You know why brownies are the perfect dessert? Because you can eat them with anything, at any time. Cabernet Sauvignon and brownies (as a night cap)? Check! Brownies and icy cold milk (for breakfast)? Check! A brownie as the base for a scoop of vanilla ice cream, a drizzle of hot fudge, and a dollop of whipped cream (for dinner - duh)? Done, done and done (as my pal Melissa would say).
For a long time (and I hate to admit this) I thought no brownies could ever taste better than those that come from a boxed mix. At least, none that I made tasted that good. But then I found the below recipe from the Williams-Sonoma Cooking at Home cookbook, and my mind was changed. These are, hands down, the absolute best classic brownie I have ever tasted -- from a box or from scratch or otherwise. The top is perfectly crunchy, while the center is ever-so-slightly gooey and moist. The key, I think, lies in melting the chocolate first and the quantity of eggs (whereas other recipes I've tried call for fewer eggs and cocoa powder). Whip up your own batch pronto!
Makes 16 Brownies
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1. Preheat oven to 325 degree Fahrenheit. Line a 8-inch square pan with foil, allowing the foil to overhand the sides slightly.
2. In a double-boiler, combine the chocolate and butter and allow to melt completely over medium-high heat. Allow to cool slightly.
3. Whisk the sugar, vanilla, and salt into the chocolate mixture. Slowly add in eggs, mixing well after each addition. Continue to whisk until the mixture is very smooth (about two minutes). Add the flour and whisk until just incorporated.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pan (scrape the bowl down!) and smooth the top of the brownie mixture. Bake for about 40 minutes or until the top it set and a toothpick inserted into the brownies comes out slightly moist and crumby. Let cool in the pan on a rack.
5. Pull the brownies out of the pan using the foil overhang. Cut into 16 squares. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to four days (or freeze for up to three months). Enjoy!