Wow, these brownies--from In the Kitchen with a Good Appetite by Melissa Clark (Hyperion, Sept.) are ridiculous. The bottoms of them, as well as the parchment paper they were baked on, were just soaked in glistening butter and so were my fingers and lips as I shoveled a couple of the gooey squares into my mouth, one immediately after another. The flaky sea salt sprinkled on the top just before baking sinks a little bit into the brownies, adding a surprising and pleasing salty crunch to the top layer. There’s an intense cocoa flavor here, and the pinch of cayenne adds just a little kick at the end. Clark writes that these brownies will change your life: a bold claim, but I think she’s right. I’ve never had brownies as sumptuous as these. Just fabulous…and dangerous!
Time: 45 minutes
Makes 24 (2-inch) squares
2 sticks plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
½ cup plus 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
2 ½ cups sugar
3 larges eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
Maldon salt, for sprinkling
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a rimmed 9x13-inch baking sheet with parchment paper.
2. In a microwave or in the top bowl of a double boiler, melt together the butter and chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth. Meanwhile, combine the flour, kosher salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl.
3. Transfer the chocolate mixture to a large mixing bowl and whisk in the cocoa powder and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla; whisk until smooth.
4. Fold in the dry ingredients and continue folding until no lumps remain.
5. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top with a spatula. Sprinkle all over with Maldon salt. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the edges just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan and a tester inserted into the middle of the brownie comes out clean.
6. Allow the brownie to cool completely in the pan before cutting into 2 by 2-inch squares.
This story originally appeared in Cooking the Books, PW's e-newsletter for cookbooks.