RECIPE: The Greatest Brownies of all Time (aka GBOATs), a Chez Panisse creation

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I was first exposed to one of these brownies at a Bay Area bakery, and I simultaneously wanted to inhale and slowly savor it (the former won out).  Little did I know it was actually a *flourless* brownie, but with that knowledge, it became apparent that the lighter-than-air consistency stemmed in part from the absence of flour.  

Through some prodding, I discovered that the recipe originally hails from the kitchen of Chez Panisse and can be found in many places as Chocolate Pave, including David Lebovitz’s Ready for Desserts book.  In addition to changing this delicacy’s name here, the other notable adjustment made to the recipe involved the chocolate. Since I keep two types of dark chocolate on hand at home, I used those two instead of the called-for unsweetened chocolate.  No regrets.


These brownies are not for composed desserts where you need a super-sturdy base (like my brownie sundae), nor are they suited for people who can’t wait to let them cool entirely before eating.  This wait-til-cool-isn’t-optional rule causes tension at home when I make them, but trust me from experience, the wait is worth it.


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RECIPE: The Greatest Brownies of all Time (aka GBOATs), a Chez Panisse creation

Adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert

MISE IT

Chocolate mixture

  • 227g unsalted butter (~2 sticks)

  • 114g Guittard 64% chocolate

  • 114g Guittard 72% chocolate

  • 3 big pinches kosher salt (between ¼ teaspoon and ½ teaspoon)

Yolk mixture

  • 6 egg yolks (~90g)

  • 115g (organic) granulated sugar

Meringue mixture

  • 6 egg whites (~210g)

  • 100g (organic) granulated sugar

MAKE IT

  • Preheat oven to 338 degrees F or nearest interval.  (The ovens at Quince were usually set to 338, so there is some basis for my neurotically random temperature recommendation.)

  • Prepare a 9 x 13" pan by lining it with parchment paper.

  • Melt chocolates, butter, and salt in a bain marie/double boiler.  Set aside.

  • Using the whisk attachment of a stand mixer or a hand-held electric mixer (I use hand-held mixer for this step), whip the yolk mixture ingredients together on medium speed until incorporated and airy.  Make sure this bowl is medium-large/large, as you'll eventually be adding all ingredients into it.

  • Make a french meringue with the meringue mixture ingredients (whites, sugar, optional cream of tartar): with a stand mixer + whisk attachment, start whisking egg whites and cream of tartar on medium low speed until bubbles form and mixture is foamy. Then raise speed to medium and start very slowly streaming in the sugar.  Once all sugar is incorporated, crank up your mixer to medium-high and mix until you reach soft peaks stage.

  • Add the melted chocolate mixture into the bowl with the yolk mixture and mix on low speed until just incorporated.

  • Using a rubber spatula, gently fold in ⅓ of your meringue mixture to the chocolate mixture until it's mostly incorporated, then add in the rest of your meringue. Continue folding until the mixture looks homogenous, taking care not to deflate the mixture (this is similar method to making mousse or souffle).

  • Pour mixture into 9” x 13” pan and spread with offset spatula to make sure it's evenly distributed.

  • Bake for 32 minutes, rotating the pan after 15 minutes and 25 minutes.

  • Cool on a rack until it's entirely cooled (this is by far the hardest step of this recipe, but trust me on this). Note: as it cools, it WILL sink in the middle, with a narrow, higher edge remaining.

  • Try not to eat it all in one sitting. (Or do. YOLO.)

TWEAK IT

  • You can experiment with different types of chocolate and salt levels, but other than that, I’d leave this recipe as-is.

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