Luxury Brownies Recipe

Among the many blogs I read enthusiastically is one called Coco&Me: its author, Tamami, sells homemade cakes and chocolates at Broadway Market in East London on Saturdays, and she describes her blog as “the diary of a market stall holder.”

Beautifully illustrated with photos of her displays and confections, it is full of the sort of details I crave when I read about someone’s life and craft: the number of truffles she rolled for the last market day before Christmas, the influence of rainy weather on the sales of lemon tarts, and the delicate art of offering samples.

Tamami-san is just as generous with her tips and recipes — sharing trade secrets is not a decision professional bakers take lightly, so this is all the more commendable — and I had long ago bookmarked the post in which she reveals the secret to her popular Luxury Brownies.

The chocolate flavor is intense, thanks to the combined action of melted chocolate and cocoa powder, which makes this a true chocolate lover’s brownie.

I finally got around to trying the recipe last week for Maxence’s birthday party, though I ended up tinkering with it a bit (you’re shocked, I know), lowering the amount of sugar and fat, replacing part of the butter with almond butter, and adding a touch of salt. I also changed the order of the steps, sticking to the M.O. I use for the melt-in-your-mouth chocolate cake; I am terrified of adding raw eggs to a warm mixture, lest they curdle.

Despite my oven’s vigorous attempts to sabotage the operation — I am plotting the acquisition of a shiny new one (yay!) so it is more mean-spirited than ever — the brownies turned out exactly the way I’d hoped.

The chocolate flavor is intense, thanks to the combined action of melted chocolate and cocoa powder, which makes this a true chocolate lover’s brownie — not a tautology in my book, as I often find brownies to be too strong on the sugar and too weak on the chocolate.

I garnished mine with a mix of organic nuts sold under the name of mélange du professeur — “professor’s mix,” presumably because of the nuts’ brain-friendliness — that contains hazelnuts, almonds, cashews, Brazil nuts, and walnuts, but pistachios, pecans, and/or dried fruits would be good, too. Note that the texture and flavor improve over time, so plan to make this a few hours or even a day in advance.

Luxury Brownies Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yields 20 to 24 servings.

Luxury Brownies Recipe

Ingredients

  • 120 grams (1/2 cup plus 2 teaspoons) butter, diced
  • 230 grams (8 ounces) good bittersweet chocolate, chopped finely
  • 140 grams (1 cup plus 2 tablespoons) flour
  • 40 grams (1/3 cup) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • A good pinch of salt
  • 80 grams (1/3 cup) whole almond butter (this is like peanut butter, but made from unblanched almonds; available from organic food stores) (see note)
  • 250 grams (1 1/4 cups) unrefined cane sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 200 grams (7 ounces, about 1 1/2 cups) mixed nuts, chopped just a little bit (you still want large-ish chunks)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180° C (360° F) and line a square 20x20cm (8-by-8-inch) baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. Melt the butter and chocolate together* in a double boiler (or just a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water; make sure the bottom of the bowl does not touch the water), stirring regularly to ensure even melting. Set aside to cool for a few minutes.
  3. In the meantime, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt.
  4. Whisk the almond butter and sugar into the chocolate mixture. Add the eggs in one by one, whisking well after each addition. Incorporate the flour mixture, working gently with a spatula, until no trace of flour remains; do not overwork the dough. Save a handful of nuts for decoration, and fold the rest into the batter.
  5. Pour into the prepared pan, level the surface, and sprinkle with the nuts you've set aside.
  6. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the sides and top are dry to the touch and cracked in places. Let cool completely before cutting, and ideally, leave to rest at room temp, covered with foil, for a few hours or overnight before serving.

Notes

  • Adapted from Coco&Me's Luxury Brownies.
  • If you can't find almond butter, or prefer not to use it, just up the butter amount to 200 grams (1 cup minus 2 tablespoons) total.
  • I once read (in Confidences Sucrées if I remember correctly) that Pierre Hermé advises against melting butter and chocolate together, because they don't have the same melting point (he didn't specify which melted first, but from what I can tell, butter melts at a lower temp). I still proceed this way for simplicity's sake, but I always think of Pierre as I do so.

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  • http://www.starrybluesky.wordpress.com Rhiannon

    Oh dear, I did know in advance that this would be a dangerous post to read ! With brownies as one of my specialist subjects I’m going to have to try this out.

  • http://smallkitchenbigideas.wordpress.com Sara

    This sounds amazing…I definitely see brownies in my future.

  • http://servedwithlove.blogspot.com aquadaze

    I can smell brownies from a distance!! These look like an absolute must try, just posted one on my blog a couple of days ago!

