30 years ago my dear friend, Sally, gave me a copy of Lee Bailey’s Country Desserts. At the moment neither of us realized how significant that gift would be in my life. It was way before Pinterest and the endless blogs filled with impossibly gorgeous recipes. Who am I kidding, it was before the internet. I had that one cookbook and a shitty student apartment kitchen to bake in. I made almost every recipe in the book and as a result learned how to make everything from cookies, cakes, pudding and even candy, but these brownies were the best thing in the whole book. I would splurge on really good chocolate, which meant something beyond Hershey’s. God only knows what brand it was back then, but I remember spending my entire food budget on chocolate, nuts and butter just to make them. I must have survived on rice cakes and peanut butter for the rest of the week.
30 years later it is still the only brownie recipe I make. I’m pretty good about not eating a bowl of cake batter or cookie dough, but these brownies are a different story. I’m powerless to their seduction, so I can’t make them often.
“Outrageous Brownies” from Ina Garten via Lee Bailey’s Country Desserts.
1 pound (4 sticks) unsalted butter
1 pound semi or bittersweet chocolate, your favorite brand
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate
6 large eggs
2 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (optional, but I highly recommend it for balance of flavor)
2 tablespoons vanilla extract (easy vanilla extract recipe)
2 1/4 cups sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 cup all-purpose flour (In Ina’s recipe she has you sift the flour into the cup, but I just whisk the flour in the jar and then spoon the flour into the cup. This has always worked for me, but you want to make sure not to use too much flour or the brownies may be dry. If you use King Arthur Flour it has more protein and will make for a dry brownie, so you’ll want to use 2 Tablespoons less flour.)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups chopped nuts
3 cups chocolate chips or chunks
To make brownies:
Preheat oven to 350°F
Grease and line a 12×18-inch sheet pan with parchment.
My how-to video:
Chop the 1-pound of bittersweet and the unsweetened chocolate into small pieces. I used an ice pick, but a super slicer is a great option as well.
Melt the butter and chopped chocolate over a double boiler until there are no chunks of chocolate left. Cool to room temperature.
Remove from heat and mix in the eggs, espresso, vanilla, sugar and cocoa powder. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.
Stir the dry into the chocolate mixture.
Fold the nuts and chocolate chips into the batter.
Spread into prepared pan.
Bake for about 30 minutes or just until tester comes out clean, but DO NOT OVER BAKE or they will not have the outrageous fudge quality.
Cool completely and then cut into squares.
Serve with ice cream, coffee or milk or just eat them out of the pan.