Finding that perfect brownie

Ok, I have tried and tried and I need some assistance from the Instructable community.

My favorite brownies in the world are Ghirardelli's Triple Chocolate Brownie mix. It's a delicious chocolatey blend with 3 different chocolate chips inside (semisweet, milk and bittersweet/dark). The batch comes dry and you add 1/3 oil, 1/3 cup water (though I use coffee), and 1 egg for a 8x8 pan of brownies.

My issue is I want to figure out how to make these from scratch. As much as I love them, I'm a scratch kind of girl and I just don't feel like I can call a recipe mine if I'm using a box mix.
There's tons of brownie recipes online but none that seem similar. I figured out that the dry mix must obviously have their cocoa powder in it, but I can't find a recipe that has you add egg, oil and water to a dry mix. Many of the recipes I found have you melt one of the chocolates into your chocolate batter, rather than use cocoa powder, but I don't think Ghirardelli does that, unless I'm wrong. And if they did, how would it come as a dry mix? Others might have used powder but then they call for a lot of butter instead just a 1/3 cup of oil.

Are there any brownie experts who can figure this one out for me? 

wilgubeast3 years ago

This might get you moving in the right direction: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/cocoa-brownies-recipe.html and this will prevent you from heading in the wrong direction: http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/common-mistakes/article/brownies-common-mistakes

You're unlikely to find a recipe that mirrors the egg+oil+water+dry mix from the box. I'd experiment with Alton Brown's recipe as a starting point, supplementing the dutch cocoa with crumbled versions of the Ghirardelli chocolate trio to approximate the chocolate flavor of the mix that you enjoy.

And a bonus article about brownies, because this was a fun little investigation: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/blog/2009/02/12/serious-brownie-points/

Rahkitty (author)  wilgubeast3 years ago

Oh wow thank you!! :)

Please share your new recipe once you dial in the right ingredients and amounts. :D

Rahkitty (author)  wilgubeast2 years ago

Hi! So I have been going at this research for a few months now (brownies are serious business around here) and finally found one that my partner and all our network of friends, club members, etc. think are actually BETTER than Ghirardelli's. I made sure to always serve mine with the Triple Chocolate ones, so there was a side-by-side comparison.

I learned the trick is to use dutch or double-dutch cocoa powder and to either use coffee in place of any water, or espresso powder. Apparently coffee, in general, makes chocolate sing (as does a little bit of salt on chocolate chip cookies before they go into the oven). Using the dutch-processed cocoa also gave it a really rich chocolate flavor. I also don't use vanilla extract, I use paste. It really does make a difference, in my opinion.

The recipe I chose was from King Arthur, but I made adjustments. Besides the change in vanilla I also upped the amount of it (vanilla) and changed the chocolate chips. I liked the triple chocolate for a reason, so I did that. They are super moist, without being gooey, rich and amazing. :D Otherwise, I didn't have to change much else. The recipe turned out to be amazing, so enjoy!

4 large eggs

1 1/4 cups double-dutch or dutch cocoa

1 tsp salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp espresso

2 Tbsp vanilla paste

1 cup unsalted butter

2 1/4 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate

3/4 cups bitter-sweet (dark) chocolate

3/4 cups milk chocolate

1) Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9" x 13" pan

2) Crack the 4 eggs into a bowl, and beat them with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla till smooth.

3) In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Or simply combine the butter and sugar, and heat, stirring, until the butter is melted. Continue to heat (or microwave) briefly, just until the mixture is hot (about 110°F to 120°F), but not bubbling; it'll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

4) Add the hot butter/sugar mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth.

5) Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

6) Spoon the batter into a lightly greased 9" x 13" pan.

7) Bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean, or with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it. The brownies should feel set on the edges, and the center should look very moist, but not uncooked. Remove them from the oven and cool on a rack before cutting and serving.