  • http://www.fromsingletomarried.com Tabitha (From Single to Married)

    Oh my! I really shouldn’t have read this before eating lunch… perhaps I should skip the lunch and go straight for dessert? These look fantastic!

  • http://whatilikenyc.blogspot.com Laura

    The almond butter is such a great idea! I bet it gives the brownies a little more complex of a flavor than the regular butter would. I can’t wait to give these a try.

  • http://www.realepicurean.com Scott at Realepicurean

    Well a luxury brownie is definitely better than a non-luxury one, I suppose. The normal version is a favourite of my wife so I can only guess she’d go crazy for your version!

  • http://www.cakespy.com Cakespy

    These indeed are luxurious! As a lover of a good brownie, I believe these are going to be a great new recipe to add to my repertoire.

  • http://www.LaughingDuckGardens.com/ldblog.php/ Sylvie, Rappahannock Cook & Kitchen Gardener

    Clotilde, what pleasure it was to read your article and recipes using citrus in the January issue of Martha Stewart Living. I have to admit that unfortunately for me I rarely see all those intriguing citruses in my corner of rural Virginia! I guess I just have to add Indio Mandarinquat to the citrus I grow in pots here if I want to taste them. Pomelo tree unfortunately grows too big to be happy in a pot.

    Thank you fior the recipes. The mandarin upside down cake looks just up my alley.

  • http://spooninandforkin.com/ Spooninandforkin

    I know that stews/soups are much better the day after because the flavors intensify more, but had no idea desserts can follow the same theory. This is a very good discovery! I’m much more intuitive with cooking.

  • http://foodmigration.com cindym

    oh my. i’ll have to try these. and if almond butter works, perhaps hazelnut butter might as well? hrmm…

  • ygardin

    Should I melt the butter or the chocolate first? Ooh, another chocolate recipe!

  • http://clairedbao.canalblog.com Claire

    C’est amusant, chez moi il y a un mélange de noix qui s’appelle “mélange étudiant”, probablement pour la même raison! Voilà une recette que je retiens, definitely!

  • http://almondandthehazelnut.com Yasmin (Almond & The Hazelnut)

    There’s not one brownie recipe that I go by without tucking it away for later use – they’re like my chocolate stash in my bedside table, there for when a choc craving hits or a sure-fire recipe needed! This one looks divine, and as a nut-fanatic, I’m pushing this one up the queue! Thank you and to Tamami also.

  • http://www.firefliesofhope.com Gwendolyn

    A lovely treat for me to celebrate today’s historic day for America. I’ll call them Luxury Inaugural Brownies.

  • http://GlobalPatriot.com Global Patriot

    Amazing recipe, and the almond butter does make a difference in both taste and texture, yum!

  • http://www.simplyforties.com SimplyForties

    These look delicious. I may have to get up and make a batch right now!

  • Rachel

    I’ve been lucky enough to eat the originals (from Tamami’s stall!) and can attest that they are by far the best brownies I’ve ever eaten… if you ever end up trying them ‘as written’ I can assure you that you won’t be disappointed!

  • http://TheRecipeGirl.blogspot.com RecipeGirl

    I have to admit… the title drew me in! I love the idea of adding almond butter. Would love to try these sometime!

  • http://www.dandysugar.com lisa from dandysugar

    Oooh!! Another intense delicious chocolate recipe. These sound and look delectable. I love the use of almond butter. What do you think of using hazlenut butter?

  • http://www.gourmet-chick.com Gourmet Chick

    These look to die for. Although I have a great recipe for Chocolate brownies spiked with raspberries. Somehow the rich, fudgy chocolate and the sweetness and bite of the raspberries really complement each other.

  • http://bulleetblog.canablog.com Anne-Liesse

    Merci pour le lien vers le blog de Coco&Me qui est, comme tu le dis si bien, plein de générosité.
    Je vais l’ajouter à mes favoris… en espérant aller goûter sa production sur place un jour. Have you ever been there ??

  • dory

    It happens I am having a party this weekend, so I will be trying the brownies as well as a couple of your other recipes! I am thinking perhaps whites beans with arugula/walnut pesto.

    However, my main reason for writing is to say CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR NEW OVEN! I don’t know how you lived without a working one.

    Dory

  • http://duodishes.wordpress.com The Duo Dishes

    The almond butter is a great, great idea. Adds a nice underlying nutty flavor!

  • http://hayleybakes.blogspot.com Hayley

    Those brownies look amazing!

