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Mark Bittman eased so many folks into the kitchen, getting them chopping, roasting and sautéing comfortably and with confidence. But the area where most timid cooks can use a little help happens on the sweeter side of things, baking. In his latest, How to Cook Everything The Basics, Bittman includes extended chapters covering bread baking and dessert making, all complete with Bittman's helpful tips and step by step photos.
Bittman's Brownie recipe is a gem, simple and tasty enough to give even the most apprehensive baker that much-needed boost of kitchen confidence. Bittman's straight talk advice: "Err on the side of underbaking: An overcooked brownie is dry and cakey, while an undercooked brownie is gooey and delicious" makes for some damned fine brownies.
What Worked: When making brownies is as easy as Mark Bittman makes them, there's never a reason to reach for the mix, ever again.
What Didn't: Easy, quick, and the most delicious, there's not a thing wrong with this recipe.
Suggested Tweaks: Here's what Mark Bittman has to say as far as tweaks go:
Nutty Brownies: In Step 3, substitute ¼ cup finely ground hazelnuts, almonds, walnuts, or pecans (use the food processor or blender to grind them) for ¼ cup of the flour and add 1 cup lightly toasted, roughly chopped nuts to the batter.
Cocoa Brownies: After the brownies cool a bit but are still warm, put 2 tablespoons cocoa in a small strainer and shake it over the pan to dust the tops of the brownies.