Outrageous Brownies

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 Instagram 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 outrageous 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 these outrageous brownies are the only 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. See my instagram video on making the brownies and recipe below.

Brownies ZB 01

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, for melting

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, for melting (If you don’t have access to unsweetened chocolate, use more bittersweet and reduce sugar by 3 tablespoons)

6 large eggs

2 1/2 tablespoons instant espresso powder (optional, but I highly recommend it for balance of flavor, the brownies don’t taste like coffee)

2 tablespoons vanilla extract (easy vanilla extract recipe)

2 1/4 cups (370g) sugar

1 cup (150g) 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 toasted nuts

3 cups chocolate chips or chunks, folded in at the end, not melted

To make brownies:

Preheat oven to 350°F

Grease and line a 12×18-inch sheet pan with parchment.

See my how-to video on instagram

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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.

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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, and sugar. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

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Stir the dry into the chocolate mixture.

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Fold the nuts and chocolate chips into the batter.

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Spread into prepared pan.

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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.

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Cool completely and then cut into squares.

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Serve with ice cream, coffee or milk or just eat them out of the pan.

In my instagram video I made a half batch in an Emile Henry Rectangular Baking Dish. They made for a thicker brownie and required 30 minutes baking, even for the smaller batch.

Serve with a tall glass or milk or with ice cream and caramel sauce.

Caramel Sauce

1 cup sugar

1 teaspoon corn syrup (to prevent crystallization)

3 tablespoons water

1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (more if you want it thinner)

Melt the sugar, corn syrup and water over high heat, without touching, until it caramelizes. Once it colors stir the caramel so it cooks evenly. Once it is evenly dark and just starting to smoke, whisk in the cream.If the caramel seizes when you add the cream, just let it cook on low heat until it melts again. Strain if necessary. Will last for about a week in the refrigerator. It will thicken when chilled.

34 thoughts to “Outrageous Brownies”

  1. I can see how these are utterly irresistible, they have absolutely perfect crackly tops (requisite for the perfect brownie). I also find myself wrecking my food budget with expensive ingredients, but I’ll just let myself relish in blissful taste for a little while longer before growing up….

  2. This is so funny. When you mentioned Lee Bailey that name rung a bell. Back in 1996 I won a recipe contest with our local newspaper. For winning they sent me Lee Baileys Portable Food cookbook. I never really spent much time looking at it until just now. In this book he makes Mt. Shasta Brownies. They use homemade chocolate chip cookies in the batter. Now I’m tempted to try these and yours.

    With so many cookbooks I often forget what I’ve got until someone like you makes a post and jogs my memory.

  3. Oh my goodness, I’ve been baking Ina’s Outrageous Brownies for years now! It’s the best brownie recipe I’ve ever come across. Thank you!

  4. I have to admit that just last night my daughter made brownies from a box mix, and we all thought they were pretty good. You came along in the nick of time! Of course they were pretty good, BUT why settle for pretty good when you can have outrageous?!?!? This weekend she will learn how to be outrageous!!

    1. Hi Helen,

      I say to grease the pan and line it with parchment, but Dorie originally said to grease and flour the pan. I just always use parchment as insurance. I use butter, but Pam will work too!

      Enjoy, Zoë

  5. Country Desserts is still one of my favorite books – great recipes and the photography is stunning. That photo of his blackberry cobbler stops me in my tracks every time! I love his brownies but I’d say my favorite recipe of in it is his Blueberry Buckle. It’s a reputation-maker!

  6. these look devine… tried to print the recipe but ran out of paper with the 19 pages.. is there an easy way to get the recipe? is it in one of your books? also still anxious to do the caramel rolls with you… sz

    1. Hi Sue,

      How lovely to see your name pop up in the comments! If you go to the print page there is an option at the top to print without the pictures. That will make it 1 page.

      We have the most epic attempt at a date for caramel rolls! 🙂

      xo Zoë

  7. I cant seem to find good quality unsweetened chocolate, Would they work if I just used all bittersweet chocolate?..Really looking forward to trying these

    1. Hi Kathleen,

      Yes, you can use all bittersweet chocolate. I have done it when I was out of unsweetened and no one complained! 😉

      Cheers, Zoë

  8. I made these this morning for a dinner party tonight. I had high hopes as the ingredients are wonderful. Unfortunately the outcome was disappointing. The brownies are dry (perhaps I cooked them too long although I took them out at 25 minutes) and almost impossible to cut even when chilled. I will stick with Nick Malgieri’s “Supernatural Brownies”.

    1. Oh no Tucsonbabe,

      I am so sorry they came out dry. Yes, overbaking can make or break any brownie recipe. I will put a note on the recipe to others to warn them to check them earlier. Especially since everyones oven behaves so differently.

      I do appreciate the note. Thanks, Zoë

  9. I Zoe, I tried this recipe to the “T” except for the amount of sugar. I used one C, instead of the called for 2 1/2 C.
    Have no idea what went wrong. But it is still in the over after an hour and some. It is still “raw” I know my oven works right. Could changing the amount of sugar have something to do with the way it is??

    1. Hi Lyn,

      Changing a recipe can always effect the outcome, but in this case it sounds more like an oven temperature issue. You have an oven thermometer?

      Thanks, Zoë

      1. Hi Zoe, yes I do and it is pretty much right on.
        I ended up leaving them in the oven at 200 for about another hour.
        Needles to say. Husband LOVED them. Which was the out-come I wanted. Thanks for reply.

        1. Hello! The brownies look fantastic!! I wonder, the instant coffe, do you mean only the coffeepowder straight into the batter? Or mixed with water? Thanks 🙂

          1. Hi Nina,

            You can add it to the liquid before adding it to the batter, but it isn’t essential.

            Thanks, Zoë

  10. I’m a huge Lee Bailey fan, too. My favorite of his books is “Good Parties” – it has such amazing entertaining wisdom (don’t serve too many hors d’oeuvre!). And, you are so right about the photos in comparison to the internet “food porn” of today. My Lee Bailey books, like my Artisan Bread in Five, is dog eared and stained!

  11. Actually, I have a question before indulging in this high cost recipe.
    I have a family who doesn’t enjoy nuts in brownies or for that matter,
    much of anything. What if the nuts are omitted from this recipe; does it change structure in any way?

    1. Hi Carole,

      I have made them without nuts, since I have a son who prefers them without. I like the nuts, but they aren’t essential.

      Thanks, Zoë

  12. Why have you mixed lbs and ounces with cups for the measurement of ingredients? Please put it in lbs and ounces for us English people who want to try your recipes

  13. Oh my gosh I’ve had this book for as long as you have and somehow never made the brownies! I was too distracted by all those cakes.

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