Our Baking Club celebrated its first birthday in April by baking through every book we'd covered so far. This made it the perfect time for member Chris Hoelck to embark on "The Brownie Project," well, technically, Part 1 of his brownie project. You see, he decided to make brownies from each book we've covered that has a brownie recipe. Since that's a lot of brownies, he divided all of those recipes into two types, based on whether they came together with a bowl and spoon, or a mixer.
Here are the results of his first round, four unadorned brownies that all come together without the assistance of a mixer, from Mark Bittman's How to Bake Everything, Erin Jeanne McDowell's The Fearless Baker, and Dorie Greenspan's Dorie's Cookies and Baking: From My Home to Yours. You can see the results in the photo (at left), and while there were some differences he observed between the recipes (types of chocolate, inclusion of ingredients like espresso powder or canola oil, and so on), the final results probably won't come as too much of a surprise—Hoelck says: "Bottom line is that they’re all good and all relatively quick to put together and pop in the oven."
And sometimes, that exactly what we all need, a simple batch of brownies with no frills that comes together lickity-split. So we took Hoelck's non-mixer requirement a step further and rounded up three brownie recipes that come together with just a single bowl. Go on, get your bake on:
This recipe is one part of a master brownie recipe Medrich designed to use whatever chocolate you have in the house, but as Creative Director Kristen Miglore discovered when she featured them in Genius Recipes, the best version happens to be the one that only requires cocoa powder. And luckily for those of us in a hurry to make brownies with whatever we have on hand, she notes: "Any cocoa will work, but natural (not Dutch process) will taste more richly of chocolate."
These brownies hold true to their name, and they're the ones Hoelck deemed "the fudgiest and gooiest" in his taste test. As Erin McDowell describes, "Crackly on the top, fudgy in the center with just a liiiiiiiiittle bit of chew, these brownies are what I think of as the 'just right' combo, and they satisfy many a chocolate craving in my house."
This one is fudging (eh, eh?) the definition a little, but if you skip the frosting these are indeed one-bowl brownies. These are a riff on the simple one-bowl Baker's chocolate brownie recipe, and Posie Harwood calls them "decadent and intensely fudgy," but they might not be the best option if you want to eat them as soon as they're out of the oven. She says, "They are better when chilled slightly—but it's hard to wait that long to take a bite!"
Are you Team Cakey or Team Fudgy? Tell us in the comments!
This article originally ran in April, but we brought it back because we're craving a batch of brownies.