The Brownie Quest

For the last decade or so I’ve been on an off-and-on hunt, a quest if you will, for the perfect brownie recipe. I was on the hunt for the perfect brownie, but we found that in Belgium. Admittedly after *the* brownie in Brussels I almost gave up on finding a perfect brownie recipe. That brownie was so good, so perfect I was sure I could not come up with a close approximation, but the call of brownies was too good, so I’m still searching.

A few weeks ago I came across this post. About half the time I drool over the food but am too intimidated to try recreating it. Sometimes I find something I have to try, like the corn soup, but end up changing it to suit my tastes a little more. But these brownies looked so good, so perfect, I decided I had to try.

What makes a perfect brownie? A few things. My perfect brownie has no nuts. Sorry if you are a nut in brownie fan, but I think they detract from the overall experience. They are an extra that a perfect brownie doesn’t need. The perfect brownie also needs to be dense and not at all like a cake. You want cake like brownies, make a cake. Make a dark chocolate cake, but leave out the brownie designation. The perfect brownie has to be slightly gooy, but not from under cooking, and it cannot be too sweet. The chocolate must be the star of the brownie, not the sugar. Sounds simple, doesn’t it? But it’s not. I’ve tried dozens of brownie recipes over the years.

So how did this one do? Well, I did mostly follow the recipe. I could not find black coco in my grocery store, so I used Hershey’s Special Dark Coco along with regular coco. I ended up cooking them about ten minutes longer than the recipe called for because they were not cooked, much less set, at 25 minutes. But …. Oh, they are close. Very rich, but not sugary sweet and dense, but cooked. The sprinkle of sea salt on top was an unexpected delight that I thought would detract a bit, but it didn’t. It added to the chocolate taste. I do think I need to find good Irish butter for the higher fat content and really good coco – both real black coco and really good regular coco. Those changes may, just may, make this the perfect brownie.

Now if I can just figure out how to make a Vanilla Anglaise to go with it, we might have the perfect homemade brownie.

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