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Tuesdays with Dorie: “Best ever” brownies

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie/ Baking with Julia recipe (Best Ever Brownies, pp 331 – 332) has quite the name to live up to, huh? Not just “best” but “best ever”. Well it seemed like a simple enough recipe from the ingredients – flour, butter, chocolate, sugar, eggs.  Billed as “soft, dark, baked until just barely set” with an “unorthodox” mixing method whereby “half of an egg-sugar mixture is stirred into the melted chocolate and butter while the other half is whipped until it thickens and doubles in volume.” That thick egg mixture is folded into the chocolate carefully, then the dry ingredients are added just as delicately.

To be honest, I got a little confused with the whole “half the sugar” idea and found the recipe a little convoluted.  Once I had read the instructions about eight times, it was fine.  Don’t know why some recipes just stump me like that and the longer you look at them, the less they make sense.  In any case, I found there was a LOT of batter for the 9-inch pan (I used a regular brownie tin though the recipe called for heavy ceramic or glass neither of which I own).

At 23 minutes, the top was a little crunchy and cracked. But the inside completely soupy. As it was at 35 minutes. And 45 minutes. And 55 minutes. Finally at 65 minutes I took them out, figuring that this might not be even close to “best ever”.

The skewer poked in the middle of the pan came out fairly wet and not clean at all :( But the edges were completely cooked, I could definitely tell that they didn’t need any more time in the oven.

After an hour cooling in the pan, I took them out and cut them.  The insides were still pretty oozy, so I let them sit a few more hours when finally I had to cut them and pack a few to take to a friends for dinner. They seemed better at that point.

And how did they taste? Well, they were definitely not “best ever” material but they were tasty. The insides, a few hours later and certainly by the next day, were lovely and fudgey and the outsides were not as hard as I had feared. Very good, yes. “Best”? Not so sure.

The fact that the recipe was so wildly off in terms of baking time was a little offputting for me too. Looking at the Problems and Questions post, it seems a few people had the same problem, while others had no problems at all. Not what I’d call a reliable recipe, then.  Still, it didn’t stop my friends from enjoying them at the dinner I took them to. Not my colleagues the following day who devoured them pretty much before morning recess. So yes, very very good.

This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie, Baking with Julia was hosted by hosted by Monica of A Beautiful Mess and you can find the recipe posted on her blog. Tuesdays with Dorie participants do not publish the recipes on our blogs except if we happen to be the host for the week, rather, we prefer if you purchase Baking with Julia for yourselves which you can do here on Amazon or Amazon Canada. Or for free worldwide shipping, buy from The Book Depository. Then join us, baking along at Tuesdays with Dorie. Go on, you know you want to.

Enter to win a copy of The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook here, courtesy of Random House. Open to anyone, anywhere in the world! Contest closes Monday November 26th at 6pm EST.

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41 Responses to Tuesdays with Dorie: “Best ever” brownies

  1. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen November 20, 2012 at 05:46 #

    I didn´t go through all the steps, just used one bowl and they came out incredibly good. Though they don´t have that crunchy top that comes from beating the eggs and sugar. They do look gorgeous Mardi!

  2. Cheese with Noodles November 20, 2012 at 05:59 #

    Isn’t it odd how varied the baking times were for these? Mine were ready at 50 minutes and would have been an utter mess at 25. So strange! I wonder if it has anything to do with altitude.

  3. Cher November 20, 2012 at 06:22 #

    After a healthy dose of ice cream or fudge, it didn’t seem to matter any more :-)
    These were good enough, but I think the King Arthur recipes are going to remain my standby…

  4. Liz November 20, 2012 at 07:43 #

    SO odd that yours took nearly double my baking time. Best-Ever should certainly be more consistent. They were well loved here…but I’m worried about how they’ll come out next time!

