These classic brownies are absolutely perfect. We baked every variation! I have made them with and without adding Oreos- both perfect. I have also made them allowing the chocolate chips to melt and allowing the chocolate chips to stay partially intact (adding a little texural contrast). Both delicious. Yes, we’ve “suffered” through many batches. 😉
This recipe was adapted from King Arthur Flour.com. The website describes them as having the perfect balance between a fudgy and cakey brownie- I completely agree. They are incredibly moist, have a good rise, and have a lighter-colored and shiny top crust. Superb.
The recipe makes a large batch (which I recommend) but half the recipe can be made in an 8-inch square pan. In order to keep the chocolate chips intact, the batter must cool slightly before adding them. To melt the chocolate right into the brownie, the chips are stirred into the warm batter. My family didn’t agree on a favorite version but we all enjoyed each and every one of them. 🙂
Yield: 24 brownies
4 large eggs
106g (1 1/4 cups) Double-Dutch Dark Cocoa or Dutch-Process Cocoa (I used Trader Joe’s Cocoa), sifted
1 tsp coarse salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp espresso powder
1 T vanilla extract
227g (2 sticks, 1 cup) unsalted butter
447g (2 1/4 cups) granulated sugar
177g (1 1/2 cups) all-purpose flour
340g (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate chips
12 Oreo cookies, quartered, plus 2 crumbled Oreo cookies, for garnish, optional
Preheat the oven to 350°F, preferably on convection.
Lightly grease a 9″ x 13″ pan or line with parchment paper and coat with cooking oil spray. (I used a pyrex baking dish.)
Crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them at medium speed with the sifted cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla for about 1 minute, or until smooth. (You can do this while you’re melting your butter (next step).)
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or simply combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted.
Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will help produce a shiny top crust on your brownies.
Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth.
Add the flour and chips, stirring until smooth. Again, adding the chips helps produce a shiny top crust. (Note: Decision time: Do you want chocolate chips that show, and add a bit of chunkiness to your brownies? Or do you want the chips to simply melt into a rich smoothness, perfectly amalgamated within the brownie? **For chips that retain their shape and add chunkiness, let the batter cool for about 20 minutes before adding the chips, stirring occasionally to hasten the process. **For brownies where the chips melt right into the brownie, add them to the hot batter immediately, stirring to combine.
Incorporate the quartered Oreo cookies, if using. (Keeping the Oreos in larger pieces (quarters) made them visible in the finished brownies.)
Spoon the batter into the parchment paper-lined and lightly greased 9″ x 13″ pan. Sprinkle the crumbled Oreo cookies over the top, if using.
Bake the brownies for 27 to 32 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked.
Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.
I first made this crowd-pleasing dessert for our last summer beach day and sunset before the start of school. I’ve already made them again! Insanely delicious.
The bars are not overly sweet and they have an amazing texture. I weighed the dry ingredients to ensure perfection. This recipe was adapted from The New York Times, contributed by Erin Jeanne McDowell. I modified the method. Fabulous!!
Yield: 24 blondies
nonstick cooking oil spray
9whole graham crackers (about 135 grams), or store-bought graham cracker crumbs (about 1 cup)
1 ¼cups/160 grams all-purpose flour
1 ¼teaspoons baking powder
1teaspoon fine sea salt
1cup/225 grams unsalted butter (2 sticks), at room temperature
1packed cup/220 grams dark brown sugar
½cup/100 grams granulated sugar
2large eggs, at room temperature
1tablespoon vanilla extract
8ounces/225 grams bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped into chunks (I used 78% cacao Lindt)
2 ½cups/150 grams mini marshmallows
Heat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection, and arrange oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.
Coat the inside of a 9-by-13-inch pan with nonstick spray and line it with parchment paper, leaving 2 inches of excess parchment on the long sides of the pan. (The excess will help you pull the blondies out later.)
If using whole graham crackers, add them to the bowl of a food processor and pulse until they form a fine powder. Alternately, you could put the crackers in a large resealable plastic bag and crush them using a rolling pin, then add them to the bowl. If using store-bought crumbs, add them directly to the food processor.
Add the flour, baking powder and salt to the crumbs, and pulse a few times to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time and mix on medium speed until well incorporated, scraping the sides of the bowl after each addition.
Add the vanilla and mix to combine.
Turn the mixer to low and add the graham crumb mixture and mix just to combine.
Add about ¾ of the chocolate to the mixer and mix to incorporate.
Transfer the dough to the prepared pan. Use damp hands or a small offset spatula to press the dough into an even layer.
Bake on the lower rack until the bars are golden at the edges and the surface has a crackly appearance, 25 minutes on convection or about 30 minutes in a standard oven.
Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the marshmallows evenly over the surface. Sprinkle the reserved chocolate on top of the marshmallows and return the pan to the top rack of the oven.
Bake until the marshmallows have softened and are lightly toasted and the chocolate is melted and gooey, 10 to 14 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven. If any of the marshmallows have puffed up, use a toothpick or skewer to puncture them; they will deflate easily.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool, 45 minutes.
