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2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
1-1/4 cups unsweetened cocoa powder, alkalized (Dutch process) OR nonalkalized
3/4 cup all-purpose flour, stirred with a fork before measuring
Pinch of salt
Sift or strain all ingredients into a large bowl. With a small whisk or large slotted spoon, blend well until mix is of an even color and no lumps remain. Carefully spoon or pour into airtight storage container. Seal; store in cool, dry conditions (not in the refrigerator!) for up to several months.
To make a batch:
One container of the above brownie mix
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into thin pats
5 eggs, graded “large”, beaten to combine, preferably at room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Optional: 1 cup miniature chocolate chips or chopped nuts---or both!
You’ll need either a 13 by 9 inch pan, lined with heavy-duty aluminum foil (smooth out as many creases in the foil
as possible), OR two foil pans, which specify that they’re “for 13 by 9 by 2 recipes”, even though the pans themselves will be a little smaller than those dimensions. Note that neither type of pan need be two inches tall, as
the brownies won’t be that tall when baked.
Adjust rack to middle of oven. If you’re using foil pans, set one inside the other (you’ll bake the brownies in a doubled foil pan). Neither type of pan needs to be greased.
Pour brownie mix into large bowl; set aside. In small saucepan over low heat, melt butter pats. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
When oven is preheated and butter is just slightly warm, add butter, eggs, and vanilla to mix. With wide-tined whisk or slotted spoon, stir about ten strokes to begin combining dry and moist ingredients, then beat about twenty strokes. Scrape bottom and sides of bowl with rubber spatula (this is important, as the mix likes to hide at the bottom of the bowl). Beat batter about twenty more strokes. Batter should stiffen and be a very dark chocolate brown. A few small lumps are OK; if there are many lumps, press them out quickly with the back of a spoon. If you’re going to add chips or nuts, do so now. Stir into batter (do not beat) with as few strokes as possible, just
until evenly distributed.
Turn batter into pan and spread evenly, then push slightly higher in corners and along edges. Bake in preheated oven for 32 to 40 minutes (brownies baked in a 13 by 9 metal pan will require less time), until toothpick or cake tester inserted near center emerges with just a few moist crumbs clinging to it (be careful not to mistake the melted chocolate of a chip for raw batter). Turn pan back-to-front once, about halfway through baking time. Do not overbake! Remove brownies to cooling rack.
Allow to cool completely before serving. Texture and flavor of brownies will benefit from an overnight resting period at cool room temperature if stored airtight. If you used a metal 13 by 9 pan, remove uncut “block” of brownies, still in foil, from pan prior to cutting (brownies baked in doubled foil pan can be cut and stored in the pan, but remove the bottom foil pan to use again before cutting brownies).
Store brownies airtight at cool room temperature for up to 48 hours. Freeze for longer storage.
Yields 24 to 32 brownies
© Stephanie Zonis, 2002