Have you ever tried a recipe where you felt if you tweaked it just that tiniest bit, it would be the best thing ever? Have you then proceeded to try ten different versions of it, each time altering the recipe just a wee bit, getting frustrated by how close you were to the mark, but how you couldn’t quite get there?
Well, this fudgy brownie recipe was one that I just could not stop tinkering with. I tried so many different combinations over the past few months that it became difficult to keep track of them. I added more butter. I added nuts (see photo below). I subbed some of the butter with vegetable oil. I cut out the white sugar completely. I added more brown sugar. I added more cocoa powder. I added more chocolate chips. I did a dance before putting them in the oven.
But something, something was always off. It was either too oily, too crumbly, not sweet enough or the biggest dagger of them all – not chocolatey enough. How can you have brownies that are not chocolatey enough?! That is sacrilege!
Now, don’t get me wrong – the original recipe by Nigella is very good, it’s just that both my husband and I crave the really intense chocolate flavors in our desserts. And now, I am happy to report that all that time spent perfecting this recipe was totally worth it, because this brownie has chocolatiness (just coined a new word, hah!) oozing out of its every pore.
Don’t be shy to add all the chocolate this recipe calls for – the embarrassingly large quantities of cocoa powder and chocolate chips really make these brownies what they are. I’ll admit, I said a little prayer to the cacao gods when I dumped the second cup of chocolate chips in the batter, completely convinced that I was going to have a hot gooey mess on my hands, but it worked, and how! You could, of course, go all fancy on me and use the finest chocolate bars and Dutch processed cocoa powder and all that stuff (mail me a piece or two, will ya?), but the humble grocery store chocolate chips and cocoa powder work just fine!
The name of my recipe probably gives it away, but this brownie really is incredibly moist and intensely fudgy, but once cooled has that lovely crackly top that all good brownies should have. (This crackly top was a little tricky to achieve. I had a vague recollection of America’s Test Kitchen saying something about the perfect ratio of saturated and unsaturated fats to use in the brownie batter, in order to get the right moistness to crackly texture, but as with most good advice that I received in my life, I only remembered bits and pieces of it). However, I slogged it out in the kitchen, and as you can see, this recipe produces the most beautiful cracked top.
And while we are talking about beautiful tops, can we talk about this gorgeous wooden board that my father-in-law made for me over Christmas? It is made with spalted maple (see those beautiful black lines?) and is one of the most gorgeous pieces of wood I have ever seen in my life! It is absolutely stunning! I cannot wait to shoot more photographs using it!
And I can tell you right away that you can expect even more photographs of dessert in the next few days – a dense, ooey-gooey chocolatey dessert, to be exact. The Professor’s birthday is coming up and he has requested a classic Viennese chocolate cake (can you guess what it is?), so stay tuned for more recipes dripping with chocolate!
Meanwhile, here is the brownie recipe –