My Perfect Brownie / by Anthony Michael Contrino

If there’s one thing we can agree on, it’s that brownies are one of the most iconic American desserts.  What we probably won’t agree on is whether it should be cakey, chewy or fudgy. Should it have nuts or chocolate chips?  Sprinkles?  Be swirled with peanut butter?  The debate could go on FOREVER.  

When it comes to the classics, I’m a purist - no inclusions, just a finger-licking chocolatey batter.  Since chocolate is the star, it is important that you use the best you can get your hands on.  I like to use Cacao Barry’s Favorites Me-Amère, which has a 58% cocoa content.  You don’t have to be as fancy, but please DO NOT use chocolate chips. These have additives to keep the chocolate from melting into a silky puddle.  And in case you were wondering, these brownies are a little cakey, a little chewy and a little fudgy.  

2/3 cup all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

6 ounces quality chocolate, 55-62% cocoa content, cut into bite-sized pieces

6 tablespoons unsalted butter

2 tablespoon vegetable oil

1-1/4 cups sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 large egg yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Line an 8x8 cake pan with aluminum foil, leaving tabs to help remove the brownies after baking.  Spray the foil with cooking spray; set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl, combine the flour, baking powder and salt; mix well.  Meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl, over a double boiler.  Once fully melted, remove from the heat.  Add the oil and stir to combine.  Add the sugar and light brown sugar and mix to combine.  Add the eggs, egg yolk and vanilla, and whisk for 2 minutes until the batter is glossy.  Add the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula, just long enough to combine all ingredients.  Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and bake until a cake tester shows moist crumbs, about 35 minutes.  Cool in the pan for 15 minutes before transferring the brownies to a cooling rack.  Carefully remove the foil.  Cut into 9 squares.