An excellent brownie is in the eye of the beholder. The best recipe is, in the end, a matter of personal taste, depending on your preference for sweetness, chewiness, fudginess, and how dark you like your chocolate. Chowhounds have compared and contrasted the endless ways to bake a brownie, and their favorites come from a who's who of eminent cookbook authors and chefs.
Some hounds call Nick Malgieri's recipe for supernatural brownies "the Maserati of brownies." "I love the chewiness of these and how the brown sugar complements the chocolate," bushwickgirl says. Not everyone agrees with her. "For my taste, they were far too sweet and not chocolaty enough, with a pronounced brown sugar flavor, which is not what I want in a brownie," says biondanonima. "The texture was good, although a bit chewier than I prefer. They were a big hit with my friends and family, though, and I think they would, in general, be big crowd-pleasers."
bushwickgirl's second pick is Alice Medrich's best cocoa brownies, the only all-cocoa recipe in the lineup, and fudgier than Malgieri's version, she says.
David Lebovitz's recipe for Robert's absolute best brownies also ranked highly. jalapenocheese "was in love with the texture and the crunch provided by cacao nibs. I loved how fudgy [the recipe was] and the fact it wasn't intensely sweet. I loved everything about it!" biondanonima weighed in on this batch, too, and says that they "are really, really good, but incredibly rich—to the point where they're almost not brownies, IMO. ... They are sort of halfway between a brownie and a flourless chocolate cake."
For lilgi Dorie Greenspan's French chocolate brownies takes the number one spot. lilgi suggests substituting dark brown sugar for one-quarter of the granulated sugar that the recipe calls for. "These are my crowd-pleasers, with a slight increase to salt and vanilla, as well, to bring out the chocolate," lilgi says.
A veteran of the brownie wars, chowser currently favors a recipe from Thomas Keller's Ad Hoc at Home, which uses a heart-stopping three sticks of butter—as well as plenty of cocoa and bittersweet chocolate—per 9-inch pan.
Discuss: Brownie showdown (DL vs NM)