Friday, April 20, 2007

Supernatural Brownies

The NYTimes' Julia Molskin wrote this of the following recipe:

[The Supernatural Brownie] is an accidental creation by [Nick] Malgieri, who (in a rare human moment for a pastry chef) once forgot to double the flour when baking his own fudge brownie recipe. He also adds a measure of brown sugar to the basic formula. The experts are divided as to whether the brown sugar actually contributes flavor or simply makes the brownie moister (molasses, which makes brown sugar brown, is powerfully hydrophilic). It's my belief that the slightly bitter taste of molasses acts as an invisible enhancer to the chocolate. The result is as complex and sophisticated as any terrine or truffle I have ever produced. (New York Times, 4/11/07 )

Hmm. Julia's description does not match the brownies in front of me. The chocolate flavor is good but the texture is disappointing. It's cakey and too dry. (And this isn't the first time I've found Malgieri's recipes to be dry. Maybe I should demand a refund?)

To be fair, I did not have muscovado sugar on hand, so I used regular dark brown sugar. They did get less dry after being tightly wrapped for a day (or two; see instructions below) but, um, I wouldn't call these supernatural -- they're definitely a terrestrial product.

Supernatural Brownies

2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark brown sugar, such as muscovado
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup flour
1/2 cup chopped walnuts or 3/4 cup whole walnuts, optional (I used pecans)

Butter a 13-by-9-inch baking pan and line with buttered parchment paper. Preheat oven to 350- degrees. In top of a double boiler set over barely simmering water, or on low power in a microwave, melt butter and chocolate together. Cool slightly. In a large bowl or mixer, whisk eggs. Whisk in salt, sugars and vanilla.

Whisk in chocolate mixture. Fold in flour just until combined. If using chopped walnuts, stir them in. Pour batter into prepared pan. If using whole walnuts, arrange on top of batter. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until shiny and beginning to crack on top. Cool in pan on rack.

Yield: 15 large or 24 small brownies.
Note: For best flavor, bake 1 day before serving, let cool and store, tightly wrapped.


Jerry said...


Supernatural brownies have already been created.

By you.

right here!

Jerry said...

By the way, You've been tagged!

Gotta get goals

It's cuz I like ya ;) Honest

Kim/Thomas said...


I just came across your blog, whilst looking for info on the syracuse regional market..funny how you find these things!

I have been blogging for over a year now too..and mostly my first blog is about helping a frenchman adapt to north american life..I also made a very amateur cooking blog, that I almost never update...:( and then my oldest son is competing in odyssey of the mind, so i also made a small blog of that too, ya know, for the team...

I digress...I am commenting, because 1. I think your blog looks great! 2. I can't wait to try some of the recipes and 3. most people I have on my blogroll are out of the country or far away:), so since you are right here in my area...I thought I would say Hello:)


Maureen said...

There is a brownie recipe that I have been using that calls for 9 oz bittersweet chocolate and 5 eggs, can't remember the quantity of super fine sugar or butter and only 3 Tbp flour. They are wonderful by themselves as they come out of the oven. However, we have recently discovered that magic happens when eaten frozen (like I do with frozen snicker bars). Last time I served them we did a taste test of room temperature and frozen. People literally got up from the table and headed to the freezer with their room temperature ones. You might try this and see what happens.

Peabody said...

Yes, asking for a refund is all the rage!

breadchick said...

Laura, I tried these too and found exactly the same thing. Nothing "supernatural" about these brownies. But now I will try YOUR Supernatural brownies that Jerry has linked to! I had my refund letter all written but MBH wouldn't mail it...

Laura Rebecca said...

Jerry -- you are too nice!

Hi Kim! Thanks for the shout out! You've got some yummy things going on at that blog of yours.

Maureen, thanks for the tip! (I think I'll try it with a better recipe, though...)

Peabody, serious WTF was with that email? Some people have no shame (or sanity).

Breadchick, I feel especially vindicated by your comment. How are these brownies special, let alone supernatural?

Holly Dart said...


I too, tried Nick's Supernatural brownie recipe but I made a happy mistake by putting the batter in a 9 x 9 inch square pan rather than a 9 x 13 pan. I cooked them only a few extra minutes, until they were only kind-of set in the middle.

the results were REALLY fudgy, chewy on the edges, rich, perfect, supernatural. I recommend the square cake pan route. This is my only brownie recipe now.


Laura Rebecca said...

Hmmm, Holly -- very interesting! That may be just the trick that makes this recipe work. Thanks for the tip!

MightyRoy said...

Whether most brownies turn out fudgey or cakey is mostly determined by bake time. Too long and it turns out cakey. Shorter and its fudgey.

Anonymous said...

Mightyroy is right. My oven is properly calibrated and these brownies are usually done around the 25-30 minute mark. The best gauge of done-ness, as mentioned in the recipe, is when the top begins to crack. They are fantastic.