Park Avenue Brownies

Park Avenue Brownies

Park Avenue Brownies, Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie Greenspan. Photography by Mark Weinberg.

Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple by Dorie GreenspanFrom James Beard Award-winning and NYT best-selling author Dorie Greenspan, a baking book of more than 150 exciting recipes

Say “Dorie Greenspan” and think baking. The renowned author of thirteen cookbooks and winner of five James Beard and two IACP awards offers a collection that celebrates the sweet, the savoury, and the simple.

Every recipe is signature Dorie: easy—beginners can ace every technique in this book—and accessible, made with everyday ingredients. Are there surprises? Of course! You’ll find ingenious twists like Berry Biscuits. Footlong cheese sticks made with cream puff dough. Apple pie with browned butter spiced like warm mulled cider. A s’mores ice cream cake with velvety chocolate sauce, salty peanuts, and toasted marshmallows. It’s a book of simple yet sophisticated baking.

The chapters are classic: Breakfast Stuff • Cakes • Cookies • Pies, Tarts, Cobblers and Crisps • Two Perfect Little Pastries • Salty Side Up. The recipes are unexpected. And there are “Sweethearts” throughout, mini-collections of Dorie’s all-time favourites. Don’t miss the meringue Little Marvels or the Double-Decker Caramel Cake. Like all of Dorie’s recipes, they lend themselves to being remade, refashioned, and riffed on.

Baking with Dorie: Sweet, Salty & Simple is available at Amazon.com and Indigo.ca.  


Park Avenue Brownies

Makes at least 16 bars

MY HUSBAND NAMED these Park Avenue Brownies because they’re rich and thin, very like the chic denizens of Manhattan’s most expensive stretch of real estate. They’re quick and easy enough to make every day and good enough to want them that often. They’re also a kind of all-things-to- all-people brownie, since they’re mostly fudgy, just a little cakey, deeply chocolaty and chewier than traditional brownies (that’s the brown sugar at work). In a moment that should be filed under “why didn’t I do this sooner,” I decided not to fold the nuts into the batter, but to scatter them over it instead. Because the nuts are on the outside, they toast in the oven, adding a bit of crispness to the bars. (If you’re not fond of nuts, just omit them.)

1⁄3 cup (45 grams) all-purpose flour

2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

½ teaspoon fine sea salt

5 tablespoons (2½ ounces; 71 grams) unsalted butter, cut into chunks

6 ounces (170 grams) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped

1⁄3 cup (67 grams) sugar

1⁄3 cup (67 grams) packed brown sugar

2 cold large eggs

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1⁄3 cup (40 grams) chopped walnuts (or other nuts) for topping (optional)

Maldon or other flaky sea salt for sprinkling (optional)

A WORD ON SIZE: I usually cut an 8-inch square pan of brownies into 16 pieces, but these are so chocolaty that you might want to cut smaller bars. Nibble a corner, and then decide.

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 325 degrees F. Coat an 8-inch square baking pan with baker’s spray, then line the bottom and two opposite sides of the pan with parchment paper, leaving enough overhang on the two sides that the parchment can later serve as a sling. Lightly spray the parchment. (Because these brownies are so thin and rich, they’re hard to flip out of the pan or to cut in it—spray-and-sling is the way to go.)

Whisk the flour, cocoa and salt together—make sure there are no lumps in the cocoa (sift if you must).

Set a large heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water—the water shouldn’t touch the bowl—drop in the butter and top with the chopped chocolate. Heat, stirring frequently until the butter and chocolate are only just melted, thick and shiny—you don’t want to heat the mixture so much that it separates. Transfer the bowl to a work surface.

Add both sugars and whisk them in thoroughly. The mixture will get grainy—it’s temporary. One by one, add the cold eggs, beating each one in vigorously. Beat—really beat—for a minute or two after the second egg goes in. The batter will be heavy and glossy and the whisk should leave tracks as you mix. Stir in the vanilla. Switch to a flexible spatula, add the dry ingredients all at once and gently stir them in.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top. If you’re using the nuts, scatter them over the batter and then, if you’d like, sprinkle sparingly with flaky salt.

Bake for 27 to 30 minutes, or until a tester inserted into the brownies comes out cleanish—you might have a streak of chocolate, and that’s fine. Transfer the pan to a rack and allow the brownies to cool until just warm, or until they reach room temperature.

Run a knife around the edges of the brownies that baked against the pan sides, then use the parchment sling to gently lift the square out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 16 (or more) squares.

STORING: Tightly wrapped, the brownies will keep at room temperature for about 4 days. They can be frozen for up to 2 months; defrost in their wrapper.

Recipe reprinted with permission from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

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