Although I must say, it wasn’t much of a contest.  Last year I tried Ina’s “Outrageous Brownies” for the first time after hearing repeatedly how wonderful they were.  I made them for a classmate’s birthday, individually packaged with cute little bows, and gave them to my friends in class.  All my friends took them home to eat later….and later that day I opened my email to find a message from each of the four friends saying how amazing the brownies were.  Now that is a good recipe.  I made them again this weekend and even my dad who is really not a sweet tooth could not eat just one at a time.

In a recent issue of Cook’s Illustrated, I came across a recipe for “Classic Brownies”.  I didn’t think anything could beat Ina’s brownies, but if someone could, it would be Cook’s Illustrated – so I decided to give it a shot.  I guess I should have known from the start that these brownies wouldn’t be my kind of brownie.  The first line of the associated article reads, “These days if you go to a bakery and order a brownie, chances are you’ll end up with a heavy chunk of pure confection.”  As if this were a bad thing.  Huh?

I must say, Ina’s brownies are far and away the winner with me.  I have slightly adapted the recipe (halving it, omitting walnuts and adding more chocolate chips).  What was wrong with the CI brownies?  I thought they were dry and definitely not sweet enough.  I tried them with milk and with ice cream, but nothing made me like them more.  Frosting might help but I didn’t even bother.  Sadly, I must say I think I would prefer almost any box mix brownie to these.  I know I’m not quite advertising these here, but just in case you feel compelled to make them, you can find the recipe here.  Erin obviously enjoyed them so maybe they’re not all bad.

Ina’s Outrageous Brownies


2 sticks unsalted butter

1 ½ cups semisweet chocolate chips

3 oz. unsweetened chocolate

3 extra-large eggs

1 ½ tbsp. instant coffee powder

1 tbsp. real vanilla extract

1 cup and 2 tbsp. sugar

½ cup and 2 tbsp. flour, divided – ½ cup for batter and 2 tbsp. .in the chips

1 ½ teaspoons baking powder

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ cups morsels (milk chocolate, dark chocolate, white chocolate or butterscotch)


Preheat oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 9×13” metal pan. 

Melt together the butter, 1 ½ cups chocolate chips, and unsweetened chocolate on top of a double boiler.  Cool slightly.  Stir together the eggs, instant coffee, vanilla and sugar.  Stir in the warm chocolate mixture and cool to room temperature.



Stir together ½ cup of the flour, baking powder and salt.  Add to cooled chocolate mixture.  Toss the chocolate chips with 2 tbsp. flour to coat.  Then add to the chocolate batter.  Pour into prepared pan.

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until tester just comes out clean.  Halfway through the baking, rap the pan against the oven shelf to allow air to escape from between the pan and the brownie dough.  Do not overbake!  Cool thoroughly, refrigerate well and cut into squares. 

Source: adapted from The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook by Ina Garten, Clarkson Potter, 1999