Recipe #16: Sebastian’s Remarkably Wonderful Brownies

My family has only used one brownie recipe ever: the brownie recipe from The Silver Palate Cookbook. This recipe is so well known in my family one of my sisters can make it from memory. The cookbook has even fallen apart at that page. But what’s not to love about, it’s easy, requires few, easy to find, typical brownie ingredients, and is always delicious. But I wanted to make brownies, only using what I had in my cabinet, and I had coco-powder instead of unsweetened chocolate bars.

So I opened Dorie’s Cookies to find the first recipe: a brownie recipe that used coco-powder. PERFECT!

This recipe does not originate from Dorie Greenspan, but a culinary pen pal of her’s, Sebastian Alexander. She describes the brownies as “creamy, slightly chewy at the center and slightly crunchy at the edges” as a result of the total time you end up beating the sugar and butter for. I was glad I read the intro, where it is clear the success is in the mixing of ingredients to reach the right consistency.

And so begins my attempt of a brownie recipe outside my family’s beloved one.

Read through the recipe, prepared my ingredients, and time to mix the butter and sugar with my hand mixer. You end up beating the batter for at least 10 minutes, and I choose a hand mixer. Not the smartest idea I have had in the kitchen. I primarily used my stand mixer, and was looking for a reason to use the hand, and thought this would be it.

Picking the hand mixer wasn’t an issue for the recipe’s success, it just gave my right forearm a little workout.

And I discovered that I don’t make cakes or bars enough because the batter perplexed me. In my head I always think a cake or bar batter will be more liquid and this felt thicker, making the pouring into the pan and spreading a little challenging. But the batter made it into the pan with success and into the oven.

The best part of making these was walking out of the kitchen while they baked, only to walk back in to be overwhelmed by the aroma of chocolate.

They were a little challenging to take out of the pan, but that may more be a sign of my inability to wait until they were fully cooled, but they were still chocolatey and delicious. I may be making these instead of the Silver Palate recipe from now on.


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