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the power of the brownie

Recipe: chewy brownies

I’m learning to say no.

Sometimes I’m too enthusiastic and take on more than I should – more than is good for me. I do try to be careful about saying yes to everything and short-changing myself and everyone else. That’s why I think saying no is just as important as saying yes because I don’t like myself when I’m spread too thin. I thought about this while I was in Yosemite last week as I had a lot of time in my own head and offline.

el capitan in late afternoon

After rummaging around my thoughts, I decided to make a few course corrections which all boil down to de-cluttering my life both literally and figuratively. I know I’m being vague. All you need to know is that I’m feeling good about it… feeling like my priorities are back on track. And speaking of priorities, I was passing through the produce section of Whole Foods in Boulder the other day when I spied Buddha’s hand citron. As you can guess, I totally bought (remember me, the hoard shopper) the hell out of them because I had to make this Buddha’s hand citron vodka. I’ve got 2 gallons infusing as I type because in addition to making great lemon drop martinis they also make fantastic gifts.

buddha’s hand… ever see district 9?

do not open until december 25

But Jen, you don’t do Christmas! This is true, however the end of the year is a great time to express your appreciation to those you rely upon for their services or friendships. I enjoy making handmade gifts of the edible persuasion and it seems that our recipients rather like them too. I tend to mix it up from year to year because variety is the spice of life. One evening last month, I tweeted “chewy or cakey brownies?” and everyone chimed in with their preferences. I had forgotten to include fudgy brownies in the choices. The majority stood behind chewy or fudgy, but whatever they stood behind, they were adamant about it. I didn’t know people were so particular about the texture of their brownies!

butter and chocolate

melting over a hot water bath

By the time I logged off of Twitter, people were grumbling that they were craving brownies with nary a brownie to eat and thanks a lot, Jen… I went back to my Fine Cooking archives in search of a brownie article they did over ten years ago. I remembered it had a recipe for chewy brownies – my favorites.

pour in sugar

stir in the eggs

The article covered all three kinds of brownies (cakey, chewy, fudgy), blondies, and brownie cookies. My first batch came out a little dry (my fault, I was multi-tasking). The second batch that you see below was perfectly chewy. The batter will be thick and greasy. That’s normal. I was worried at first, but it does eventually smooth out into recognizable brownies. Just make sure you pat it down evenly in the pan.

cocoa powder

scrape the batter into the pan

What I love about brownie recipes is that they are generally quick and simple to make. Not to mention people are crazy for brownies. Therefore brownies should be distributed often and with gusto. It’s a chocolate baked good that fits in your hand – that’s essentially a 2-inch square of love!

slice the brownies when they cool

chewy is my favorite

Chewy Brownies
[print recipe]
from Fine Cooking issue #34 (September 1999)

4 oz. unsalted butter, plus a little to grease the pan
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups sugar
scant 1/4 tsp salt
2 tsps vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4.5 oz. (1 cup) flour
2 tbsps cocoa powder (NOT Dutch-processed)

Oven: 350°F. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line the bottom of the pan with parchment paper and then butter the parchment. Melt the butter and chocolate in a double boiler (I just use my Kitchen Aid mixing bowl) over simmering water. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Stir in the sugar, salt, and vanilla. Beat the eggs in one at a time until blended. Add flour and cocoa and beat until the batter is just smooth. Pour the batter into the pan and bake on center rack in oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out almost clean (a few moist crumbs are okay, but no goop). This should take about 35 to 45 minutes. Set on a rack until cool enough to handle. Loosen edges with a knife and invert the brownie. Peel the parchment off the bottom, flip the brownies right-side-up and let cool completely. Cut with a sharp knife. Makes 16 2-inch square brownies.

38 nibbles at “the power of the brownie”

  1. Rosa says:

    That El Capitan picture is stunning! Love your Brownies too. Delightfully chewy and moist.



  2. Wei-Wei says:

    Not Dutch-processed? Haven’t seen that in a while… What would happen if I skipped the cocoa powder?

  3. Meryl says:

    I love these brownies – have made them many times!
    My new favorites are The “Baked” Brownies from “Baked: New Frontiers in Baking.” They’re on the fudgy side, but not gooey. (NOTE: I recommend cutting the salt in half).

  4. LimeCake says:

    I never have the self-control to slice them when cool. Don’t know how you do it. I could eat them straight outta the pan!

  5. Mollie says:

    my love… spread to thin? I feel ya sister. As I’m writing this at 5:10am with wet hair waiting on a conference call with India. This post came at a good time for my brain.

    If you’re gonna “not do” christmas, vodka is an EXCELLENT way to un-do it if you ask me :)

    And lastly – 2 inch? mmph…. all things in moderation, including moderation my dear. Must make these soon, tho we do adore your rice krispie infused blondies on a regular basis…

  6. fanny says:

    can I move in with you? for both the view and brownies. xx

  7. Caitlin says:

    And here I was, looking for a chewy brownie recipe since the last one failed me. It’s like you can read my mind!

  8. briarrose says:

    Beautiful and delicious.

  9. Tamar@StarvingofftheLand says:

    Whew. For a minute there, I thought you were learning to say no to chewy brownies, and I was going to have to come out there and set you straight.

  10. Joy says:

    OMG those look so good. I so want a brownie now.

