Thursday, January 1, 2015

We wish you some Salted Brownies and a Happy New Year!

Happy 2015, friends! I hope you killed it at the gym this morning, and now let's talk about brownies.

Welcome to my website. I wonder who you are (other than Alicia) and how you got here (presumably by googling "no mayo tartar sauce" according to my analytics). For the first time in a long time, I just looked over my analytics this morning and they are fascinating. Lots of links from Russian porn sites (wtf?) and did anybody visit this blog before Pinterest (besides Lisa)? Despite the fact that commenting here has never been super popular (except to Nicole) (and seriously, it's okay, I get constant, ongoing feedback on my food and everything else I do and say all day long from my son and daughter), I've got some hits yo. My no-rise babka, sweet potato-black bean-cilantro stew, farmer's market quesadillas, burgers de Paris, pineapple-St. Germaine martini, best-ever nachos, and bacon fat + chocolate chip cookies recipes are evidently the most loved. But, strangely enough, Catfish Sandwiches with No-Mayo Tartar Sauce takes the cake (and Edith) by a long shot. I guess there are a lot of mayo haters out there. Happy to help.

I'm also happy to give you a recipe for these rich and salty brownies. They are adapted from my favorite cookbook, In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite, by my favorite NY Times columnist, Melissa Clark. Her recipe is called "Kate's Impossibly Fudgy Brownies with Chile and Sea Salt". My recipe is called "Edith's Version of Melissa Clark's Kate's Impossibly Fudgy Brownies with Cinnamon, Chili and Chocolate Salt." Quite a mouthful, I know. Say it five times fast. With a mouth full of brownie. (Also, I like to spell chili with an i because it is a pepper, not a country. But both spellings are technically permissible.)

Here's the deal: I use less sugar and more salt than Ms. Clark. She's got a sweet tooth - check out her rhubarb cake (it's crazy good, and craaaaaaaaazy sweet) - and I do too, but I like my brownies dark and deeply chocolaty and a little more grown-up than my crumb cake, so by considerably reducing the sweetness, we considerably accentuate the richness of the chocolate. (Note: use good chocolate.) (Also note: sugar + eggs is what gives your brownies that shiny, just-crisp top, so I don't recommend reducing sugar any more than I've done. But if you ignore this unrecommendation, let me know how it goes, because I am curious but not curious enough to potentially ruin a pan of brownies.) And, with respect to the salt, I just think using double the salt in baked goods is almost invariably advisable.

sprinkled with chocolate salt

Featured ingredient: Golden Fig Chocolate Salt. Buy some. Or make your own. Or just use another fancy flaky salt, but maybe halve the amount.

And finally, here are some pictures and the recipe.

brownie collagegooey perfection

Edith's Version of Melissa Clark's Kate's Impossibly Fudgy Brownies with Cinnamon, Chili and Chocolate Salt
Yields one 9X13" pan of brownies

2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
3 ounces unsweetened or super dark (75% or greater) chocolate, chopped
2 tablespoons oil
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt or 1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon cayene
1/2 cup cocoa powder
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (or 2 teaspoons vanilla + 2 teaspoons cardamom extract)
1 teaspoon chocolate salt or 1/2 teaspoon other fancy flaky salt (Melissa Clark uses Maldon salt)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9X13" baking dish with parchment paper. (This is theoretically optional, but you will thank yourself later for doing it. Alternatively, grease your pan well.)

In a microwave, melt together the butter and chocolate, checking after 30-45 second intervals, stirring until smooth. Stir in the oil. Allow mixture to cool for a few minutes.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, salt, and spices.

Transfer chocolate to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar until there are no chunks of cocoa left and everything is well combined. Add the eggs and vanilla (and cardamom extract, if using); whisk until smooth. Fold in dry ingredients and gently stir until no lumps remain.

Scrape batter into lined pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle all over with the finishing salt. Bake for 25 minutes, rotating pan after 15. The top should be just barely set and shiny. (For impossibly gooey brownies, err on the side of under-baking!)

Allow brownies to cool completely in the pan before cutting. Enjoy.

P.S. Alicia, in case you have any extra pears, maybe your next baked good should be this Pear Crumb Cake.


  1. How have we never talked about our mutual love of Melissa Clark?!

    Love her.

    Will get on that crumb cake. As berries and stone fruits are not in season, we are all pears all the time around here.

  2. I needed to interject here and say your blog is one of my favorite websites. I feel like you weed through the hoards of ideas and recipes and bring me only the best. I make SO many of your recipes and the chai tea recipes is a go-to as well as the soaked waffles. I hope 2015 brings even more posts. I get your posts through a reader so I never come on the site to comment but if you promise more recipes, I promise more comments. Deal?