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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Julia Child’s Best-Ever Brownies

First off, I think I might need to change the name of my blog to This Week for Dessert. Goodness, ‘someone’ has a sweet tooth lately. I recently made Julia Child’s Best-Ever Brownies from Baking with Julia.

julia child best ever brownies web

I know the question on all your minds….are these brownies really the best ever? If you like rich chocolate desserts, then they are. I am warning you, though – these brownies are not for the faint of chocolate heart. They’re hard core, gooey, rich. But in the best way possible.

When I first read through the recipe, I almost didn’t make them. A self-professed gooey brownie is tasty enough, but most often those recipes taste underbaked more than anything. Not so with Julia’s recipe. These brownies are gooey, but on a different level – a completely intentional, delicious-hot-or-cold level. The recipe is very similar in composition to the mini molten chocolate cake recipe I love so much, and these brownies are quite reminiscent of the flavors in that recipe.

Bottom line, I love these brownies. They were amazing hot out of the oven, and they were amazing cold the next day. They also have a great crusty top that stays that way over time. The recipe is a bit labor intensive, but I think worth it. Kind of what I expected, honestly, with Julia.

Remember, I do have an otherworldly tolerance for chocolate, so keep that in mind when considering my recommendation. Nate liked the brownies too, so you can probably trust me. 😉

best ever brownies julia child web

Julia Child's Best-Ever Brownies
From Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan and Julia Child Excerpt from the book, by Julia Child: Those who are passionate about brownies argue in defense of their favorite type, cakey or fudgey. If you’re a cakey fan, go on to another recipe. These are the epitome of soft, dark, “baked just until barely set” brownies. Their creamy texture makes them seem wildly luxurious and very much a treat to be metered out in small servings (just small enough for a scoop of ice cream and some chocolate sauce). The mixing method is unorthodox for a brownie. Half of an egg-sugar mixture is stirred into the melted chocolate and butter, while the other half is whipped until it thickens and doubles in volume. The lightened eggs are folded into the chocolate with a delicate touch, as are the dry ingredients–tricks that enhance the brownies’ lovely texture.”
Recipe type: Dessert
  • 1¼ cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 8 ounces unsalted butter
  • 4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 ounces bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Sift the flour and salt together and set aside.
  3. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a medium saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently and keeping a watchful eye on the pot to make certain the chocolate doesn’t scorch (Alternatively, you can melt the ingredients in the top of a double boiler over, not touching, simmering water.) Add 1 cup of the sugar to the mixture and stir for half a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla.
  4. Pour the mixture into a large bowl.
  5. Put the remaining 1 cup sugar and the eggs into a bowl and mix or whisk by hand just to combine.
  6. Little by little, pour half of the sugar and eggs into the chocolate mixture, stirring gently but constantly with a rubber spatula so that the eggs don’t set from the heat.
  7. Fit the whisk attachment to the mixer and whip the remaining sugar and eggs until they are thick, pale, and doubled in volume, about 3 minutes. (Jane note: I let it go for about 5 minutes)
  8. Using the rubber spatula, delicately fold the whipped eggs into the chocolate mixture.
  9. When the eggs are almost completely incorporated, gently fold in the dry ingredients.
  10. Pour and scrape the batter in to an unbuttered 9-inch square pan. (Jane note: I did use an UNbuttered pan. It was actually kind of hard to get the brownies out. I have no idea if using a butter pan will change the way they cook or not. I just trusted Julia and went with it.)
  11. Bake the brownies for 25-28 minutes, during which time they will rise a little and the top will turn dark and dry.
  12. Cut into the center at about the 23-minute mark to see how the brownies are progressing: they’ll be perfect if they’re just barely set and still pretty gooey. They’re still awfully good on the other side of set, so don’t worry if you miss the moment on your first try.
  13. The brownies will keep, covered, for 2 to 3 days at room temperature and can be frozen for up to a month. Thaw, still wrapped, at room temperature. These never freeze solid, so you might want to think about using them as a mix-in for ice cream.
  14. In the words of Julia”¦Bon Appétit!


