[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.
2 sticks (16 tablespoons) butter, more for pan and parchment paper
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate
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.