Star Brownies

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These rich, melt-in-your-mouth chocolate brownies have been a favorite at the bakery from day one. Back in the day, we hand-mixed the batter, and I always had to count the strokes to make sure it was properly mixed. These days, we make the batter in a stand mixer, but here I give you the counting-strokes method. It’s a little tedious, but it’s the most reliable method I know, and it makes for a fantastic brownie.

Ingredients

  • ½ pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • ½ pound unsweetened chocolate, preferably Scharffen Berger 99%, chopped
  • 2½ cups granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 cup unbleached (all-purpose) flour
  • confectioners’ sugar for dusting (optional)

Method

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with nonstick spray. Line with parchment, leaving an overhang on two opposite sides of the pan.

Set a medium heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water), add the cubed butter and chocolate, and stir frequently until melted and smooth.

Remove the bowl from the heat, add the sugar, salt, and vanilla, and stir with a wooden spoon until thoroughly combined. Add one egg and beat it in, counting 100 strokes. Add the remaining eggs one at a time, counting 100 strokes after each one. It’s an arm workout, but it wasn’t so bad, right?

Add the flour and fold it into the batter until just combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, until a slight crack has formed around the edges. Place the pan on a wire rack and let the brownies cool completely.

Using the parchment “handles,” remove the brownies from the pan. Remove the parchment and cut the brownies into 16 squares. You can decorate the top with confectioners’ sugar, if you’d like. I use a stencil of a star, of course.

The brownies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.

I like to refrigerate the brownies, which makes them extra chewy and fudgy–yum.

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