the moveable feasts

In Search Of

with 31 comments

cook's chewiest brownies

I’m in the process of finding that brownie recipe—you know, the one that is perfect in every way. I know everybody has different preferences, so I realize that this certain brownie I’m searching for might not be the one for you. But still, I was kind of hoping that maybe some of you might have brownie preferences that overlap with mine. Because the thing is, I still haven’t found (what I consider to be) the best brownie recipe.

I tried this recipe a couple months ago because it not only because it comes from Cook’s Illustrated via Smitten Kitchen, two sources I always trust and turn to, but also frankly because it had the word “classic” in its name. But in the end the brownies didn’t feel chocolaty enough while being overly sweet, and they felt too soft and cake-like.

About a week ago I tried out the brownie recipe you see in the photos here. Not willing to give up my faith in Cook’s Illustrated, I picked out another one of their recipes that promised to specifically deliver on the chocolate and chewy factors. These ended up being really chocolaty, due to the big chunks of chopped bittersweet chocolate added to the brownie batter before baking, which I liked. But even with that richness, they just seemed a little bit oily and they still didn’t seem to entirely deliver on the promise of chewiness.

chewy brownies, not delivered

I think as it stands at the moment, my favorite brownie recipe are these cheesecake-swirled brownies. Obviously the cheesecake part is pretty awesome, but I happen to think that the brownie part of that recipe is my favorite type of brownie I’ve tried. (Especially when chilled—does anyone else like their brownies cold?) Maybe I’ll try working with that recipe, without the cheesecake part, to see if I can get closer to the type of brownie I want. I’ve also been eyeing David Lebovitz’s brownies (both Robert’s Absolute Best version and the dulce de leche version) and Alice Medrich’s recipes (classic and all-cocoa versions).

But! I was hoping this is where you could come in. Before I go testing more recipes, I was wondering of you could give me guidance. Do you have a favorite brownie recipe that you’re satisfied with, and if you do, what is it? As I mentioned at the start, I realize everyone has a different “favorite.” But I figured some of you might happen to like a chocolate-packed, fudgy and not cakey, chewy brownie, just like I do. Even if that type of brownie isn’t your favorite, please let me know what is! After all, maybe the still-non-existent brownie that I’m searching for is different than what I’ve been convincing myself it is.

In case you do like the looks of these brownies here, and you’re into chewy brownies that still have a soft-texture even with the bite, try them out for yourself. In the meantime, I’ll still be on the search.

Written by Amy

May 24, 2012 at 1:29 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

31 Responses

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  1. Hi Amy! I have the perfect brownie recipe and it’s David’s Robert’s absolute best brownie. I was searching high and low for that perfect brownie recipe as well and made his and it’s now my favorite as well as my kid’s and friend’s favorite. It’s not your standard cake-like brownie, it’s more fudge-like in consistency, but fudge-like in a good way. So if you like a brownie that isn’t cakey or oily, then you will like this one. I have step-by-step instructions on how to make these brownies on my blog. You have to make sure to whisk the batter for 1 minute! That is a must! Also, make sure not to over-bake them.

    I am going to use his brownie recipe as the base to re-create the peanut butter gnache one I keep getting at Rustic Bakery. I just need a good recipe for a peanut butter frosting, but it’s not really a frosting, it’s more like a peanut butter filling like in a peanut butter cup. Anyway, I have to seek that first and then I will make that brownie.

    Ok, I am writing a novel here but I would definitely try that brownie recipe. Let me know if you make it and like it or if you find something better, let me know. I am always willing to try new recipes!


    • I have seen those brownies on your blog, which is part of the reason why I was drawn to them. :) I was looking through Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert when I first saw them, and I have to admit they do look really good… I think I will give them a try. I definitely like the sound of a fudgy brownie!