  • http://www.aquitaine.se Eva

    What a nice blog! I truly like your style! Very impressed to see this level of English in writing for a French woman… Now I discovered you, hop, into my favourites!
    I am Swedish, lived in Paris for a while and now I live in Aquitaine, south of France, in Les Landes! I saw you failed to see the beauty of the landscape… same for me, but you should give it a second chance! In summer, the dunes and the smell of pine trees, the sea, it has something special!
    greetings from Eva in Aquitaine

  • Eileen

    This recipe might just replace what has been (for years) my favorite brown recipe.

  • Christina Oldenburg

    The recipe looks divine. American cooks/bakers frequently have trouble with British cookie/cake recipes because of differences in the flour. I don’t recall any huge difficulty with French flour, except that making homemead French bread with American flour is…well…almost impossible. Clothilde, what is your take on this?
    Christina

  • http://bitchinkitchenblog.blogspot.com/ Dallas from Bitchin’Kitchen

    I am curious to see how substituting butter with almond butter (which I always have on hand) will affect the taste. Did the flavour of the almonds really come through?

  • http://makelifedelicious.com Make Life Delicious

    Those brownies look wonderful! Thanks for sharing the recipe. I will definitely be making those…and soon! Brownies are one of my favorite sweets!

  • http://murasakishikibu.blogspot.com/ Murasaki Shikibu

    I guess I can forget about my diet now!

  • http://www.longislandexchange.com long island girl

    i will try to make your luxury brownie recipe. this looks really delicious. brownies is really one of my favorites and i am really looking for a great recipe and i hope this could be it. thanks for the recipe.

  • http://www.merisi.blogspot.com Merisi’s Vienna for Beginners

    I am intrigued by your use of almond butter and can’t wait to try to bake these brownies myself! Thank you for sharing the recipe.

    I think melting chocolate and butter together for brownies does not make much difference, but for other uses, I would hesitate. I learned from my mother to first preheat the oven to 90 max 100 degress Celsius, which is an ideal temperature to melt the chocolate, Once melted, mix in the room temperature butter by the spoonfuls, adding the next one only when the first one has been incorporated. This makes also for a beautifully glossy cake icing: simply pour it over the cake, without using a spatula, to keep it shiny.

  • http://www.merisi.blogspot.com Merisi

    P.S.:
    Mélange du professeur is available here, but it’s called “Studentenfutter,” food for students. Wonder why. *smile*

  • David P.

    How much of the butter can be replaced with almond butter?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    David – The recipe, as written, already uses butter and almond butter.

  • http://www.littlemisscupcake.eu Little Miss Cupcake

    Wow, I am baking these up right now. I followed the recipe to a T and after 25 mins. took them out of the oven and let them cool. They were way too runny inside. I put them back in for another 20 mins. and same results. I have now had them cooking for an additional 30 mins. so 1H15 min total and they are still liquidy in the center. I am not talking “moelleux” but uncooked and runny. I know my oven temp is right as I am a baker by trade and have a thermometer inside. Were yours cooked all the way through? Not sure what went wrong here.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Little Miss Cupcake – I, too, am puzzled by the results you describe: after 1h15 minutes at 180° C, they should on the contrary be way overcooked. You mentioned that they were runny inside, but is the top dry to the touch? Also, did you follow the metric or volume measurements?

  • http://www.littlemisscupcake.eu Little Miss Cupcake

    Hi Clotilde,

    I followed volume. After 5 years in France, I still can’t do metric! I covered the pan with foil after the first 40 mins or so. I did use a mixture of dried cranberries and pecans instead of all nuts if this has anything to do with it?
    I cut the edges off and took to a friend’s — they were eaten in 5 minutes flat, noty a crumb remained. And the center which was runny when I left has now somewhat solidified — my husband LOVES molten chocolate cakes so I am sure he will devour it. Will try again and next time use just nuts. Regardless of the outcome, these brownies were chocolate-y just like I like them and delicious!

  • Sarah L.

    Little Miss Cupcake: I baked these brownies last weekend, doubling the recipe (for guests, I swear!); I ended up baking them for 35 minutes in a 9×13 pan. They were dry to the touch on the top, but still runny inside, which worried me, but they set up on the edges within a few hours (as yours did), and by the next morning they had set in the middle (*I* was not the one eating them for breakfast, just to be clear). So letting them cool completely, and sit for even longer, seems to be key.

    And I have to say, these are the best brownies I’ve ever eaten!

    p.s. I’m a long time reader of this blog, but first-time commenter, so I should say that I always look forward to finding new recipes here! Thanks, too, for the lovely pictures, Clotilde, which always make me hungry.

