Giving up on “the one”

If offered a tray of bars and cookies with one choice being a brownie, it’s a safe bet to assume that is what I will choose to eat. My preference is for a fudgy brownie as opposed to a cakey one, but I am not a snob and will eat whichever is available. For years I have tried brownie recipes galore, from beloved authors, from the backs of packages, from friends and relatives – basically any source that looked promising. All of these recipes were in search of “the one” best brownie recipe that would become my go-to. I have never found such a recipe, and I have decided that is perfectly fine. In fact, the more brownies, the merrier!

Many of the recipes I’ve tried were destined to go into the “thanks-but-no-thanks” pile: they were too dry, too cakey, or lacked flavor. Others, however, briefly became “the one” until a newer, tastier recipe came along. I think of it as serial monogamy for brownies. I would find a great recipe, spend a lot of time with it and enjoy it immensely, but ultimately my heart was stolen by another: one that was fudgier, chewier, or more chocolaty. I’ve tried cocoa brownies, brownies based on chopped chocolate, those that incorporate both cocoa and chocolate, chocolate-chip varieties, brownies that use canned chocolate syrup, those that incorporate swirls of cream cheese, tahini, and more – you name the twist and I have probably made it. I’ve even sampled carob brownies (those went into the thanks-but-no-thanks pile).

The good thing about brownie recipes is that they never get jealous, and you can return for brief flings with an old flame with no hard feelings. You can also flirt with multiple recipes at the same time without jealousy rearing its ugly head. Besides, if I settled down with just one brownie recipe, there is a huge world of brownies I would be missing out on. That will not do, so I have called off my search for “the one” and instead will enjoy trying new brownie recipes for the rest of my days. Why settle for one when you can have them all?

Below are some of the recipes that briefly became “the one” for me. Do you have a “go to” brownie recipe? If so, are you dedicated to it until death do you part?

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  • Jane  on  April 10, 2021

    After many years of trying other brownie recipes, my “one” is still Supernatural brownies by Nick Malgieri which I gussy up by streaking salted caramel on the top (Felicity Cloake’s Perfect salted caramel sauce). I will keep trying other brownie recipes especially when they are unusual like Ottolenghi’s tahini and halva ones.

  • Indio32  on  April 11, 2021

    The older I become the more I appreciate the (to me) truism of “The journey is the destination”

  • KarinaFrancis  on  April 11, 2021

    For decades I’ve been faithful to my Australian Woman’s Weekly brownies, I had the odd fling with others that left me unfulfilled. Until YO halva tahini brownies, not my go-to, but the only ones I’ll repeat

  • imaluckyducky  on  April 11, 2021

    The fudgy cocoa Brownie from Smitten Kitchen is my go to, always.

  • rosajane8  on  April 11, 2021

    Brownies are my nemesis 🙁 They never turn out for me…maybe it’s because I’m trying to find “the one”…. 😁 I’ll be trying your recs for sure, though…and hoping for better results 😂😁

  • averythingcooks  on  April 11, 2021

    I don’t even eat brownies (too chocolately – gasp!) BUT when I do cook them for other people, very popular versions have come from Whitewater Cooks, Bonnie Stern’s Friday Night Dinners and the Barefoot Contessa. I also use an Anna Olson version where she specially calls for a brownie pan divided into little squares. Interesting that all of these get rave reviews but are just your basic “untopped” chocolate brownies with toasted pecans (I seldom have walnuts in the house) and maybe with some added chocolate chips.

  • CapeCodCook  on  April 11, 2021

    I too am a “serial-monogamist” about brownie recipes and thanks for that wonderful list which gives me some new fields to explore! A recent favorite of mine is David Leite’s Dulce de Leche Brownie recipe (from Leite’s Culinary website) —another example that More CAN Be More in the world of brownies.

    • Jane  on  April 16, 2021

      I think these are actually a Rachel Allen recipe on the LC site. If I got the wrong link, let me know and I will change it.

  • kayanelson  on  April 11, 2021

    My love affair is currently Sebastian’s Remarkably Wonderful Brownies in Dorie’s Cookies!

  • lselke  on  April 11, 2021

    My go-to recipe is the Fat Witch version. Sometimes I forget that it exists, though (??? but it’s true) and I turn to Smitten Kitchen because I can always find it online. If I want to put in a little more effort, though, Tartine’s are divine.

    I liked Katharine Hepburn‘s recipe, reproduced in Laure Colwin if I recall correctly, but I drifted.

  • gamulholland  on  April 12, 2021

    The brownie recipe in Foster’s Market Favorites by Sara Foster is the one you’ll get if I really want to show appreciation (awesome teacher, dear friend, etc.). So good. :). Very fudgy!

  • Shewi128  on  April 12, 2021

    I am like you in that I will almost never make the same recipe twice for brownies (I prefer cookies over brownies), but I have found some new faves in the cookbook “100 cookies”. Her perfect and cakey brownies are both perfection.

  • Etrnalhope  on  April 12, 2021

    I don’t have a go to recipe, but I recently subbed emmer flour for AP flour and it made a typically generally good, but not amazing recipe really fudgy and delicious. I might forever sub emmer flour in brownie recipes!

  • Kirstin_the_Kiwi  on  April 16, 2021

    This is my Go-To recipe but I up the spices.

  • MissKoo  on  April 16, 2021

    My go to brownies continue to be the Orange Mocha Brownies in The New Elegant but Easy Cookbook (p. 257). There’s something about chocolate, Grand Marnier, and coffee (I use espresso instead of coffee extract) that keeps me coming back again and again.

  • anniette  on  April 27, 2021

    Another vote for Nick Malgieri’s! Having passed through stages with most of the brownies mentioned here, and many more, including, once, all of MaIda Heatter’s brownie recipes on the same day, I now make 4 X Maigieri’s Supernatural recipe in a sheet cake pan, adding walnuts, cut it into 96, and my friends, neighbors, family, and greedy self, are all sublimely content.

  • jehausman  on  April 30, 2021

    My go-to brownie is The Baked Brownie from Brown-Eyed Baker blog. Never fail to get asked for the recipe!

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