Really Great Brownies
My relationship with Brownies is long and complicated. It started a long time ago, in my childhood, when my mother’s aunt would make these fluffy brownies topped with a gooey, sweet and delicious chocolate glaze. So yes, those will forever set the bar for me. Then I got to taste a lot of other brownies, no glaze, glaze galore, on the sweet side, on the dark side, moist, fluffy, airy or flourless, some good, other great, a few unsatisfactory.
When I was 10 I found a recipe in a kids cookbook and started making that one with my cousins and friends; they were sweet and fluffy and had no glaze and we always thought they were pretty great, especially because we’d made them ourselves. Eleven or twelve years ago, I found a new recipe, one that called for very little flower and a dash of Cognac and it rendered a moist, slightly gooey brownie. It was such an easy recipe to make and a true crowd pleaser. But I made it so many times that eventually I got tired of it. Friends would still ask for it and I’d make it, but I stopped eating it because I had had enough. A couple of years ago, I stumbled upon David Lebovitz‘s Chewy-Dense Brownies recipe from The Perfect Scoop recipe book. I loved those and I still do, I like making them and serving them warm with vanilla ice-cream.
But then, last year, I found the ultimate recipe. I actually started from a recipe I found online and then I experimented a little with the ingredients and the most wonderful, moist, sweet but not too sweet, crackling glazed Brownie emerged from the oven. I was delighted to finally find a brownie to resemble the one I had as a child; I didn’t even know I was looking for that, but boy, was I happy to have found it.
This recipe is fool-proof, easy and so so good that there’s really no reason not to make it; unless you truly hate brownies, which is probably the only reason why you shouldn’t make this recipe. Otherwise, I urge you to get in the kitchen, pull up your sleeves and get crackin’, the result will not fail your expectations, I promise!
Really Great Glazed Brownies
For the Brownies:
125g/1 cup all-purpose flour
250g/2 cups coconut sugar (or any other sugar you like)
120g/1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
225g/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 free-range eggs
For the glaze:
115g/1 stick butter
375g/3 cups powdered coconut sugar made by processing 3 cups coconut sugar with 3 Tblsp potato or corn starch until very fine (or any other powdered sugar you like)
40g/1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 free-range egg
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
Preheat your oven to 180C/350F. Line a 20cm/9 in. square tin with aluminium foil, then grease bottom and sides with butter. I’m not a big fan of aluminium foil and I try to use it as rarely as possible, but I’ve found a recycled version and I use that, though sparingly.
Sift together the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt. Add the butter, vanilla, then the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, until everything is well combined. I like to to do this in my stand mixer, but you can use a handheld one or even a whisk. Pour into your prepared pan and bake for about 35-40 minutes. Set on a wire rack to cool.
While brownies are in the oven, make the glaze by melting the butter in a saucepan set over medium heat, then add the rest of the ingredients and whisk until well combined and smooth. Pour over the warm baked brownie in the pan. Allow glaze to set for about 15-20 minutes. When the brownies have cooled, slice them into 16 squares. For a clean cut, run your knife under hot water before each cut, making sure to pat the knife a little in order to dry excess water. Stack on a platter and enjoy!