  1. These look so fantastic!! Now I just need an excuse to bake them, cuz if I don’t I’ll end up eating the whole pan myself!

  2. 2
    Jenny McCulloch

    This looks like the perfect brownie recipe I’ve been searching for. YUM!

  3. YUM! Logan says he wants to make brownies now!

  4. WOW, those do look and sound loaded! I’ll have to keep this bookmarked for my next brownie encounter.

  5. MMM, these remind me of my recipe for baked fudge (dense inside and crusty top). I can’t wait to make this. Thanks for posting.

  6. 6

    These look amazing!

  7. Oh come on!!! I am on a diet and you post THIS! Now I have to try it, I will eat chicken borscht all day to have a good hunk of this!!! Yum! 🙂

  8. 8

    Thanks for sharing! When I made these, I lined the pan with parchment paper, it helped so much getting these wonderfully gooey brownies out of the pan!

  9. 9

    I have made these a few times now with tremendous results. One time I served them with mint chip ice cream and hot fudge sauce and no one could finish their dessert. Too much. That’s how much chocolate we’re talking about! YUM.

  10. 10

    Is it true about cutting them with a plastic knife so they don’t crumble and look a mess?

  11. 11
    Jane Maynard

    yes! I LOVE the plastic knife trick. I even wrote about it once! 🙂

  12. 12

    I made this over the weekend. This was THE best recipe ever for brownies. It was cakey on the ends for my husband and fudgy in the middle for me. Fantastic!

  13. 13

    We made these wonderful brownies over a month ago and I am still dreaming about them!

  14. 14

    I made them last week and used a buttered pan. I don’t know how they were different from your outcome, but they did look and feel a bit greasy on the bottom. Maybe that’s the difference. Oh but they were still very delicious, though I have to admit I liked the parts on the outside, that were half baked and half fudgy the most.

  15. 15
    Jane Maynard

    good to know – thank you for sharing your results!

    my friend who initially shared the recipe with me uses parchment paper, so I might try that sometime as well.

    my husband nate is in your boat – he eats the edges, while I indulge in the gooey center – usually heated up in the microwave for a bit. 🙂

  16. 16
    Abbey peters

    Amazing recipe So yummy

  17. 17
    Jill in Sacramento

    my brownies turned out perfect! These are the best brownies i’ve ever had.

  18. 18

    This are in my oven as we speak! Thanks for the recipe! They look delicious! 🙂

  19. 19

    Second time I’m making these. First time they were amazingly delish. So much better than any box mix. This time, I’ve added bacon and sea salt. They’re in the oven now and I can’t wait for them to be done!! Thanks for sharing this recipe 🙂

  20. 20
    Drew Faber

    Something is wrong with this recipe. My brownies came out very gooey… even after leaving them in for 30 minutes!
    The Epicurious version for Julia’s brownies says to use 1.5 cups of flour.

    • as I mention in the post, these are a very gooey brownie 🙂 but the addition of another 1/4 cup of flour doesn’t seem like a bad idea! how I have the recipe listed is for sure how it appeared in dorie’s book, but I appreciate you sharing the epicurious version. thanks!

  21. 21

    I wish I’d read the latest comment before, because I’m having the same trouble. WAY too gooey. The top is beautiful and as it should be, but once you cut into it, it still looks like brownie batter. Reheating the oven as we speak in hopes of saving these.

  22. Oh goodness, good luck! I will cross fingers and send happy Julia Child vibes your way…

  23. 23
    Timothy C

    The original recipe calls for a dish — glass or ceramic — not a pan. Given the differences in how metal and glass absorb and retain heat, it seems an adjustment of the baking time or temperature stated in the recipe would be required to get the same result using a metal pan. I baked mine in metal at a slightly higher temperature for about 22 minutes and they were just as Julia described.

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