{Baking} ROBERT’S ABSOLUTE BEST BROWNIES … Ready for Dessert, David Lebovitz

“The hardest thing in life to learn is which bridge to cross and which to burn.”
David Russell

Ready For Dessert? Always!! Our home is always ready for dessert and it guarantees making the main meal so much more enjoyable. The air of anticipation, new variety coming forth … and if it’s chocolate, then it’s nirvana! I made these a while ago, or rather quite a while ago, and didn’t get down to posting them. Today is a happy day because the kids schools have finally reopened after more than 2 months of summer vacations, and I feel a sense of relief. Still scrabbling to get my life back in some order, to feel sane again …

As the story goes, the other day I saw a tweet about a Food Photo Competition from Leite’s Culinaria. I was all ears! I love food photos and competitions. So what if I don’t seem to win them, but taking a shot is always good! It was simple to enter. Find a recipe on Leite’s Culinaria that looks interesting to you, whip it up and make it strike a pose! Leite’s Culinaria is one of those places where the ‘want to make now‘ choice is ample, and it was a tough decision…

I spent the rest of my day browsing recipe after recipe on the site, and was amazed at how many I had bookmarked. There were so many I wanted to try, but eventually stopped short at ‘Robert’s Absolute Best brownies‘ from David Lebovitz’s latest book ‘Ready For Dessert‘. Of course, what I didn’t take into account was the fact that I never find chocolate stuff easy to click. Too late I guess, because the heart was set on these indulgent brownies! His introduction to the recipe had me sold, and I HAD to make them soon.

In Monsieur Lebovitz’s words {I could almost see his cynical expression as I read the commentary} …

 I have a blanket mistrust of any recipe with a superlative in the title. “The Ultimate” or “The World’s Finest” always makes me raise an eyebrow. But how else can I describe these brownies? I’ve made a lot of brownies in my life, and these really are the best. I learned to make them from the late Robert Steinberg, who changed the world of American chocolate when he cofounded Scharffen Berger chocolate. Part of Robert’s unique charm was that he was quick to argue and that he, like most people who hold strong opinions on things food-wise, was invariably right when you would taste the results.
He adapted his brownie recipe from one by cookbook author Maida Heatter. The first time I made the brownies, they were a dry, crumbly disaster. Unconvinced that they were worthy of their accolades, I listened carefully as he walked me through the steps. When he asked if I had stirred the batter vigorously for 1 full minute, I stammered and then finally admitted that I cut that step short. “Aha!” he said. So I made them again, and discovered that was one life-changing minute.

I had the butter and chocolate in a pan in a jiffy, a baker on a mission, on a brownie high! Of course it was another matter that we ran into a major power outage by the time I was done stirring the batter VIGOROUSLY for 1 whole minute {gosh, didn’t think a vigorous minute would be so long!} Just as I turned the batter into the tin, and popped it into my nicely preheated oven, DING! There was a power-cut, and I was gutted! But then, having gotten used to such hapless situations more often than warranted in the summer, I just let the batter sit in the oven. What could go wrong? In any case there was no baking powder in it … ho hum! I aired my grievances on twitter … here’s a teenie bit of the banter…

davidlebovitz: @vindee 2 hours? I couldn’t wait that long. I’d just eat the batter : )

vindee: @davidlebovitz LOL … I might hv had a go if I hadn’t been so egg phobic. Fought the daughter off though. She was ready to dive in!!

Clichéd as it may sound, these did indeed turn out to be the best brownies ever. Fudgy, chocolaty and very ‘perfect-brownie like’ in taste. They baked well despite the fiasco I had with the power outage. I had to fight the kids to stay away from them, and predictably, they didn’t last very long. It’s a drop dead simple recipe, and a one-bowl one. Pay attention to that vigorous minute, you must. It might seem never-ending, but it seems to hold the secret to this great recipe.

Robert’s Absolute Best Brownies
Recipe posted on Leite’s Culinaria from David Lebovitz, Ready for Dessert
Makes 9 to 12 brownies
6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted or salted butter, cut into pieces, plus more for the pan
8 ounces bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped

Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C).

Line the inside of a 9-inch square pan with 2 lengths of foil, positioning the sheets perpendicular to each other and allowing the excess to extend beyond the edges of the pan, or with a single large sheet of extra wide foil or parchment paper. Lightly butter the foil or parchment.
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the chocolate and stir until it is melted and smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the sugar and vanilla until combined. Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time. Add the flour and stir energetically for 1 full minute—time yourself—until the batter loses its graininess, becomes smooth and glossy, and pulls away a bit from the sides of the saucepan. Stir in the chopped nuts.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until the center feels almost set, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake.
Let the brownie cool completely in the pan—this is the difficult part—before lifting the foil or parchment and the block of brownie out of the pan. Cut the brownie into squares. {The brownies will keep well for up to 4 days and can be frozen for 1 month}
This recipe takes well to mix-ins. I’ll sometimes add 1/3 cup (45 g) chopped dried cherries or 1/3 cup cocoa nibs to the batter. To make minty brownies, crush the contents of one 50-gram tin of peppermint Altoids in a sturdy resealable plastic bag. Add the crushed mints to the batter along with the nuts (or, if you prefer, omit the nuts). If you like very minty brownies, add 1/2 teaspoon mint extract along with the crushed mints.
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  • Jessica @ How Sweet
    6 years ago

    They look like the best brownies! And I normally don't like nuts in my brownies.

