Artpark Brownies

Adapted from Ruth Reichl’s Tender at the Bone

I don’t know about you, but whenever I read a food memoir with recipes I tend to gloss over them. I’ve never actually pulled out a paperback, pinned its pages open and cooked from it. However, Ruth Reichl inspired me to do just that as I read her honest, funny and highly entertaining memoir. My baking track record is spotty at best. Though I’m quite sure this is a spectacular recipe, I will admit to having screwed up two fairly critical steps (which I’ve noted below in the methods and tips). Nevertheless, I’ll return to this recipe when I need a pan of brownies again. And next time, I’ll follow the directions properly.

  • 2/3 cup unsalted butter
  • 5 oz. unsweetened, best-quality baking chocolate (see tips)
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 4 jumbo eggs, room temperature
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour (see tips)
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Butter and flour an 8-inch square baking pan. Set aside.
  • Create a double boiler using a bowl and a saucepan filled with 2 inches of boiling water. Or if you have an actual double boiler, just use that. Place the butter and the chocolate in the bowl and melt, stirring occasionally. When the chocolate and butter combination is smooth, remove from heat, stir in vanilla and set aside.
  • Using an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the eggs and salt together on medium speed. Add the sugar and beat at high speed for 10 minutes. The mixture will become very pale, almost pure white.
  • Turn the speed down, then add the slightly cooled chocolate and butter mixture until just mixed. Add the flour and mix until just combined, taking care not to over mix.
  • Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Place it in the oven, then (this was my most critical error) turn the oven temperature down to 350 degrees. I forgot to do this part! See tips for gory details.
  • Bake for 40 minutes. Brownies will be quite fudgy, so the typical toothpick test isn’t likely to work here. Just trust in the timing, if you’ve baked at the right temperature, and remove them after 40 minutes. Set on a cooling rack and allow to cool before cutting into squares.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. The first of my screw ups happened before I even preheated the oven. I used Ghiradelli’s 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate baking bar. Seemed like a good choice, however, the recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate. This bar is sweetened. Next time, I’ll use a traditional baker’s chocolate that is prepared without sugar.
  • 2. Though I don’t bake a whole lot, I have learned that most baked goods are made better by using the biggest eggs I can find. Jumbo typically does the trick. I have also found that they whip up better when they’re room temperature. I’m not exactly sure why. Just go with me here.
  • 3. Ms. Reichl calls for the flour to be sifted. I am too lazy to do this. If you have a sifter and the patience, I’m sure there is some payoff to sifting the flour.
  • 4. My most critical error – forgetting to turn the oven down to 350 just after I’d added the pan to the oven. The edges of my batch were too dark and though they were moist, they weren’t as fudgy as promised. I am confident that had I remembered to bake them at a lower temperature, they would have been just perfect! Next time.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 40 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 12

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