Published May 1, 2000.
Baking brownies with a moist, velvety texture, a hint of chew, and deep chocolate flavor is no piece of cake. The secret lies in the perfect balance of ingredients and three different types of chocolate.
Many brownies are too soft and pasty; dry and cakey; or chewy, like a Tootsie Roll, with chocolate flavor ranging from intense but one-dimensional jolts to weak, muted passings on the palate.
A moist, dark, luscious interior with a firm, smooth, velvety texture that your teeth easily glide through but meet just a little resistance in chewing. It must pack an intense chocolate punch and have deep, resonant chocolate flavor, but it must fall just short of overwhelming the palate.
To develop a rich, deep chocolate flavor we ultimately found it necessary to use three types of chocolate: unsweetened chocolate laid a solid, intense foundation; semisweet chocolate provided a mellow, even somewhat sweet flavor; and cocoa smoothed out any rough edges introduced by the unsweetened chocolate (which can contribute a sour, acrid flavor) and added complexity to what can be the bland flavor of semisweet chocolate. We focused on flour, butter, and eggs to arrive at the chewy texture we wanted. Too little flour and the batter was goopy; too much made the brownies dry and muted the chocolate flavor. Nearly all of the recipes we consulted recommended melting the butter rather than creaming (or blending) softened butter with the sugar and eggs. The melted butter is said to produce a more dense and fudgy texture, and it did. Bringing our testing to a close, we went to work on eggs, settling on three, which helped to make the brownies moist and smooth, with great flavor and nice chew.list of recipes