Wednesday, March 10, 2010

King Arthur Brownies

My BF tells me that I quantify things too much. Maybe he's right. Maybe it has something to do with my mathematics background, but there is definitely something that just feels right about quantifying things, especially when it comes to food.

After preparing a bunch of different dishes for dinner, my first instinct is to mentally rank them, and then of course, to ask him to rank them. Whenever we go out to eat or even attend dinner parties, I mentally rate everything I taste, and then of course, ask him to do the same. I also keep several mental lists: favorite restaurants, favorite types of cuisines, favorite savory foods, and my favorite favorites list: desserts. Unfortunately, this is a difficult list to maintain because it changes frequently and often based on my moods (certain times of the month,etc.). Often times, I find two contenders on this list battling it out for first place: chocolate cupcakes and the ever-popular chocolate brownies. They both hold a special place in my heart, but today brownies is number 1 on my list.

I am definitely a chewy fudgy brownie person. To me, the fate of a cakey brownie is to be melted down, combined with more butter and chocolate and turned into a chewy fudgy brownie. I have tried a few brownie recipes including Dorie Greenspans classic brownies (me likey!) and another recipe I have taped to my cabinet (no joke) but forgot where I got it from. This time I decided to try the highly coveted King Arthur Flour brownies.
The verdict? These brownies get an A (here's me quantifying again) for texture: they were very chewy and fudgy and not at all gummy. Unfortunately, they get a B+ for flavor. To me, these brownies did not yield a profound chocolate flavor, I actually found the chocolate level to be rather mild and disappointingly flat. I thought that they would improve over time, but 2 days later they were still a bit disappointing. Don't get me wrong -- they are not bad brownies, just not the sublime ones I was hoping for. Ok, so maybe it was my fault: I didn't add the optional espresso powder, and I'm not sure if the cocoa I used was Dutch processed. I will definitely try these brownies again with those changes, but next on my list is the Baked Brownie. If you've tried it, I'd love to hear how they turned out for you.
King Arthur's Fudge Brownies (adapted from here)
*1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
*2 1/4 cups sugar
*4 large eggs
*1 1/4 cups Dutch-process cocoa
*1 teaspoon salt
*1 teaspoon baking powder
*1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
*1 tablespoon vanilla extract
*1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
*2 cups chocolate chips

1.Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan.
2. In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it's hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.
3. While the sugar heats a second time, crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.
4. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
5. Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.
6. Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.
7. Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.


  1. Ooooh, these photos are so good, I can visually taste them! I have to eat up your awesome banana muffins, or I'd make these in a heartbeat...I tend to love KAF!

  2. I made these on Sunday and I loved loved loved them. I did use the King Arthur cocoa that I ordered on their website. I don't know if I'll be able to ever use another cocoa now. I'll be posting about these!

  3. I've made these brownies many of times, and my students and colleagues love them. I do add espresso powder, and I use regular cocoa powder. I am surprised you found the flavor flat on these brownies. That must mean you have a much better brownie recipe taped on your cabinet haha. Have you shared this recipe on here? I must try it.

    I don't think I've tried the "Baked" brownie, but almost everything from that cookbooks seems to be amazing.

    I love the first photo of your brownies. OMG!! The melty part is killing me!! It's making me want to jump up and make some brownies. You're so bad haha.

  4. The picture is definitely getting me willing to eat brownies right away... I have decent cocoa powder at home and will put them on my to-bake-list (ever growing...). when I try them, I will let you know !:)

  5. These look beautiful. I appreciate your honesty about their shortcomings. Enjoy the day.

  6. Those Brownies look mighty scrumptious and wonderfully fidgy!



  7. The photos look delish! Fudgey, dark and moist. I'm really surprised you thought they should have a more chocolate taste...espresso usually accentuates the chocolate too.
    I have used my sister-in-law's recipe for years and probably will never try another...I don't make them all that much anymore now that the kids are gone.

  8. They look delicious, but I see why they didn't taste chocolatey enough. My calculations (quantifying in effect) tell me you should have another 1/4 cup of cocoa for that amount of butter, sugar, and flour. Or at the least 2 tablespoons more...
    Have you tried Green & Blacks Organic cocoa-it's awesome!?

  9. The baked brownie is awesome, it's my go to recipe. They are nice and fudgy and chewy, and the espresso powder definitely adds to the taste.

  10. This is my favorite brownie recipe too - I especially love the crinkly top it makes. Your photos are enticing me to think about making a batch soon :-)

  11. Lovely pics! Very enticing! It's so good to get someones honest opinion about a recipe. Just looking at the recipe I would think it would be very flavoursome. Although Stella calculates that there should be more cocoa and maybe the espresso powder will add that zing. I don't know I'm still looking for the ultimate brownie recipe.

  12. It looks so yummy! My little girls love brownies. We make them bought ones. I've never made them from scratch but this recipe is definitely a must-try!

  13. i don't think you could make a fudgier looking brownie!

  14. I'm a ranker also (again, the whole math thing...this is what happens when you go to an engineering school). And a fudgy brownie person (we are like two peas in a pod!). These brownies definitely look delicious...I will be making them soon and letting you know the rank of course.

  15. i am totally with you when it comes to fudgy brownies! here's the link to my all-time favorite recipe:

    i'm going to try this version sometime and compare the two! these look awesome!

  16. cake-like brownies are useless to me. if i wanted cake, i'd eat cake. i love the goo-factor of these and i love that you're a rater like me. here's hoping you find a batch that merits an a in both flavor and texture. :)

  17. I love fudgy brownies too! These look really good but surprised to hear they weren't chocolatey enough. Looking forward to hearing about the baked brownie, must admit I'd never heard of that one before (aren't all brownies baked?)

  18. Oh, yes! These are my kind of brownies -- dense and fudgey, with no need for frosting! In a word, Perfect!

    As for your habits regarding quantification... well, that doesn't sound so off-base either. My English background translates things a bit differently, but I'm definitely a LIST girl. Everything ends up on a mental list of some sort. And I'm always reordering things according to my latest fancy or preference. You're not alone!

  19. That's such a rich delicious looking brownie. I love brownies.....a lot! Thanks for sharing. MaryMoh from

  20. oh man that brownie looks GREAT !!

    did you pair it with some chocolate icecream maybe- or top with choc fudge sauce? if it wasnt choclate-y enough for you :P

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  22. I am definitely a chewy/fudgey brownie person! And that first photo has me SALIVATING! WOW WOW WOW!

  23. i'm 100% on the side of chewy fudgy brownies... yum

  24. Thanks for visiting my blog! This whole food bloggin' world is so much fun! I think I want to try these! I am always looking for a healthier way to do things.