These brownies are maybe the best brownies I’ve ever had and I’m not just saying them because I made them. You probably know I’m not much of a baker but sometimes special occasions force me to rise to the challenge. This time it was Valentine’s Day – a holiday that I actually really really don’t like. I just hate any event that makes so many people feel bad, which I think is what often ends up being the case on February 14th. Plus, I hate the intense consumerism the holiday tends to promote – chances are you’re a lovely person and you already are enough and have enough.
All ranting aside, one thing that I do like about the holiday (and most holidays in general) is that it provides an amazing excuse to cook like crazy. So cook I did and we enjoyed quite a tasty dinner that had…lets just say a “generous” amount of butter. But of course, no epic meal would be complete without a little something sweet at the end.
I’ve made these brownies twice, once for a party and once just for my honey. I am by no means a skilled baker – I can’t tell you how often I’ve made my best friend (who is an amazing baker and was the first to show me the original version of the recipe) want to cry when I say things like “can’t we just guestimate how much flour to use?” Sadly baking, unlike cooking, does not do well by the fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants method that I am so fond of. Anyway, good news is that this recipe is so easy that even those of us who struggle can make it happen.
Don’t be put off by the paprika and cinnamon. I promise that the brownies wont be spicy, the spices just bring out the chocolate flavor in a whole new way and make the flavor more complex. If you are nervous, start by adding a little at a time and tasting the batter (what a good excuse!). Enjoy on Valentines Day or the other spectacular 364 days of the year!
The Best Brown Butter Brownies (adapted from Bon Appétit)
- 10 tbsp (1 ¼ sticks) butter
- 1 ¼ cup sugar
- ¾ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/3 cup plus 1 tbsp flour
- 1-1 ½ tsp smoked paprika
- ¾ tsp cinnamon
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- If you don’t want the brownies to be spiced, remove the paprika and cinnamon, use 1 tsp of vanilla instead. Instead of paprika you could also use cayenne pepper, but be very sparing, start with ¼ tsp at a time and taste because it is strong.
- Walnut are also optional, you can use any kind of nut or chocolate chips or no addition if you’re prepared for them to be extremely chocolaty. I personally think having some kind of addition helps cut the density of the chocolate.
- I also want to note that I used normal Hershey’s cocoa powder – adding the spices enhances the flavor so much that you don’t have to go out of your way to use super fancy chocolate.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Grease an 8×8 brownie pan (I didn’t have a brownie pan so I used a pie pan. If you’re going to do this I suggest you line it with foil, then grease the foil).
Cut your butter into small pats, add to a heavy bottomed sauce pan. Melt on medium heat. Let it melt until it starts to foam and there are little brown bits a the bottom. The butter will start to have a nutty aroma and as soon as this happens you should take it off the heat. The first time I did this I didn’t actually brown the butter because I lost my patience, but the brownies still came out yummy. If you can stick out waiting for the butter to brown, you by all means should.
Once butter is browned, add to the sugar, cocoa, 2 teaspoons of water, salt, paprika and cinnamon. Stir and let cool for five minutes.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well. Once it is nice and shiny, add in the flour. Mix well and then add the nuts. Put into the pan.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until you can stick a fork into them and have it come out clean.
Let cool for five minutes and then enjoy with milk and your sweetie!