Best of the Brownie

It is often thought that brownies are the lucky result of a cook’s mistake. Rumor has it that the cook in question left the baking powder out of her cake and it fell in. She didn’t want it to go to waste so she cut squares of the flat cake and served it as a new delicacy. While it makes for an entertaining tale, it can hardly be true, as brownies are denser than a fallen cake and contain no liquid other than eggs.

Basic brownie recipes contain little or no leaveners like baking powder or soda and they always call for the chocolate and butter or margarine to be melted. Original recipes don’t include flavorings such as vanilla or rum and are often made with unsweetened chocolate. The classic brownie consists of very few ingredients: butter or margarine, sugar, chocolate, eggs and flour. These ingredients result in a fudgy brownie which purists habitually claim is the only authentic brownie. Melting the butter rather than creaming it with sugar yields a denser, fudgier outcome. Creaming incorporates air into the mixture, which causes the brownies to rise. Many recipes use unsweetened chocolate with plenty of sugar to balance its bitterness.

This recipe is dairy — you can replace the butter with margarine and the dulce de leche with pareve caramel cream.

Chocolate Turtle Brownies

8 tablespoons butter (1 stick), cut into chunks

7 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped

3/4 cup flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2/3 cup chopped pecans, about 3 ounces

1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips (optional)

1/2 cup dulce de leche (milk caramel)

Preheat oven to 325°F. Prepare a piece of parchment paper 15” long. Fold it lengthwise to form a 9”-wide piece. With fold face-down, place parchment into a 9”-square pan, allowing excess to hang over the edges of the pan. Spray with grease-and-flour spray.

Melt butter and chocolate in a double boiler. Stir occasionally until smooth and combined; cool. Whisk together flour and baking powder; set aside. In a separate bowl, beat eggs. Add sugar, salt and vanilla; whisk until combined. Add cooled chocolate mixture; whisk together. Add flour and stir to combine. Add chopped pecans and optional chocolate chips.

Spread half of brownie batter in prepared pan. Drizzle 1/4 cup caramel over batter. Drop remaining batter in large mounds over caramel layer. Drizzle additional 1/4 cup caramel over batter. Using tip of a knife, swirl with batter. Bake brownies for 35 to 40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center comes out with some moist crumbs attached. Cool brownies on wire rack for 1 1/2 hours.

Holding the parchment edges that hang over the edge of the pan, lift out brownies. Peel away paper. Cut brownies into 25 squares.

Classic Brownies With White Chocolate Glaze

15 tablespoons butter or margarine, cut into small pieces

15 ounces semisweet

3 ounces unsweetened

2 1/4 cups sugar

6 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons instant coffee

1 cup flour


6 ounces quality white
chocolate, pareve or dairy, finely chopped

1/3 cup heavy cream or topping


Preheat oven to 325°F and center a rack in the oven.

Spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray and place a piece of parchment paper in it to fit.

Melt chocolate and butter in a double boiler until just melted. Remove the pan from the heat and let come to room temperature.

Using a mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the chocolate mixture with sugar on medium low. Add the eggs. Add the vanilla and the instant coffee. Add flour and stir.

Scrape the batter into your prepared pan and smooth out evenly with a spatula.

Bake for 30 minutes. Let the brownies cool completely.

To make the glaze, put the white chocolate into a heatproof bowl. Bring the cream to a boil and pour over the chocolate. Let it sit for a full 2 minutes. Gently stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture is smooth.

Pour the white chocolate over the cooled brownie. Using an offset spatula, spread the glaze evenly. Refrigerate the brownies for about 20 minutes before cutting into squares.