  11. Hannah @ Bake Five says:

    i do love to munch on chewy brownies! you rock

  12. Teagan says:

    Ohhhh goodness, I need these in my life right now!
    :o making these tonight, asap. as soon as I get in the door. It’s the right thing to do.

    Thanks for posting :)

  13. Laurel says:

    Jen, brownies are nice but your Yosemite photos are just stunning. Sure, it’s a landscape that gives a photographer a lot to work with, but your work is unique and gorgeous above and beyond the inherent natural beauty. Looking forward to more on your photo blog soon.

  14. Debbie Cunningham says:

    Now you’ve gone and done it! Guess what I will be making tonight? ;)

    Fabulous shot of El Capitan. That turn-off there is one of my faves…

  15. Nancy says:

    Baking treats to send overseas to the troops…I think if these stay fresh, they will definitely be included in the package for the Holidays! (And they look wonderful, so will probably have to have two batches…one for here and one to go!)

  16. Bryn says:

    What could be better than these chewy love-squares?

    Only that pic of El Capitan, by golly. Just simply stunning. Visual chewy brownie. :)

  17. burkie says:

    i will never understand why cakey brownies even exist. chewy/fudgey is the only way to go!

  18. angelitacarmelita says:

    Chewy rules… and I had no idea the sky was SO blue. Thank you so much for the lovely perspective on channeling a kinder simpler profile of one’s self (the end of the year is a great time to take stock of that kind of thing), for the incredible photo and oh yeah, making me want a chewy brownie RIGHT NOW. I am so making these this weekend. And I agree w/burkie, why does cakey brownie exist?

  19. D says:

    those look absolutely perfect!!! Brava!

    Not spreading yourself too thin is so valuable, congrats for having the strength to do it (it’s so hard to say no!)

  20. Amanda says:

    Chewy brownies are the best!

  21. Lucie says:

    What a beautiful picture of Yosemite. I would definitely be OK with a pan of brownies, sitting in front of that view!

  22. Nisrine@Dinners & Dreams says:

    Wow, amazing brownies. I have to print this recipe because I simply adore chewy brownies!

  23. marla {family fresh cooking} says:

    It is tough to set boundaries & say “no” from time to time. But it sure makes life a heck of a lot more tolerable. El Capitan is breathtaking! So are those brownies. xo

  24. Faith says:

    Oh wow… YUM. Chewy, chewy brownies are pretty much my favorite thing! These look delicious and your blog is STUNNINGLY BEAUTIFUL!!!

  25. shana says:

    I made your brownies tonight. I think they would have been much better had I been able to use butter and real baking chocolate. I needed to make them dairy-free, soy-free. They were OK, but I think I need to tweak them more for a rich, chocolatey flavor. Thanks for the ideas, though!

  26. Rachel @ Baked by Rachel says:

    Still searching for a perfect chewy fudgy brownie – will have to give these a try. Thanks! :)

  27. the best brownies « any afternoon says:

    […] Chewy Brownies Adapted from Fine Cooking issue #34 (September 1999) – I found it through Jen […]

  28. Scotchcake says:

    I am so glad I stumbled across URB! Fantastic photography AND fantastic recipes? I’m blissful, I tell ya. Thank you!

  29. CantStopBaking says:

    So glad I tried this recipe! So many recipes for brownies look the same, but these were in a different league! I could not stop eating them, I dont think they made it through the night. Thanks for an amazing recipe!

  30. jenyu says:

    Wei-Wei – I don’t know what the cocoa powder adds. Try it?

    Meryl – thanks for the recipe!

    Mollie – :) I’m slowly getting back into the swing of things. Just happy to not be traveling for a while. Not doing Christmas means that I actually don’t end up hating humanity ;)

    Fanny – sure thing!

    Caitlin – well, we had that implant done in our heads in SF way back when, don’t you remember?

    Tamar – oh dear, I promise to keep myself in line. Although, if it means you’d come out here, then perhaps I need to say no to brownies?!? ;)

    Laurel – aw, thanks! Of course, I haven’t updated the photo blog in forever!

    Burkie & angelitacarmelita – no idea about cakey brownies. Lots of food bloggers wonder the same thing :)

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  33. Jess says:

    Been searching high and low for the perfect brownie recipe
    For my heart shaped pan. I’m ashamed to say I usually buy a box :-( but not this year! Your orange curd was fantastic can’t wait to try these :-)

  34. Vicky says:

    I wanted to know where you buy your chocolate, since I’ve been experimenting and I really want a brand I can trust.

  35. jenyu says:

    Vicky – these days I get it from Whole Foods – typically Valrhona.

  36. Irene says:

    What flour did you use?
    Cake flour? Plain flour??

  37. jenyu says:

    Irene – all purpose unbleached flour.

  38. Melanie says:

    I just want to tell you that I just went through all of my go-to blogs for the perfect blondie or brownie recipe to whip up to share at work tomorrow. Every one I clicked on; nope, that’s not right, no, that one either- for all of my blogs! These are accomplished chefs/bakers! I finally checked yours (why didn’t I go there first, right?) and THERE it is! The perfect brownie. Thank you for being so diligent and thoughtful in your recipe sharing. It shows and it is appreciated. I still only use your chocolate chip cookie recipe (but I add just about 1/3c flour because I like a little more heft to them). Thank you for what you do!

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