Let’s rewind to Valentine’s Day. I’m single. I’m not feeling well. My mom is in town and our plan is to eat dinner and watch movies. As the sun goes down, I decide that I need a brownie—like I really need a brownie, for aforementioned reasons—and proceed to pull every baking book off of my shelves in my search for my ideal brownie recipe.
I wanted rich, dark, chewy, legit café-like brownies with crackly tops. I didn’t want gooey, fall-apart, stick-to-your-front-teeth brownies. I also didn’t want health-ified brownies or brownies swirled with cheesecake. I wanted one perfect brownie. Sometimes a girl just needs a brownie, you know?
I finally found a promising recipe in my copy of Alice Medrich’s Sinfully Easy Delicious Desserts. It was a thinner brownie than I wanted, but it looked dark and delicious and had the most magnificent shiny, crackly top. The recipe contains a fair amount of butter, as legit brownies should, and the butter is browned before the addition of sugar and cocoa powder. If you’re going to put a lot of butter in something, you might as well brown it for extra flavor.
Alice’s recipe also called for a lower-than-usual baking temperature (325 degrees) and specified that the brownies be baked in the lower third of the oven. All of the chocolate flavor came from cocoa powder, too. Interesting.