best. brownie. ever.

happiness in a little square

i hate being sick ... i've missed half a week of work. i've missed the first day of two classes. i've missed a nephew's first birthday party. the clarithromycin horse pills are giving me nausea and headache all day. you'd think it's humanly impossible to sleep 18 hours a day for two days straight, but unfortunately i proved it isn't.

but after feeling better this morning and going absolutely stir crazy this afternoon, i decided i just had to bake. something, anything. it needed to be with whatever ingredients i had around, and something easy to whip up with not much physical effort. and after being laid up in bed for the past three days, it needed to be something comforting.

the chocolate cure
welcome to the perfectest and bestest brownie. ever. how can something so simple and common be so delicious and superlative? i'm a firm believer that the best sensations on your tastebuds aren't always from the most exotic of ingredients or daring of combinations. sometimes ... it's just plain, simple, and unadorned chocolate.

you won't need another brownie recipe (or ever go back to that mr. hines box!) after you try this one. it's fudgy without being dense. comes out with the requisite crispy top and just the right bit of chewiness. even with just the old standby of ghirardhelli, it had a great deep robust chocolate flavor, without being too sweet. no extra nuts, no redundant chocolate ganache. just pure brownie heaven.

and yes, i know this is my second "vote for me" plea, but 'tis the election season, so let's get in the spirit! this is my entry for the death by chocolate contest hosted by the lovely folks over at culinate. so click on this pretty logo below to vote for me ... because sending the mimis to sunny napa may be just what the doctor ordered :)

best. brownie. ever: makes 16
from martha's baking handbook (2005, p. 119)

1 stick (1/2 cup) butter
8 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt

1. preheat oven to 350F. butter 8-inch square pan, line with parchment paper, leaving 1-inch overhang on two sides. set aside.

2. place butter and chocolate in large heatproof bowl set over, but not touching, simmering water; stir frequently until both are melted, about 7 minutes. remove bowl from heat and let cool to room temp, 10-15 minutes.

go ahead, lick the bowl :)

3. stir sugar into cooled chocolate mixture until combined. whisk in eggs one at a time, whisking until smooth after each egg. whisk in vanilla. gently fold in flour and salt.

4. pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top with offset spatula. bake until cake tester comes out with only a few moist crumbs, about 40-45 minutes. transfer pan to wire rack to cool completely.

5. run knife around edges of pan. using parchment, lift brownies out of pan. cut into 2-inch squares and enjoy!

brownie heaven

crispy tops

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