best ever brownies

best ever brownies | the merry gourmet

I am off work today, on a scheduled day off that I planned for as a reward for working the last 18 days straight. I’ve already checked my work email three times, and I’ve spent 15 minutes logged in to the hospital’s electronic medical record to check on some of my patients. Have I mentioned that I’m terrible at days off?

I also woke up sick, of course. My throat is filled with shards of glass, and coughing makes me wince. My joints ache and my brain feels foggy. When I sneeze, the cats startle and dash out of the room.

I’m medicated now, with Sudafed and ibuprofen, and I’ve had a cup of coffee and a bowl of steel cut oats. I think I’ll be able to face the day, once the full effect of the medications kick in.

My daughter forgot her lunch box at home. Again. She’s always forgetting something, and my husband and I are tired of having to bring whatever she’s left at home – her lunch, the safety patrol belt, her backpack even. Today, I’m taking a stand. I will not bring her lunch box to her, even though I could.

It’s sad for her, really, because she’s going to miss out on the individually wrapped Best Ever Brownie that is nestled in the box, beside the ham sandwich and the strawberry GoGurt.

I baked two batches of these brownies last weekend. I intended to make just one, but these brownies were heavenly, and one pan simply wasn’t enough. I froze a good number of brownies, wrapped individually for future lunchbox use. I took most of a batch to work, to reward my team of students and residents for their hard work over the past two weeks. The rest were fought over by my kids and shared with play-date friends. My husband may have had one or two.

I only had a fraction of one, just enough of a taste to know that I would name them the Best Ever Brownies. They are deserving of that title.

So my daughter’s lunch will remain home with me today. Maybe she’ll learn to be responsible, and to keep track of things that are important to her.

And maybe I’ll be having a brownie for lunch today.

best ever brownies | the merry gourmet

Yield: 24 2-inch brownies

Best Ever Brownies

My favorite brownie is rich and chewy in the center, with no nuts to tarnish the chocolate flavor. These brownies bake up in just 40 minutes and completely fit my criteria for a perfect brownie. The name may be presumptuous, but these really are my family's Best Ever Brownies.

Hint: Use excellent chocolate when baking these. I've used both Ghirardelli and Scharffen Berger, with good results.


2 sticks (1 cup; 226 grams) unsalted butter
8 ounces (227 grams) bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1-1/4 cup (157 grams) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1-3/4 cup (350 grams) granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2-1/2 teaspoons vanilla


Heat oven to 350 degrees with rack in the middle position. Butter the bottom and sides of a 9- x 13-inch baking pan. Line the pan with parchment paper to make a sling, with the sides of the paper overhanging the pan sides. Butter the parchment.

Melt butter and chocolate in a medium heat-proof bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until the chocolate is melted and smooth.

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder; whisk until blended.

In a large bowl, whisk together sugar, eggs, and vanilla. Pour in melted chocolate and whisk until well combined. Stir in flour mixture. Transfer batter to the prepared baking pan.

Bake for 40 minutes, or until top of brownies is shiny and set and the sides have begun to pull away slightly. Cool brownies in the pan on a rack until room temperature, then lift out the parchment onto a cutting board. Cut brownies into 2-inch squares.

Note: Store brownies in an airtight container, between sheets of wax paper or parchment, for two to three days. Or, wrap individual brownies in plastic wrap, place wrapped brownies in a freezer bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Adapted from this recipe from Gourmet, October 2003.

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10 Responses to “best ever brownies”

  1. 1
    Kathryn — September 19, 2014 @ 9:34 am

    I think you should definitely have a brownie for lunch today! I hope you feel better soon, I can’t even being to imagine what working for 18 days solid must be like and how physically/emotionally draining it must be. Thank goodness for brownies.

  2. 2
    dixya@food,+pleasure,+and+health — September 19, 2014 @ 9:46 am

    brownie for lunch – yes, yes, and yes. have an extra slice for me 🙂

  3. 3

    Being terrible at days off can only mean one thing, you love your job – and that’s definitely not a bad thing!!
    I hope you feel better, is the worst when you’re sick and can’t even enjoy being home, on a planning vacation day.
    THese brownies sound divine … yum!

  4. 4
    Kristen — September 19, 2014 @ 12:19 pm

    If I left my lunch at home and then found out these were in it I would be so sad!
    I hope you feel better. I’m totally going to make these this weekend! Brownies are my weakness!

  5. 5
    Lizthechef — September 19, 2014 @ 12:28 pm

    I, too, am a brownie “purist” and refuse to add nuts. Good quality chocolate makes such a difference..Fell better soon –

  6. 6
    Ksenia @ At the Immigrant's Table — September 19, 2014 @ 9:13 pm

    I would be very upset to miss out on these brownies if I was your daughter! They look perfectly moist and chewy. Hope you get better!

  7. 7
    emily — September 20, 2014 @ 2:57 pm

    they were the talk of the town in the team workroom on Monday, so I can attest that they really are the best ever brownies! hope you feel better soon, and have a restful weekend.

  8. 8
    Paula — September 23, 2014 @ 9:10 am

    I hope you are well on the way to feeling more like yourself. I bet your daughter was pretty hungry by the time she got home from school!
    The top of these brownies are perfect and it’s easy to see that they are no doubt, the best brownies ever. Will have to give this recipe a tour of my own oven soon 🙂

  9. 9
    Teresa, foodonfifth — September 27, 2014 @ 5:28 pm

    I must try this as the claim is quite seductive….The Best Brownie Ever….with that bravado I am sure it is the best ever and I am doing to try this when I get my next brownie craving. They certainly look moist and yummy. Lovely post.

  10. 10
    annelies — October 1, 2014 @ 8:07 pm

    Well, you had me at brownies, but really, your residents and students must love working with you. Three cheers for second batches of best brownies (and I hope you feel better soon).

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