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  • Writer's pictureFay Walsh

Brownies Cockaigne

Very, very good brownies.

This classic brownie recipe is from the latest edition of "Joy of Cooking," originally published in the 1930s. There are so many brownie recipes out there; it seems every blogger has his or her iteration of the "best" brownie. Being a regular boxed brownie mix type of gal myself, I thought I should refer to the source, the ever-resourceful "Joy of Cooking," and dive into a well-worn, classic recipe for this batch of brownies.

No Cocoa Powder??

Surprisingly - no. This recipe calls for unsweetened chocolate and lots of butter melted in a double boiler instead of cocoa powder & oil for the chocolate. It's a gooey mess and definitely requires ample cooling time so that you don't accidentally cook your eggs. Keep in mind this will add 20 or so extra minutes to your prep time.

Customizable Batter

The Rombauers explain that as long as you follow the prescribed wet to dry ratios, you can adjust how rich the brownies are according to your preference:

"Almost everyone wants to make this classic American confection. Brownies may vary greatly in richness and contain anywhere from 1 1/2 cups of butter and 5 ounces of chocolate to two tablespoons butter and two ounces of chocolate for every cup of flour. If you want them chewy and moist, use a 9 x 13-inch pan; if cakey, a 9 x 9 inch pan." - Joy of Cooking

I decided to follow along almost exactly as described in the book; I simply swapped nuts for a whole bag of Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips and sprinkled flaky sea salt at the end.


Brownies Cockaigne

from "Joy of Cooking"

Makes about 30 brownies

Preheat the oven to 350°F. If you want chewy and moist brownies, use a 13 × 9 × 2-inch pan; if cakey, a 9-inch square pan. Grease the pan and line with parchment paper, so it extends over the long sides. 

Melt in a small saucepan:

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter

  • 4 ounces (115g) unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped

Let cool. If you don't, your brownies will be heavy and dry. Beat in a large bowl until light in color and foamy in texture:

  • 4 large eggs (at 70 degrees)

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Gradually add and continue beating until thick:

  • 2 cups (400g) sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

With a few swift strokes, stir in the cooled chocolate mixture just until combined. Even if you are using an electric mixer, switch to a wooden spoon for this. Stir in just until combined:

  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour

If desired, gently stir in:

  • 1 cup chopped toasted pecans (I used a whole bag of dark chocolate chips, instead)

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake about 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely in the pan on a rack. If desired, serve with:

  • Whipped cream, ice cream or icing (I sprinkled with flaky sea salt)

Recipe from "Joy of Cooking: 2019 Edition Fully Revised and Updated" by Irma S. Rombauer, Marion Rombauer Becker, Ethan Becker, John Becker and Megan Scott (Scribner), in Hardcover, Spiral-Bound and eBook formats, available via Amazon.

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