It all started with one of those women who won’t give out her recipes. You know the sort. I suppose if I were a tougher lady, more Joan Collins-esque, I would have told her to stop being a ridiculous Greedy Gerty over her stupid brownie recipe and then thrown my drink in her face for good measure but the reality is that I’m the type of sucker who says, and really means, things like “I totally get it, no no, I completely understand — don’t give it another thought, you’re so sweet to even apologize.”
While I may be a simpering twit, I’m also a touch competitive. So as this recipe unsharer went on and on and on about how she makes the BEST brownies and they’re like CRACK and everybody who has ever had them just RAVES about how GREAT they are, I sat on my barstool working myself into a silent rage.
And when I got home, several glasses of wine-with-ice deep, I hit Google like I’ve never hit Google before looking for a base recipe I could tinker with. I resolved to make replicating these brownies my mission in life.
I thought it would take years. I was willing to make that commitment if it meant that I could snatch the BAKER OF THE BEST EVER BROWNIES crown off her head and wear it atop my locks until the end of time.
I further resolved, in what will henceforth be known as the Royal Decree of HRH Jolie of The Most Glorious Empire of The Best Ever Brownie Bakers, that once the recipe was perfected I would share it with the world so everyone can make The Best Ever Brownies for their people. I just… do you think it would maybe be okay if I keep the crown?
Well, I won. And I’m keeping my vow. So here it goes.
Turn your oven to 350 degrees.
In a 3- or 4-quart saucepan, melt a stick-and-a-half of butter with 2 ounces of unsweetened chocolate. Since these are The Best Ever Brownies you should use the highest-quality chocolate (and butter!) that you can find, though I’ll whisper to you behind my hand that a batch I made using Baker’s, which is basically the Alpo of the unsweetened chocolate world, was met with oohs and aahs and a whole lot of paws surreptitiously darting toward the plate for just one more, I swear this is my last one OH MY GOD I CAN’T STOP WHAT IS IN THESE THINGS?!?
Once those two things are melted, turn the heat off and move the pot to a cold burner to let it cool down for a spell.
Now stir in the following things:
A heaping ¼ cup of cocoa powder
2 cups of sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
When that’s all nicely mixed, pour the batter into a 8”x8” square pan that you’ve lined with greased foil such that the foil drapes over the edges of the pan.
That’s pretty much it, except for the secret part. The crack part. Have you guessed yet what it is?
It is salt.
But not just any salt. Maldon salt. Himalayan pink salt also works, as does Sel Gris. Kosher salt does not work; neither does table salt. You need rocks, Jenny from the block. About a teaspoon of ’em, but kind of eyeball it, giving the top of the brownie batter a pretty good coating with the stuff. Once you’ve done that, put the pan in the oven, let everything bake for 30–35 minutes before cooling for one hour at room temperature, followed by one hour in the refrigerator. Cut them into 16ths.
Have you ever wondered what your friends look and sound like when they orgasm? Because fair warning: you’ll find out, and you should know that before you trot these babies out because it’s actually a really disturbing thing to know. (The silent ones freak me out the most.)
Jolie Kerr bakes the best-ever brownies and has the crown to prove it.
Photo by various brennemans.