      And if you need a good peanut butter filling recipe, I made a chocolate sour cream layer cake awhile back that had a peanut butter filling…it’s in my recipe index somewhere. Anyway, the recipe is from Alice Medrich and is really simple, but really great. You might want to look at it in your scouting for a peanut butter filling. :)


      May 24, 2012 at 3:59 pm

  2. I like Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies


    May 24, 2012 at 2:26 pm

  3. The search for a perfect brownie goes on… I like Cooks illustrated, Davids and Ina. All good brownies. My husband now wants me to find a good cakey brownie with frosting. I have finally gotten the recipe down for my big batch brownies posted on my blog this week.


    May 24, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    • Thanks, Connie! Looking forward to seeing the post. And I’ve heard Joy the Baker has good cake-like brownies with frosting… just so you know!


      May 24, 2012 at 9:22 pm

  4. I’m always on the hunt for the perfect brownie, hence there being about 5 different recipes on my blog! I think the white chocolate and macadamia one I posted recently was pretty close… I’m not a big fan of frosted brownies a la Joy the Baker as you mention above, but can definitely recommend David Lebovitz’s recipes. Good luck with the quest!


    May 24, 2012 at 10:42 pm

  5. I’m not sure you ever really find the perfect brownie but I think that’s part of the fun!


    May 25, 2012 at 12:46 am

  6. My grandmother made excellent brownies…if you’re into the fudge thing and not the cake thing. They’re made with lots of melted down butter and cocoa. Super simple recipe from way back in the day. Very chocolatey and they never let us down. Let me know if you’re interest and want the recipe :)


    May 25, 2012 at 2:43 am

    • Oh, I want it!!! My mom keeps telling me that box mix brownies are the only ones fudgy enough for her, but I think they taste like cardboard! Your recipe might help!


      June 2, 2012 at 3:33 pm

  7. “good post” points for the title alone! clever girl.


    May 25, 2012 at 8:06 am

  8. Oh Amy – I love this post and Im totally with you on that search AND the brownie specifications, This fro yo shop in London actually had the PERFECT brownie as one of their toppings. It was gluten free (they specified) and had giant chunks of pretty dark (but not tooooo dark) chocolate, as well as walnuts and some white chocolate chunks. HEAVEN. Ive also been eyeing up the David L recipe recently – so let me know you get along. My Godmother also had a recipe for brownies that I used to think were PREFECT – but I’ve grown more specific (demanding) since I last made them so I need to re-test to see how they stand up! Will definitely keep you posted!

    Em (Wine and Butter)

    May 28, 2012 at 8:13 am

    • Thanks Em! Yeah, it’s a bit ironic, but I think one of my favorite brownies I’ve tried was from a fro-yo shop as well… what is it with that? Maybe it’s just because the brownie tastes better next to all that delicious but terrible-at-the-same-time cheesecake fro-yo. ;)


      May 28, 2012 at 6:43 pm

  9. I’ve tried so many brownie recipes, and my absolute favorite so far is The Baked Brownie from “Baked:New Frontiers in Baking.” They’re fantastic, fudgy, and have a nice clean, deep, dark chocolate taste. I don’t like things too sweet, and these are perfect. The only change I make is to halve the salt amount.
    Here are two links:

    (For a chewy brownie, I like Fine Cooking’s “Chewy Brownies,” and I bake them for less time than indicated. I think you can find the recipe on their site. If you’re interested in making them, and can’t find the recipe, just email me, and I’ll send it to you).


    May 28, 2012 at 11:37 am

  10. The Baked brownie really is special. I have yet to make all of the brownies that I want to try, but if someone told me that I could never bake a different recipe again, I’d be happy with the Baked recipe for the rest of my life:


    May 28, 2012 at 12:27 pm

  11. Amy, I wish I could help. The last brownies I made were the second batch of CI ones you mentioned, and I’ve sort of given up on brownies since then (that was a year and a half ago!). You could definitely taste the vegetable oil in them, and I found them to be too sweet. I wish I had something to recommend, but I don’t. I’m looking forward to seeing what you come up with.


    May 28, 2012 at 3:57 pm

  12. Amy, I’m like you, I am always on an endless seach for the perfect brownie recipe. I keep trying different recipes but I always seem to come back to this on Super yummy!


