Mindy Segal, owner of Chicago’s Hot Chocolate and self-proclaimed cookie nerd reveals all in Cookie Love.
There used to be a cute restaurant in Chicago called the Lakeview Supper Club that served perfect brownies on their cookie plate. They managed the impossible by being both fudgy and cakey. I called up the pastry chef and said I would trade any recipe of mine for her brownie recipe. She asked for my crème brûlée recipe, which I handed over. Everyone was happy.
These brownies are great as they are. But I gild the lily with an optional step: spreading a cocoa rice brittle (chocolate puffed rice mixed with melted chocolate) on top. You can make these into “surprise brownies,” too: divide the batter evenly between two quarter sheet pans to bake two layers. Once cool, spread one of the layers with the cocoa rice brittle. Put the other layer on top to cover the brittle, press down, and refrigerate. That’s where the surprise comes from: when you cut into the brownies, you get chocolate crispy goodness in the center. (If you do this version, serve the brownies within two days; the rice loses its crispness if stored for too long.)
The key to this recipe is mixing warm, melted chocolate and butter into the sugar at the beginning. Whether you bake plain brownies or include the cocoa rice brittle, refrigerate the brownies before slicing. I like to slice them into 4-inch-long, candy bar–like shapes, but feel free to cut them into square brownies if you prefer.
- Heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly coat a quarter sheet (9 by 13-inch) pan or glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper, leaving 1 inch of overhang on the long sides.
- In a heatproof bowl set over (but not touching) barely simmering water in a pot, melt the chocolate and butter, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Keep warm.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the sugars on low speed to combine. Add the warm chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
- Crack the eggs into a cup or bowl and add the vanilla.
- In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder. Whisk in the salt.
- On medium speed, add the eggs and vanilla, one egg at a time, mixing briefly to incorporate before adding the next, approximately 5 seconds for each egg. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together. Mix on medium speed for 20 to 30 seconds to make nearly homogeneous.
- Add the dry ingredients all at once and mix until the dough comes together but still looks shaggy, approximately 20 seconds. Do not overmix. Scrape the sides and the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula to bring the batter together.
- Pour into the prepared pan. Bake, rotating the pan halfway through the baking process, until a thin crust appears on the top and a toothpick inserted into the center of the pan draws out wet crumbs, 30 to 35 minutes. Cool completely in the pan.
- Once the brownies are cool, in a heat-proof bowl set over (but not touching) barely simmering water in a pot, melt the dark milk chocolate, stirring occasionally with a rubber spatula. Stir in the puffed rice. Using a large offset spatula, spread the brittle over the brownies in an even layer. Refrigerate until chilled.
- Lift the brownies out of the pan using the parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Trim the edges. Cut the brownies in half lengthwise, then cut into 12 strips crosswise. Serve the brownies at room temperature.
- The brownies can be refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Reprinted with permission from Cookie Love, copyright © 2015 by Mindy Segal, published by Ten Speed Press, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.