Serious Eats: Recipes

Recreating the Adult Brownies from Andronico's

Dense. Fudgy. Butter. Coffee. Salt.

[Photographs: Tam Ngo]

Those are the words that best describe the essence of an Adult Brownie from the Bay Area-based supermarket chain Andronico's.

This brownie does not contain any alcohol, tobacco, or controlled substances, so why call it the "Adult" Brownie? Why not "Our Signature" Brownie or "Chocolate Fudge" Brownie? One bite and you will understand the name. This brownie is not for the amateur brownie eater, not for the faint of heart, and certainly not for children. This thing is so sinfully decadent it stops just short of needing to be sold in a plain brown wrapper.

— From the Adult Brownie website

It's been years since I snarfed down five of them (hoarded from my last trip west) but I can still almost taste the crust mixed with my drool. Recreating the brownie for East Coast consumption has been my obsession for some time now. Most recipes yield a fluffy or crumbly brownie, but nothing like the chocolate-studded lead weight of the Adult Brownie.

I've managed to come up with a satisfying facsimile tweaking the bejesus out of a Scharffen Berger recipe. The keys to my success: coffee, salt, and letting the brownies "stale." It is during this resting period that the brownies collapse, becoming less mousse-like and more brick-like. The butter, coffee, and salt notes come to the fore as the treacly impact of the sugar recedes. Keeping flour to a minimum creates brownies that are chewy, crispy on the edges, and delightful crackly in crust. The longer you wait to eat these, the more compact they become.

Adult Brownies

(or Butter-Brick Brownies with Coffee and Salt)

Printed from

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