Browned Butter Brownies

When I saw the cover of February’s Bon Appétit, I knew the editors were speaking directly to me.  The cover of the latest issue proclaimed “Best-Ever Brownies,” with the warning: “You will eat the entire tray.”  The delicious-looking brownies exploded from the page, calling to me, and since had every ingredient I needed already at home, it was just a matter of time before I baked them.

But I spent a good week debating.  After all, with that kind of warning, I was scared.  I certainly didn’t want to eat the entire tray.  Then again, if I did, wouldn’t I only be following instructions?

I’m usually a lazy brownies-out-of-the-box kind of girl, with the exception of Blondies, which is the brown sugar version I most often make.  But the technique of the recipe reminded me of the Blondies (soon to be featured on the blog), since it started with melting the butter over the stove.  The recipes featured in the cover story were all about using unsweetened cocoa powder to make better chocolate desserts, and considering my love for dark chocolate, I had to give one a try.

I was warned that I would eat the entire tray

I cut the original recipe’s sugar down a bit, but not enough to change the consistency of the batter.  I also substituted pecan pieces for the original recipe’s walnuts, and ended up having to add 15 minutes to the original recipe’s baking time.

Browned butter brownies

Recipe adapted from the Bon Appétit recipe for Cocoa Brownies with Browned Butter and Walnuts

Print recipe

Ingredients

  • Nonstick vegetable oil spray
  • 10 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup natural unsweetened cocoa powder (spooned into cup to measure, then leveled)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs, chilled
  • 1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1 cup pecan pieces

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Line an 8”x8”x2” pan with aluminum foil, allowing the foil to hang over the edges of the pan by about 1 inch.  Coat the foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.  Stir constantly for about 5 minutes and remove from heat when butter stops foaming and small browned bits begin to form on the bottom of pan.
  3. Immediately add the sugar, cocoa powder, vanilla extract, water and salt.
  4. Allow mixture to cool for 5 minutes.  Then add eggs, one at a time, stirring until each is combined into the batter.
  5. Add the flour and stir until combined, about 80 strokes.
  6. Add the pecan pieces, and pour into pan.
  7. Bake about 40 minutes, until toothpick inserted in center comes out nearly clean (with only a few crumbs attached).
  8. Allow to cool in the pan, and remove by lifting the sides of the foil.  Cut into 16 squares.  Store airtight at room temperature.

Verdict: I did not eat the entire tray.  I ate three brownies; two right after the batch came out of the oven when the brownies were still warm and gooey, then one later once they had cooled (I had to make sure the final result was the correct consistency, right?)  The brownies were excellent, and now I can never go back to making brownies from a box.  They were that good.

As promised, they were the perfect blend of crispy top and fudgy center.  But the brownies were so rich and chocolatey, I don’t think I could have eaten the whole tray if I tried.  It was like my daily lunchtime dessert of one Dove dark chocolate square—satisfying, and just the right amount.  Unlike milk chocolate which just leaves me wanting more, the brownies were like the dark chocolate in that one small serving satisfied my chocolate craving.  Lucky for me (and everyone else with whom I could now share the brownie tray), I was more in danger of finishing the entire carton of milk.

12 thoughts on “Browned Butter Brownies

  1. Ok, now I’m really hungry! I have a favorite recipe for brownies that is also quite delicious and simple that I very rarely make them from a box. I use the One Bowl Brownies that comes with the Baker’s unsweetened chocolate bar.

  2. WOW! I made these to rave reviews – one woman commented that they must have 200% chocolate in them. In the kitchen, I only had butter with big salt crystals in it so I decided to try with that and add no extra salt. I was worried they would be too salty, but the saltiness actually complemented the chocolatey richness. I also used a real vanilla bean, which I cut open and mixed in with the sugar (vanilla extract is strangely difficult to find here). I’m not sure it was worth the extra effort relative to the extract, but the brownies definitely disappeared in a hurry…

    Browned butter is apparently called “beurre noisette” in French – it literally means hazelnut butter. I guess the name comes from the nutty flavor that browning gives to the butter. I’m going to have to try browned butter in other places now too – I have heard it is a good (albeit rich!) topping for pasta (I’m thinking ravioli) and fish also.

    • OMG – Anna! These are SO delicious! I followed your recipe, but substituted butterscotch chips for the almonds (didn’t want to kill anyone with a nut allergy at the bake sale). What ooey, gooey, goodness! I’m so sad they have to go to Daren’s school, but I have no doubt they will be a HUGE hit! Thanks for sharing. 🙂

      • Jenny, the butterscotch chips were a fantastic substitution! When Daren sent me the recipe I thought there couldn’t’ve been pecans in there or I wouldn’t have eaten them! I hope you saved a few for yourselves…

  3. Hi Barbara – Glad that you liked them! Anna posts wonderful recipes like this on her blog all the time. 🙂 And rest assured that Daren and I “sampled” a few before they went to SJCL! lol.

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