As Silver Spork News’ resident Chicagoan, I was asked to write an article about being a Chicago pizza snob, because deep dish is such a Chicago staple and it’s deep dish vs. all other pizzas. Normally I would be all about that, but anyone who knows me know how I feel about pizza- I don’t discriminate (unless it’s Pizza Hut or something equally abominable). I am, however, a self-accepting brownie snob. My mom’s recipe is my absolute favorite, but I’m always down for a good brownie. Boxed brownies are not ideal, but I’ll eat them if they’re around. I absolutely refuse to eat Cosmic Brownies though, because they’re just chemically engineered sludge squares and they’re fucking disgusting. Keep that shit away from me.
But back to real brownies, my mom’s are the best, or at least, my favorite. I know, “everyone thinks their mom’s recipe is the best, you’re not special.” I agree, but my mom co-wrote quite a few cookbooks, including this cookie book, which is where her beloved brownie recipe is. It’s a classic. They’re also the only thing my mom allowed me to make by myself. She likes to kick everyone out of the kitchen when she’s cooking or baking, so when I was able to make something without her hovering over me, I made it a lot.
I think the reason her brownies are so good is that there’s a fuckton [read: 2 sticks] of butter, there’s a ton of sugar [oops], and there’s 5 ounces of baking chocolate. I. Love. Chocolate. The only thing I can really say about my love for chocolate is the more chocolate, the better. So naturally, I fell head over heels for these brownies. Chocolate, butter, sugar, WHERE can you go wrong? (Besides diabetes).
My mom isn’t even as dedicated to the chocolate-ness of this recipe. One time, she told me she sometimes subs out some of the baking chocolate for cocoa powder and I was a little offended. Every time I make this recipe, which is semi often, I always call her to ask how many eggs or the ratio of sugar to flour. I should know this by heart, but I always have to double check. The only thing that’s stuck is 5 ounces of baking chocolate.
Brownies should be three things: chocolatey, moist, and abundant. Sometimes they’re too chewy, which confuses me. I don’t even understand cheesecake brownies. I like cheesecake and I love brownies, but together… just don’t do that. You lose the texture and things get weird. Make chocolate cheesecake instead!
I didn’t really realize I was a brownie snob until around two years ago. I went to a potluck with brownies and another other girl had brought them too. Which is cool, because the more, the better. She started asking me about how I made them. From scratch, with my favorite recipe. Brownies are kind of my signature, I said casually. She started talking about how she only makes box brownies but no one ever knows they’re box brownies. I just smiled and walked away before my ears started hurting. Box brownies tend to come out more like cake, or they’re too chewy. It’s just not great.
Recently, I made them with nondairy margarine, which is kind of weird, but they were decent all things considering, so there’s that. I still think the original is better though. Maybe I’m not a snob, but maybe I’ll take this recipe to this grave… unless someone finds me a better one.
Post by Lian Weinstein. Photo from Food52.com.