The brownie is as American as apple pie. According to unscientific research, Wikipedia, the brownie was developed by a chef at Chicago’s Palmer House Hotel at the end of the 19th century after Bertha Palmer requested a dessert for ladies attending the Chicago Worlds Fair. Palmer wanted a dessert smaller than a piece of cake, though still retaining cake-like characteristics and easily eaten from boxed lunches. Thus this classic American confection was created. This weeks recipe for the TWD baking group is called “Best Ever Brownies.” Now, “Best Ever” is a pretty big claim. While on the one hand, I’m wary of absolutes; on the other hand, however, a recipe in a big fat cookbook containing over 400 recipes needs a sexy title to grab a baker’s attention. After all, I doubt many bakers would dirty up their kitchens for a recipe titled “Mediocre Brownies,” “Plain Old Brownies,” or worse yet “Ho Hum Brownies.”
This recipe is fairly simple. It calls for a half pound of butter and both unsweetened and bittersweet chocolate. (What’s not to love about that.) While some bakers in the group found the the suggested baking time, 28 mins, insufficient, I didn’t have a problem. My brownies baked up nicely in the suggested time. The recipe produces a dense brownie with a fudgey center and a crackly outer crust. It is sweet and buttery but not overly sweet. Given the amount of fat the recipe calls for, 2 sticks of butter, 4 eggs, for a 9x9 pan of brownies, these are pretty rich. Is it the "Best Ever Brownie?" I’d say these brownies are pretty darn good,but you can judge for yourself. Go to Tuesdays With Dorie for the recipe or better yet buy the book Baking With Julia by Dorie Greenspan.