa mixture over chocolate mixture. Using a spatula (do not use a whisk!), fold the dry ingredients into the wet until there is just a trace amount of the flour-cocoa mix visible.

Pour batter into the greased pan and smooth the top with the spatula. Bake brownies for 27 to 30 minutes; brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs. Cool brownies completely before cutting and serving.

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