When he found out that Sarabeth Levine of Sarabeth's in New York City had won the James Beard Award for Best Pastry Chef in the U.S., Payard said, in his inimitable French-dipped English, "I cannot believe that. She makes brownies and cookies and pies. She's not a pastry chef, she's a 'bakeur.' And a 'bakeur' is not a pastry chef."
Me, I happen to like brownies and cookies and pies more than I like fancy-pants French confections made of spun sugar and marzipan. That's why I was glad to see Moskin elevating brownie discourse in her story.
She loves Nick Malgieri's Supernatural Brownies recipe, which calls for brown sugar. I've never made Malgieri's brownies, though I'm sure they're good. My favorite brownie recipe is from renowned L.A. baker Nancy Silverton. They're intensely chocolaty, chewy, and fudgey in a vastly superior way to any fudge I've ever tasted.
- 3 cups (12 ounces) walnut halves
- 3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter
- 1 pound bittersweet chocolate
- 3 1/2 cups granulated sugar
- 6 extra large eggs
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 1/4 cups unbleached pastry flour or unbleached all-purpose flour
- Unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting, optional
Lightly coat 11-by-17-inch jelly-roll pan with melted butter.
With rack in middle position, preheat oven to 325°F.
Spread the walnuts on a second baking sheet, and toast in oven until lightly browned, 10 to 12 minutes. Shake pan halfway through baking to ensure the nuts toast evenly.
In a stainless-steel mixing bowl set over a pot of gently simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate together.
Raise oven temperature to 350°F.
In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the sugar, eggs, vanilla extract, and salt on medium-high until thick and mousselike, 3 to 5 minutes.
Add the flour in 3 batches, turning mixer off before each addition and mixing on low speed until combined.
Remove bowl from mixer, and stir in melted chocolate mixture and nuts.
Pour batter into prepared jelly-roll pan; spread to an even thickness.
Bake for 40 minutes, until brownies are firm to the touch.
Before serving, slice into 3-by-four-inch squares. If desired, sift a fine layer of cocoa powder over the surface, brushing off excess cocoa for a velvety finish.