  5. Cindy November 20, 2012 at 08:16 #

    I have had the same frustrating experience with the baking time on a few recipes in the past, always thinking it was my Oven, but this could not be as others were fine. What our best is, might not be someone else’s best : )

  6. smarkies November 20, 2012 at 09:20 #

    I absolutely love the look of the cracked brownie top.
    Not so sure about the “best ever” title as well but they were pretty tasty.

  7. Paula November 20, 2012 at 09:48 #

    They certainly look like a fudgey chewy brownie but I can’t believe that they took so long to cook!

  8. foodsisterhood November 20, 2012 at 10:37 #

    They look amazing! Just the way I like them – chewy on the inside and matte on the outside.. delish :)

  9. Lindsey November 20, 2012 at 12:15 #

    They look divine though! you know why they weren’t ‘best ever’ material? They weren’t mine :) tee hee just teasing, next time you’re in Paris I’ll have you try some of my Lola’s Cookies brownies! my partner and I toiled a long time in the kitchen before we got them right and definitely went through the “these are still soupy after an hour” phase.

    To comment on Cheese with Noodles’ comment: altitude DOES play a role in how baked goods turn out but it isn’t just that !

  10. Alex November 20, 2012 at 13:50 #

    They may not be the ‘best ever’ but they definitly look very VERY good from where I am sitting (in my office, on a very slow Tuesday morning!)

  11. Sara November 20, 2012 at 14:49 #

    I love the crackly top crust you got with your brownies! I think these got a little better the more they set out of the oven, but mine needed a lot of baking time. I worried that I was over-baking them, but even when I checked at 40 minutes, the batter hadn’t set at all. Still, they were tasty, and that’s what matters. But best ever? Maybe not.

    • Mardi (eat. live. travel. write.) December 20, 2012 at 09:28 #

      Well I don’t actually agree – the recipe is not written so that it is clear and the baking time seemed pretty off for many people. Def not best ever…

  12. Jessica of My Baking Heart November 20, 2012 at 14:50 #

    Love the crackle and the fudgy centers… just gorgeous!

  13. SandraM November 20, 2012 at 17:19 #

    I reread the instructions so many times I was more confused in the end. And i agree, not best ever but they did have a good flavour. Mine were gooey in the middle too. A bit of time in the fridge seemed to help.

  14. Julia {The Roasted Root} November 20, 2012 at 21:53 #

    I can tell by your photos that these brownies have everything that I love – a crinkley crispy top with a nice solid foundation and a soft, gooey middle. I’m truly amazed…and kind of embarrassed by how bad my mouth is watering right now… well done!

  15. Helene Dsouza I Masala Herb November 21, 2012 at 02:48 #

    hmm… Can it be because of the oven type differences? I had similar issues like that a couple of months back when we got an oven. That oven is a convection oven and I wasn’t used to that at all, so my first tries were all horrible. Brownies were amongst them and then too a recipe that I knew should have been working well.

  16. Inge and Gillian November 21, 2012 at 22:01 #

    Hi Mardi, as usual, another beautiful post. A lot of people seem to have had difficulties with the suggested baking time of this recipe. We just thought it had something to do with living at high altitude. Everybody loved the taste of these brownies.

  17. Jan November 21, 2012 at 22:52 #

    LOVE the crackle top. That’s my favorite part, along with the edges.
    Very sad that they ended up so gooey and took so long to bake. Weird! But judging by the photos on Monica’s blog, her brownies look very gooey too. I guess some people like brownies that way?

  18. Stephanie November 22, 2012 at 21:37 #

    I saw the title of this post and just had to see what the verdict was. The method sounds very strange.

  19. Margaret November 23, 2012 at 13:10 #

    The instructions were a little strange. I read them and then didn’t follow them. But the brownies still came out just fine. Def my go to – for now!!

  20. Cathleen November 24, 2012 at 23:05 #

    Perfect! Nice crackley top and fudgy interior. Just the way a brownie should be! Your photo doesn’t look like they are too under-baked.

  21. Colette @ JFF November 29, 2012 at 19:57 #

    Holy elephant, those look wicked yummy!

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