ATK Classic Brownies from Cook's Illustrated
So far as I recall, my mom always used a mix to make brownies. She made a lot of things from scratch, but not brownies. The first scratch brownies that I remember eating were made at Kopp's Canteen Restaurant in my home town of Chittenango, NY. I worked there while in High School, mostly washing dishes but occasionally doing some prep work. They served a wonderful brownie sundae made with vanilla ice cream, chocolate syrup, and whipped cream. Their brownies were not as sweet as those that I had at home, they had more chocolate flavor and a firmer texture. I liked them better but didn't have many opportunities to eat them at the restaurant and I don't have the recipe; I'd love to get it to see how well my memories match the reality.
Having run out of cookies, I decided to make some brownies. I used a recipe that is listed on the Cook's Illustrated web site as one of their 10 most popular. The brownies were not particularly difficult to make, the mixing is all done by hand. The batter is pretty thick when it is finished, but when you get to this stage a spatula is being used to fold in the flour so it doesn't require a lot of effort. I added the optional toasted walnuts to the top (you can use pecans, too) and they were a good addition. Determining when to take the brownies out of the oven is a little challenging, I have the impression they go from underdone to overdone quickly. I probably took mine out of the oven a few minutes too early and as a result they were too gooey in the middle for my taste.
I can see why these brownies are popular. They are less sweet, and more chocolatey, than brownies from a mix but still more sweet than I remember the Canteen brownies to be. They have a good chocolate flavor and the texture was good except for those gooey ones from the middle of the pan. They kept well, both at room temperature and in the freezer.
I'll definitely have to try these again but I'll need to be more careful about when I remove them from the oven. I'll also try some other recipes. Maybe there's a better brownie out there, but even if there isn't it should be a fun search. If you have the Canteen's recipe, send it to me!