  • Shantel

    I just want to report that I made these and (as did some other commenters) I find they are the best brownies I have ever tasted. Thank you!!

    I made half a recipe and used what I had on hand, which meant a few substitutions that may be of interest: half dark chocolate 85% cacao, and half milk chocolate (which I bought by mistake) from Michel Cluizel; artisan whole wheat flour instead of regular—with a tbsp replaced by more cocoa lest the result be too heavy; hazelnuts which I toasted and de-skinned in advance; replaced a tbsp of the sugar with dark brown sugar.

    I used regular (unsweetened) peanut butter rather than almond butter. Interestingly, the brownies don’t really taste peanutty. My guess is that hazelnut butter (and hazelnuts and milk chocolate) might lead to a nutella-like taste… in any case you probably wouldn’t be sorry!

    Anyway, what a result, the brownies are both dense and light, surely a physical anomaly!

  • http://thecanberracook.blogspot.com Cath the Canberra Cook

    I’ve made these twice now, once with macadamias and almonds, and one with hazelnuts and glace cherries. I used nutella instead of almond butter for the hazelnut ones, and it worked well.

    My take on the chocolate/butter melting: yes, the butter melts first.

    I leave the butter in a large chunk, and break up the chocolate. It all goes into a glass bowl. Microwave for 1 minute. Stir well, and leave it alone for another couple of minutes, maybe while you weigh out the flour & cocoa. The residual heat may finish the melting; if not, then another 10-20 secs will do it.

  • Li-hsia

    You can melt butter and chocolate together over hot water. If you use a microwave, melt the chocolate first then add the butter, which melts at a lower temperature.

  • http://www.sofiaraj.com Harsh Ranjan

    White chocolate originates from the cocoa (cacao) plant, but it is not ‘chocolate.’ According to the FDA, to be called ‘chocolate’ a product must contain

    chocolate liquor, which is what gives it the biter intense chocolate flavor (and color) to dark and milk chocolates.

  • Janka

    I made these yesterday, after they’ve been on my to-bake list since you wrote this article… I modified the recipe – less butter, no almond butter, less cocoa (I found bugs in my new/replacement bag – yikes!), used drinking chocolate von Bonnat instead… all in all, I might never again be able to reproduce the recipe. Which is a pity, because it’s GREAT. Rich, chocolaty, not too sweet, not greasy at all… YUM!!! I had these odd rests of pistacios, hazelnuts, almonds (you understand, I had to use them up;-)) and I also threw in some walnuts… We love it. Thanks for posting!

  • http://filosofiadesabor.blogspot.com Julieta GB

    Dear Clotilde, I allready did Tamami´s brownies and planning to try yours for my husband on Valentine´s with some prunes inside.

    Butter melts at 32°C and chocolate, good chocolate, start to melt at 32°C but to get all the crystals melted the temperature should rise to 45°C. That temperature shouldn´t change something in the butter.
    Don´t know why Hermé advices against that

  • Yaping

    Hi,Clotilde
    I am really lucky that I can find your gorgeous blogger.
    Every works that your did is wonderful.
    I will definitely learn lots from your here, and I indeed appreciate that.

  • Allie

    I’m a impulse baker/cooker and I’ve been reading through your blog. Whenever I thought I wanted to eat something, I’d search on here, see what I need, shop, prep, and bake/cook. As I write this, the brownies are in the oven and only have 10 more minutes to go!

    I’ve used the almond butter since I had some left from baking one of your other recipes. It smells so good right now, I want to go and just scoop some out. I want to thank you for your amazing recipes and making it available to everyone.

    Love – from Calgary

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      Thank you, Allie, and I hope your brownies were a success!

  • Aska

    it worked fantastically, everyone liked it.

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s wonderful to hear, thank you!

  • http://www.thegourmetreview.com The Gourmet Review

    These brownies are fabulous! I am saving the rest of the tray and will pit them against the great Thomas Keller’s recipe tonight at our family dinner. My 11 year old cooking partner, who dubbed herself the Blue Baker, thinks it’s no contest!

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      That’s wonderful to hear, I’m glad you’re having good success with this recipe!

  • Hisham

    Love yr blog; my sis recommended something for making the surface of the brownies crusty but yet not flaky. just before putting the pan in the oven; use a big spatula with water and spread it carefully over the surface. Weird; but works like a charm

    • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

      What an intriguing tip, Hisham, I’ll try it for sure!

  • katty

    Always love this dish any time of the day
    I know i cannot resist to have it all in a single day.
    I love it super hot and a scoop of vanilla ice cream on it with hot chocolate on the top… Yuummm…

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