Using a thin knife, slide the blade between the blondies and the pan on the short sides of the pan, then use the parchment sling to carefully remove the blondies.
Let cool another 10 minutes, then slice into 24 even pieces and serve.
I have a few bar desserts to share. Great for a crowd, party or pot luck event. I have made all of these desserts on more than one occasion! Quite an endorsement. 🙂
These tart, tangy, and sweet bars were fabulous- the crust was absolute perfection. I made them off-season and used bottled Key lime juice. They are a must try with fresh Key lime juice! Fresh Key lime slices would also be a lovely garnish.
This recipe was adapted from the Key lime pie from Joe’s Stone Crab in Miami Beach, via Martha Stewart Living.
Yield: 16 bars
1 cup plus 2 1/2 tablespoons finely ground graham cracker crumbs (8 full cracker sheets)
1/3 cup granulated sugar
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 large egg yolks
finely grated zest of 1 lime (about 1 1/2 tsp)
2/3 cup fresh or bottled Key lime juice (about 23 Key limes total)
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14 ounces)
1/4 cup heavy cream, for garnish, optional
2 Key limes, thinly sliced into half-moons, for garnish, optional
confectioner’s sugar, for garnish, optional
Make crust: Preheat oven to 350 degrees, preferably on convection. Line a 8-inch square, or equivalent, baking dish with parchment paper, letting it hang over 2 sides.
Using a food processor, pulse graham crackers into fine crumbs.
Stir together graham cracker crumbs, sugar, and butter in a small bowl. Press evenly onto bottom of the prepared baking dish. (I used the bottom of a dry measuring cup.)
Bake until dry and golden brown, about 10 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack. (Leave oven on.)
Make filling: Put egg yolks and lime zest in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Mix on high speed until very thick, about 5 minutes.
Reduce speed to medium. Add condensed milk in a slow, steady stream, mixing constantly. Raise speed to high; mix until thick, about 3 minutes.
Reduce speed to low. Add lime juice; mix until just combined.
Spread filling evenly over crust using a spatula.
Bake, rotating dish halfway through, until filling is just set, about 10 minutes.
Let cool completely on a wire rack. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or overnight).
Cut into 2-by-2-inch bars.
Put cream in the clean bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the clean whisk attachment. Mix on medium-high speed until stiff peaks form. Garnish bars with confectioner’s sugar, whipped cream, and/or a slice of lime, as desired.
Note: The bars will keep, wrapped in plastic, in the refrigerator for up to three days.
To say that this wonderful summer cake was moist would be the understatement. 😉 What a fabulous use for zucchini! Everyone has an extra zucchini and ultra-ripe bananas this time of year too.
This recipe was adapted from Nancy-c.com. I incorporated light brown sugar and whole wheat pastry flour and decreased the nutmeg. I also added salt and vanilla to the frosting. This cake was even better the next day. Fabulous.
Yield: one 9×13 cake, about 12 to 16 servings
For the Cake:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
1 large or extra-large egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas (about 2 medium)
1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 to 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cups shredded zucchini (about 1 medium)
Preheat oven to 350˚F, preferably on convection.
Grease a 9 x 13″ pan, line with parchment paper, grease again. (I used cooking oil spray.) Set aside.
In the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl, cream butter and sugar.
Add in egg and vanilla, then stir in mashed bananas and blend everything well.
In medium bowl, whisk flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg together.
Add flour mixture to butter-sugar-banana mixture. Blend until combined.
Fold in zucchini and mix until incorporated.
Pour batter into prepared 9 x 13″ pan and bake at 350˚F for 25 minutes, or until edges brown and pull from sides.
Let bars cool completely, then frost with cream cheese frosting (recipe below).
For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese or light cream cheese, softened at room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
pinch coarse salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
4 cups powdered sugar
In the bowl of a stand mixer or medium bowl, blend softened cream cheese and softened butter.
Mix in salt and vanilla until well combined.
Add in powdered sugar a cup at a time, blending well after each addition, scraping down the sides, as needed.
Spread evenly over completely cooled bars, then cut and serve.
Note: If serving later, keep in refrigerator until ready to serve. Refrigerate any leftover cake.
This was my go-to summer pie for years. I had forgotten about it somehow. This time, I made it with white peaches and upgraded the crust to my favorite Martha Stewart paté brisée. I also sweetened the filling with maple syrup. Wonderful!
This recipe was adapted from The Moosewood Cookbook by Mollie Katzen. The peaches can be substituted with apples for a fall version. A handful of chopped nuts can also be sprinkled over the filling.
Yield: one 9-inch pie
For the Crust:
1 1/4 cups plus 2 T all-purpose flour
generous 1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 stick plus 1 T (9 T total) unsalted butter, cut into small cubes and chilled
4 T ice water
To Make the Crust:
Combine flour and salt in the bowl of a food processor.
Add the cubed, cold butter and pulse until resembles small peas.
While the food processor is running, drizzle in the ice water until dough forms.
