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new classic brownies

June 2, 2010

The quest for the perfect brownie continues with this recipe (spoiler alert: this is not my perfect brownie).  However, what started out as another brownie recipe ended with a tough lesson in “why it’s important to use the pan size recommended in the recipe”.

I won’t publicly humiliate myself and tell you that I didn’t take to the size of the pan the recipe called for (and that I rarely do and just hope for the best).  No, instead, I will just draw your attention to the photo of the incredibly thin brownies above.  I wouldn’t go so far as to call these brownies a fail, but they really walk the line.

Pan issues aside though, this recipe was fussy.  Something a brownie recipe shouldn’t be and more importantly, something the perfect brownie recipe can’t be.  The recipe called for 99% unsweetened cacao chocolate.  I went with 74% and thought they were pretty intense.  I couldn’t imagine going higher.

What the recipe did deliver on was a nice cakey edge with a dense fudge interior.  I’m sure much of this had to do with the water bath, but it could have also just been dumb luck.

In good conscience I can’t say I recommend you run out and try this recipe, but if you’re really curious what a water bath could do to your brownies, give it a whirl.  Better yet, you could just take your fave brownie recipe and give it its own water bath.  The results might just make you happy you did.

new classic brownies
adapted from Scharffen Berger’s website


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) butter
  • 4 ounces  99% cacao unsweetened chocolate
  • 1-1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Prepare an 8-inch square metal baking pan. It is important in this recipe to only use metal (and the proper size). Line the pan with either aluminum foil or parchment paper so that it comes up all four sides.
  3. Melt the butter together with the chocolate in the top of a double boiler or in a bowl placed above simmering water. Stir to smoothly integrated.
  4. With a wooden spoon or heavy spatula, mix in the sugar, vanilla and salt.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time.  Mix.
  6. Mix in the flour. Stir the mixture for at least a minute until the batter is smooth and begins to come away from the sides of the bowl.
  7. Bake the brownies at 400°F/200°C for 20 minutes or until the batter begins to come away from the sides of the pan.
  8. While the brownies are baking, prepare an ice bath for cooling. Using a roasting pan or a larger baking pan, fill it with cold water and ice cubes. When you remove the brownies from the oven, cool the pan completely in the ice bath. Be careful to not get water on the brownies. (If you had used a glass pan, it would break at this point and your brownies–and your pan–would be ruined.)
  9. Cut into 16 brownie bites.
  10. Water Bath on Foodista

5 Comments leave one →
  1. June 2, 2010 2:09 pm

    I never really have considered a water bath for brownies… Did they at least taste good?

    • June 2, 2010 2:16 pm

      They did! Absolutely. And despite being so thin they managed to remain moist, which I’m thinking may have had something to do with the water bath? Not sure.

      Once I find my go-to recipe, I’ll definitely try the water bath again, just to play around with it and see how it is worth the extra effort.

  2. June 2, 2010 3:17 pm

    I love thin brownies. These look delicious.

    • June 2, 2010 3:33 pm

      oh good! Then you are welcome to the KC household the next time I decide to shamelessly ignore recipe instructions!

  3. June 6, 2010 4:37 pm

    I never met a brownie I didnt like. I would love to try this recipe and the water bath too.If you won’t mind I’d love to guide foodista readers to your site.Just add your choice of Foodista widget at the end of this blog post and it’s good to go.Thanks!

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