The Fabulous Outrageous Brownies

I believe that everyone needs a good brownie recipe in their repertoire. Notice I only said good, because for me a brownie was just that - a delectable treat most people cannot ignore, perfect for office parties, school bakes, picnics, potlucks and barbecues. And until Saturday, my good brownie recipe consisted of buying a packet of Betty Crocker's brownie mix from the neighborhood grocery store and pretending to bake.

Ina Garten's Outrageous Brownies changed all that. To start at the beginning, B and I were hosting a party last Saturday, so I was trolling Ina Garten's recipes for a pie I had a memory of seeing her bake on TV. Ina is the host of Food Network's Barefoot Contessa. I love the show for Ina's ample enthusiasm for the food she cooks and her laidback gourmet attitude. Plus all her recipes I've ever tried have been phenomenal. So, anyhoo, when I came across the recipe for her Outrageous Brownies, reading the recipe set me drooling and the reviews which followed decided me, I just HAD to bake them.

The only thing scaring me was that the recipe used 1 lb of butter for 20 large brownies. But, with a memory of the Contessa's generous portion sizes, I decided to divide the recipe in half, filling up a 13 by 8 inch pan to make 24 perfectly good-sized brownies.

And, all I can say is, now I know what I've been missing all this time. And I will never go back to that horrid baking mix again. These brownies are absolutely, spectacularly perfect, - the mix of bitter and semi-sweet chocolate just sweet enough, melty, gooey, crunchy and oh-so-chocolatey. If you ever need a chocolate fix, look no further. It's because Ina uses real chocolate (instead of cocoa powder) and coffee in the recipe. You dont really taste the coffee in the brownies, it just heightens the chocolate flavour making it rich and enormously satisfying.

So, anyway, my idea for the party was to setup a sundae bar of sorts with the brownies, vanilla icecream, nuts, cherries, whipped cream as fixings so people could whip up their own. And, of course, every self-respecting sundae needed some chocolate sauce. Since, I had some chocolate chips left over from halving the recipe, I decided to melt them AND drizzle some Kahlua into it to match the coffee flavour in the brownies. Kahlua chocolate sauce ..... some days I blow my own mind!

As with all my experiments, a lot was lost in translation. My chocolate chips melted obligingly over my double boiler and then I decided to add some water to make sure that the choc wouldnt reconstitute again. Unfortunately I added cold water and before my horrified eyes the melted choc congealed immediately into a lumpy mess. No amount of boiling or heating served to loosen it up. A bit panicked I added about 4 tbsp. of Kahlua, it remained gunky. So, finally in desperation (and since the goop tasted so amazing I didnt have the heart to throw it away), I iced my brownies with the pseudo-sauce, leaving it to harden naturally at room temperature, and I left a couple of the brownies un-iced for the kids. No sundae bar, of course.

What can I say, the guests looooved the brownies, the compliments kept flowing all night long!! I noticed dieters who timidly cut the brownies in half, throw caution to the winds and head back to wolf the rest down. Seriously, you cant stop eating these. And the best part, B overheard people agreeing that the iced brownies were much, much better than the un-iced ones. Dont get me wrong, the original is a brilliant recipe (thank you, Ina!!!!), but of course triple is better than double chocolate. So there. I actually (albeit however unwittingly) MODIFIED a Food Network Star's recipe AND MADE IT BETTER!!

Needless to say, I beamed like a mad Cheshire cat the rest of the evening.


WhatsInAName said...

Omgosh! Its close to midnight here and why is my tummy grumbling? :P
THIS was yummy read! I wish you were in Mumbai! Sighs.
And I need to learn those tricks from you. Most of the times I mess up the recipe and would keep wondering how to recover something edible from what was created!

Smita said...

Lost in :D

I have done such things quite a many times but my Dad takes the cake in this case.

He is very fond of cooking so few years back he made "Dum Aloo" he had done some experiment with Grama Masala and all and the final dish was yummy!!!!

That was the day and till today I keep on asking him to make the same again but he doesn't remember what he had made, as in he had experimented so much that he doesn't remember..sigh!!!!

And as WIAN says please move back to India...see the advantage you'll have an access to my library as well ;) and no it is not a bribe :D

samir said...

Do you mail those by any chance :)
I would like a box of each.
Wonderful post, Ina Garten is a big favorite.

couchpapaya said...

WIAN - the creativity is limited only to desserts. on my bad days i can mess up even simple dal-chawal :( wish i was in mumbai too, see the bribe offered below ur comment :P

smita - lol at ur dad's story. it's so true, i'm pretty sure i wont be able to reproduce that exact same icing again. anyways, since u love brownies, u must try these out. as for cals, the secret is portion control, make a quarter of the recipe, eat some freeze the rest for eating a month later. that's what gets me by on most days :D

samir - unfortunately this batch is done. will remember u next time, tho the iced ones might never happen again :) i know u love ina too !!

Andrew Abraham said...

What a cool idea..I found you site looking for brownie recipes to compare a brownie recipe that was on Please advise if you can assist... I would like an opinion on the recipe...thank you in advance...

couchpapaya said...

andrew - thank u and welcome to the site! unfortunately, i'm an amateur cook, and looking at a recipe and figuring out if it's good is way beyond anything i can do. sorry about that and good luck with the recipe hunt !!

Angel's Flight said...

Sounds Yummy..

so here is a proposition for you....send me some...u know its not even going to cost u that much in shipping....advantage of being the very same zip code :)

avdi said...

hey i did read this but followed the link and started reading receipes. :) so the post was successful.

I am going to try.. Some of my baked stuff comes out ok.

Avionic Spanker said...

I stay away from anything that looks, smells and tastes like chocolate. You can send my portion to angel's flight. Same zip code, you see :)

couchpapaya said...

angel - same zip code??! are u in MN girl ????

avdi - heh thanks and have fun! dont blame me for leading u to a lifelong addiction to brownies :D

spanker - gaakk!! u stay away from chocolate *logging off completely lost for words*

Mama - Mia said...

making me drool in office, you wicked wicked woman!!

since i cannot spell bake, forget actual baking, i shall just bow to thee O Kitchen Goddess! :)

good job and bravo!



couchpapaya said...

abha - u shld try them out, the recipe is v. easy to follow and i guarantee eating them is much better than drooling at a pic !!! plus i know u love dark chocolate .... :D

eye-in-sty-in said...

Since ur spoken for, can I clone u and marry her?

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