Remove and form into a ball on a large sheet of plastic wrap.
Roll out between 2 sheets of plastic wrap and place in a pie dish.
Cover dish with plastic wrap and chill overnight.
For the Pie:
2 to 3 cups peeled and thinly sliced peaches (or tart apples or pitted dark cherries)(I used 3 large white peaches)
1 unbaked pie crust (recipe above)
4 large or extra-large eggs
5 T pure maple syrup, light brown sugar, or honey
8 oz (1 cup) whole milk Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp cinnamon
To Make the Pie:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, preferably on convection.
To peel the peaches: Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Using a sharp knife, mark the base of each peach with a small “x”. One at a time, place each peach in the boiling water for 20 to 30 seconds. Remove with a slotted spoon and briefly let cool. Remove skin.
Place the chilled pie crust on a parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheet.
Spread the fruit slices evenly over the unbaked pie crust.
Combine all remaining ingredients in a food processor or blender and whip until frothy. (I used a Vitamix.)
Pour the custard over the fruit in the pie dish. (If desired, a small handful of chopped nuts can be sprinkled over the filling at this time.)
Cover the pie edge with a shield, and bake for about 45 to 50 minutes, or until solid in the center. I tented the entire pie with foil after 35 minutes.
Cool at least 1 hour before slicing. This pie tastes best at room temperature or cold.
My husband and I went strawberry picking without the kids this year. I’m so happy that he loves freshly picked strawberries enough to harvest them. 🙂 We brought home nine quarts!
My list of “must make” strawberry recipes seems to keep expanding, so I was lucky enough to have plenty of berries to fulfill the list (links below) and make one new dessert- this delicious galette. I loved the graham cracker crust.
This recipe is from Bon Appétit, contributed by Claire Saffitz. We ate it with vanilla ice cream instead of the lime-flavored whipped cream. Wonderful!
Yield: 8 servings
7 graham crackers (about 3.7 ounces)
¾ teaspoon kosher salt
⅔ cup all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, divided
2 large eggs
½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted, cooled, & divided (I melted 6 T and 2 T separately)
1 pound strawberries, hulled & sliced
1 lime, zested & juiced, divided
½ cup very cold heavy cream, optional
vanilla ice cream, for serving, optional
Place a rack in bottom third of oven; preheat to 350°, preferably on convection.
Place graham crackers in a large resealable plastic bag and zip it up, pressing out most of the air. Using a rolling pin, firmly roll over crackers several times, crushing them into fine crumbs (some larger crumbs are okay).
Measure out 1 cup crumbs (which should be almost all of them) and transfer to a medium bowl. Add salt, ⅔ cup flour, and 2 T sugar. Mix with a fork to combine.
Add 1 egg and 6 T melted butter.
Mix with fork until dough forms, then knead with your hands inside of bowl until no floury spots remain and dough is smooth. It’ll be a little soft and slightly oily.
Lightly flour a piece of parchment paper and place dough on top. Lightly flour top of dough, then cover with another piece of parchment or plastic wrap.
Using a rolling pin, roll dough into a round (it doesn’t have to be perfect!) about 12″ in diameter and ⅛” thick. (I used this amazing rolling pin that creates an 1/8″ thick crust.)
Slide entire sheet of parchment paper onto a rimmed baking sheet. Remove the top layer or plastic wrap or parchment paper.
Sprinkle 1 T sugar over surface of dough, leaving about a 2″ border.
Pile strawberries into center of dough and arrange in an even layer, leaving the same 2″ border.
Sprinkle strawberries with 1 T sugar and drizzle with remaining 2 T butter.
Using a microplane or fine grater, grate zest of about one-half of lime over strawberries.
Cut off half of lime with no zest and squeeze juice over strawberries. Save the other half for later, if making the whipped cream topping.
Beat remaining egg in a small bowl with fork until no streaks remain. Brush egg wash around border of pastry (you won’t use it all). Using edges of parchment to help lift, fold empty border of dough up and over strawberries, working your way around in roughly 2″ sections, overlapping folds as needed. Press all the way around to secure folds and keep dough in place. It might crack or tear in places, just pinch it back together.
Brush top of border with remaining egg wash and sprinkle with remaining 1 T sugar.
Bake galette until crust is browned around the edges and juices from strawberries are syrupy and actively bubbling, 40–45 minutes. If some juices escape and end up on the parchment paper, the parchment will prevent the tart from sticking.
Let cool at least 20 minutes.
For the Optional Whipped Cream Topping: Beat cream with a large whisk in a medium bowl until voluminous, thick, and starts to hold tracks of whisk. Hold whisk upright and look for the “peak” of cream that forms on the end. It should droop and slump over- making “soft peaks.”
Grate zest from remaining half of lime over cream and serve with tart.
Do Ahead: Tart can be made several hours ahead. Let sit at room temperature. Once fully cooled, droop a piece of plastic over top. (I kept the leftover slices in the refrigerator.)
Essential Freshly Picked Strawberry Recipes (in my house):