    May 28, 2012 at 4:57 pm

    • Wow! That brownie recipe doesn’t seem to have too much butter for the amount of butter it makes. That’s super intriguing, I might have to check them out. Thanks for the recommendation, Ashley.


      May 28, 2012 at 6:46 pm

  13. Here is mine. I bake them in a 1/2 sheet pan and start checking between 15-18 min.Good luck in your quest!:


    May 28, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    • Oh gosh those look fudgy! And I love the idea of that frosting smoothed over the top. I’m bookmarking this one and I’ll keep an eye on it. Thanks, Celeste!


      May 28, 2012 at 6:47 pm

  14. What happened to my post? I recommended two great brownie recipes this afternoon.


    May 28, 2012 at 6:13 pm

    • Sorry Meryl, your comment got automatically redirected to my spam box, I think because it had two links in it and wordpress assumed it might be spam. Sorry about that! I approved it though and is visible now. Thanks for the recommendations. It seems the “Baked” brownie sounds great and I think I’ll try that out soon.


      May 28, 2012 at 6:41 pm

      • No problem. :) The Baked Brownie is totally addictive – Hope you try it!


        May 28, 2012 at 6:58 pm

  15. I’m echoing Meryl in saying that Baked does brownies best. The basic recipe never ceases to impress even the biggest critics. In their second cookbook (Baked Explorations) the infamous Brooklyn bakery shared their adored, and my favorite, sweet and salty brownie. It goes without saying this is one recipe you simply can’t ignore!


    May 28, 2012 at 9:00 pm

  16. Hi Amy!
    I love this because I recently went through my own “best brownie” search, trying out all the recipes I could find to make the best brownie ever, one that was fudgy and chewy (just like you wanted!).

    I have tried the Robert’s Best Brownies recipe, via Alice Medrich. They were delicious, and at the time I thought I’d struck brownie gold:

    Then, at pastry school, I made the best brownies I have ever had, similar to the Baked brownie but with less flour and more chocolate, so they are creamy, almost melt-in-your-mouth brownies:

    And then I found these. My favourite everyday brownie recipe. So chewy, so chocolatey, so delicious, and they are made only with cocoa. Amazing!

    Sorry about the life story – hope this helps!


    May 29, 2012 at 2:45 am

  17. I recently tried David Lebovitz’s gluten free brownies. They might be gooier than you are looking for, but I thought they were delicious and rich!


    May 29, 2012 at 3:49 am

  18. I’m the Culinary Specialist for the Williams-Sonoma store in Washington DC. Recently I taught a cooking class that included Ina Garten’s Outrageous Brownies. They are wonderful. I’ve made a full batch and a half batch. Just full of chocolate flavor. Search the Food Network web site and you will find the recipe.


    May 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm

  19. It might be cheating, but Ghiradelli’s triple chocolate brownie mix makes the BEST brownies ever! Super chocolatey and melty.


    June 1, 2012 at 5:30 am

    • I’ve heard that before! My mom told me that yesterday actually, haha. And it might technically be cheating, but hey, sometimes we need that guarantee and convenience!


      June 1, 2012 at 7:55 am

  20. Oh YUM! Those brownies look so rich and decadent!


    June 3, 2012 at 10:13 pm

  21. Sounds more like everyone is really looking for the FUDGE BROWNIE recipe I have had for at least 30+ yrs., not sure where it originally came from and its easy peasy. 1.5 cups marg., 2 C surgar, 2 t vanilla, 4 eggs, 12 T cocoa, 1.5 cups flour, 1 cup chopped nuts. Cream marg. & sugar till creamy; add vanilla & eggs till light & fluffy. mix cocoa & flour till mixed, don’t over beat. Stir in nuts. Pour into 13 x 9 greased pan. Bake 30 mins. at 350 F, Don’t over bake. tookpick will not come out clean and will look underdone. Cool, Refrigerate. Cut into 32 squares. Serve at room temperature. Prepare for heaven :-)


    June 4, 2012 at 2:05 pm

  22. Nice recipe. I love a simple brownie recipe which is easy for the kids :)
    I also like the below brownie recipe.

    Thanks for sharing,


    June 5, 2012 at 5:59 am

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