  • Anh
    6 years ago

    So sinfully delicious!

  • Rosa's Yummy Yums
    6 years ago

    They look beautiful and so irresistible! Divine!



  • Happy Cook
    6 years ago

    They look absloutley beautiful and so so yumm. It is bad weather here and i so wish i had few of this ( well at least 2 ) with my coffee.

  • Nitha
    6 years ago

    Lovely n delicious brownies..

  • Cool Lassi(e)
    6 years ago

    Beautiful looking brownies. Love it.

  • gnee
    6 years ago

    Absolutely divine..love your variations too!

  • Gloria
    6 years ago

    Lovely brownies dear Deeba, huggs xoxoxo gloria

  • Asha @ FSK
    6 years ago

    LOL.. i can see your family sipping through the main meal to get to these brownies or any of the desserts you make!! :DD… lucky kids I say!

  • Eliana
    6 years ago

    Hmmmm- these brownies could not look more perfect!

  • Sue Sparks
    6 years ago

    Beautiful brownies! They look so fudgy! I would LOVE to try one! BTW, all these photos are winners! Just lovely:)

  • Manasi
    6 years ago

    Divine dessert! I love, love love brownies!

  • collettakay
    6 years ago

    They look scrumptious. I'll have to try them out.

  • El
    6 years ago

    I love trying new brownie recipes so I'm very excited you posted this. There's nothing like chocolate for a pick me up.

  • Sinful Southern Sweets
    6 years ago

    Fabulous! You can't go wrong with a recipe that David Lebovitz puts in print!

  • Barbara
    6 years ago

    I've always found the less flour in a brownie, the better I like them. And these meet the bill! And I love the choices of nuts and even dried fruit. I am not a walnut lover so I'd go the pecan or almond route.
    Nice and dark too, Deeba!

  • Anne
    6 years ago

    I am glad I stopped by as I am planning to bake some Brwownies for the weekend and until now wasn't sure which recipe to follow. Now I know!

  • Gera @ Sweets Foods Blog
    6 years ago

    Ready for dessert? This isn’t a question for me – you know the answer!

    Awesome brownies – pure sweetness here.
    Thanks Deeba for this incredible luscious pictures and to David for the recipe! 🙂



  • Kathy Gori
    6 years ago

    These look beautiful and your photos are just gorgeous! I love David Lebovitzs' books, he is the king of desserts. You are a wonderful baker and a master of snaps!

  • Amanda
    6 years ago

    Lucky you! I still have until September 1st before my kids go back! We've had a couple of power outages here in the last few weeks. UGH – so glad they all worked out!

  • Barbara Bakes
    6 years ago

    I probably would have eaten the batter. Gorgeous as usual!

  • Sara
    6 years ago

    Mmmmmmm, these look scrumptious! 🙂

  • Nags
    6 years ago

    they really do seem simple. just one question Deebs. When you mix in the sugar to the melted choco-butter mixture, its super hot right? And then you add the eggs next when its still hot? Won't that slightly cook the eggs? Or, is that the idea?

  • ateenagegourmet
    6 years ago

    I wish I could rate this post – 5 stars!

  • Chetana Suvarna Ganatra
    6 years ago

    The best brownie I hv come across…too good.

  • Sanjeeta kk
    6 years ago

    Lovely clicks and a beautiful recipe. Love to try it out.

  • suma
    6 years ago

    Drooo..ooooling all over the place Deeba!!! I am sold!!! Your pics are perfect as usual. School re-opening sure is a BIG reason to rejoice, second u:-))). At the cost of sounding like a wicked step-mom,I feel like celebrating(with a bake) my kids going to school in the morning everyday!!

  • diva
    6 years ago

    Great brownies mama and superb quote at the top. Think I needed that. hope you have been good and sorry i've been pretty out of touch lately. lots of love. x

  • bellini valli
    6 years ago

    I would have eaten the batter raw too, but then again these would be much better baked so I would suffice with licking the bowl.

  • Mardi @eatlivetravelwrite
    6 years ago

    I am a bit iffy about raw batter too but might have been tempted! I certainly have to get me that book!! They do look "ultimate" indeed!

  • Sarah, Maison Cupcake
    6 years ago

    They look great Deeba although your powercuts would drive me nuts!!!!

    Beautiful pictures, I hope you win the competition.

  • Curry Leaf
    6 years ago

    BEAUTIFUL BROWNIES.I can understand the powercuts,but still the brownies came out PERFECT.The patience makes it extra sweet

  • Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella
    6 years ago

    Deeba you temptress you! 😛 They do look magnificent and your photographs are as always, absolutely divine! 😀

  • Joy
    6 years ago

    Love, love brownies. These just look wonderful.

