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Brownie Showdown

Yesterday I decided to do a brownie taste test. When I go back East to visit Leigh (or on the rare occasions he comes out to California) I make a different brownie recipe and I always ask if he likes the brownies or the older ones. The conversation usual goes something like this:

Me: “So, do you like this recipe better than the older one?”

Him: “They’re both delicious”

Me: “That’s not helpful. Which one is better?”

Him: “We’re dating. Everything is delicious.”

So, he is no longer useful in taste testing recipes. However he DOES have a 15 year old brother who also likes baked goods and is very opinionated. After Leigh proved to be unhelpful in giving more of an opinion I asked his brother if he would test three different brownie recipes.

To say he was willing to participate is quite the understatement.

Yesterday was the big day, I brought over three different recipes. One from Joy the Baker, David Lebovitz and Brown Eyed Baker.

Joy the Baker is my go to recipe that I posted waaay back when I first started the blog. The picture is hilarious. Oh man. Usually there are chocolate chips on top of these brownies, but I didn’t want to sway the decision by having familiar brownies. I love these, but they definitely benefit from having the chocolate chips on top. They make the brownies more chocolatey and fudgy, I think. Otherwise, without the chocolate chips they have a lighter, less full chocolate flavor.

I’ve made David Lebovitz’s brownies,which come from his new book Ready For Dessert on page 196. The book is amazing, if you haven’t at least thumbed through it go to your local book store and do so.  You won’t be sorry. These brownies had the shortest ingredient list, and were the most moist and fudgy of the batch, with a deep chocolatey flavor. I believe this is helped by taking them out of the oven as soon as the middle is “just set”. They cool in the pan and then you move them to the cooling rack. I think the easiest way to cut these is to put them in the freezer first, because they are super fudgy and gooey. And they are delicious.

This was my first time making the brownies from Michelle of  Brown Eyed Baker, mostly because she just posted them. These ones had the longest list of ingredients, but are absolutely delicious and made the most out of all the recipes. These brownies also contained the most chocolate, but I’d have to eat a lot more of the David Lebovitz brownies and these to determine which one is more chocolatey. However, in the taste that ended up including 7 people these were the unanimous  winner. I like this recipe the most because they make more than David Lebovitz’s recipe, I also think that they have a better balance between fudgy and gooey.

The Baked Brownie

From Brown Eyed Baker

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup (8 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 teaspoon instant espresso powder
1½ cups granulated sugar
½ cup packed light brown sugar
5 eggs, at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350. Line 9×13 pan with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl mix together the cocoa powder, flour and salt.

Fill a small or medium sized pot with about an inch of water and place a heat-proof bowl over it. (This creates a double boiler. If you actually have a double boiler feel free to use that). To that bowl add the chopped dark chocolate, butter and espresso powder. Stir until the butter and chocolate have completely melted. Keep the bowl on the pot, but turn off the heat and add both the brown sugar and the regular sugar stirring until both sugars have dissolved.

Remove the bowl from the pot. The mixture should be at room temperature. Add each egg, mixing until just combined after each addition. Add in vanilla and mix just until combined.

Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate and gently fold in the flour using a spatula. There will be a few bits of flour not mixed, its fine. Pour the mixture into the parchment lined pan. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out without of the brownies with just a few crumbs attached.  Let cool then cut into squares and serve with a glass of delicious cold milk.

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