  • David
    6 years ago

    They look great…glad you like them as much as I do! : )

  • Jamie
    6 years ago

    You could make mud look mouthwatering and fabulous! These brownies look absolutely delicious and your pictures are stunning! Love the all brown and white atmosphere.

  • The Wind Attack
    6 years ago

    Hmm… I love how many nuts are in these. I also like that it's less butter and more chocolate, unlike most brownie recipes. I will give this one a go!

  • Shelly
    6 years ago

    These are amazing looking brownies! But then I have never met a brownie I didn't like.

  • Shelly
    6 years ago

    These are amazing looking brownies! But then I have never met a brownie I didn't like.

  • Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes]
    6 years ago

    Shows the importance of a single minute of life!! These look scrumptious!

  • elra
    6 years ago

    Gorgeous brownies, stunning photos.

  • Heavenly Housewife
    6 years ago

    Ooooooh yummy yummy brownies. I saw these on the food porn pages. Now that I know they are your brownies daaaaahling, I must ask you to share one with me 🙂
    *kisses* HH

  • Heather Davis
    6 years ago

    Hope you do well in the photo comp! The brownies look gorgeous. I am sure they tasted divine after waiting so long to eat them.

  • tasteofbeirut
    6 years ago

    Power outage? We have these several times a day over here! Love your brownies, they look as brownies should! and the generous use of nuts right up my alley!

  • Valentina
    6 years ago

    I simply love your blog. your photos are always very charming. When I read that you too find chocolate hard to photograph i felt relief.I'll explain: i have been struggling to get good chocolate photos. I even reached out to Mowie for help. This brownie has made my mouth water.

  • VictorianStyleFurniture
    6 years ago

    hmm now i'm hungry for some chocolate myself 😉

  • Cristie
    6 years ago

    I've made a David Lebovitz's brownie before and he does not disapoint! These look wonderful. Thanks for the recipe, I'll give it a try.

  • bake in paris
    6 years ago

    I admire your patience and talent in taking food shots. And fully enjoy the way you make the shot variety in terms of angle and props.

    I know that takes a lot of time, but you (as I do) know that it is all worthwhile….

    And afterall, great photos for a great recipe 🙂

    Sawadee from Bangkok,

  • shaz
    6 years ago

    Gorgeous photos Deeba, good luck, find it hard to believe when you say you don't win antyhing!

    The brownies look so sinful, I'm definitely going to try my hand at them, the idea of mix-ins sold me 🙂 And yes, I will give it the full vigorous minute.

  • Natalia
    6 years ago

    Hi,i´m from spain and i don´t speak english very well.I love your blog,your recipes,your pictures…everything.It is so beatiful.i hope that visit my blog.Thank so much.

  • Katie
    6 years ago

    They look divine and I love how nutty they are. Who would have thought that 1 minutes could make all the difference

  • Tasty Eats At Home
    6 years ago

    I am a brownie fanatic, so I'd be really interested in trying "the absolute best" brownies!

  • Shabs..
    6 years ago

    Oh deeba…..
    i too thought of participating in the photo competitition, just cos i love shooting foodie pics and love partcipating in foodie photo contest……Thought of baking this brownies, but skipped it to katherine hepburns's since u have already baked it……As you said shooting chocolate based pictures are tuff and i too had tuff time deciding on what to choose and went bookmarking loads before i got fixed with this brownies…Thanks for letting me know and good luck to u…..BTW, ur pics are real good and u know u have always been one of my greatest inspirations especially on photography….I have learned loads, and yet to learn alot….
    loved the pic of ur mango bavarian cream cake….looks heavenly.


  • 6 years ago

    Hi Deeba,

    I made these brownies during the weekend and they sure are my Absolute Best Brownies too! Thanks so much for sharing. I have posted it in my blog. Although my clicks are just plain and simple. I had a dream the night I made these brownies. That I visited your place and met you to learn baking and photography from you. But when the dawn broke I was all frowns to realize it was a dream. No words to explain how much your blog is admired and looked upto by bakers in India. You are an inspiration to many.

    Link to my brownie post: http://amchi-bong-konnexion.blogspot.com/2011/03/choco-nut-brownie.html


  • Kate
    5 years ago

    I’ve made these brownies so many times – they’re absolutely perfect and the best brownies I’ve ever eaten. Thank you for this post!

  • Restaurant Recipes
    5 years ago

    I enjoy, lead to I discovered exactly what I used to be having a look for. You have ended my 4 day lengthy hunt! God Bless you man. Have a great day. Bye

  • Zo-ya
    5 years ago

    Hello Deeba,
    Am a silent follower of your beautiful blog! I love the clicks, the write ups and above all the humility in your words!
    I tried this recipe on friday and i must say i was so excited about the way they turned out! Shared with a few friends who loved them as well!
    Thank you so much, you are truly an inspiration!

    • 5 years ago

      Thank you Zoya. Your wonderful words made my day. So glad the recipe turned out good. YAY!!

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