“Best-ever” is a lot to live up to. It makes for some pretty high expectations. Do these brownies embody the essence of “best-ever?”

Before I talk about these brownies, I’ll just go ahead and acknowledge that devoted brownie lovers usually favor “cake” or “fudge” brownies. Honestly, I don’t have a preference. I’m not entirely sure I’ve ever been able to figure out the difference. I don’t eat a lot of brownies. And the last time I made them? Probably about 4 years ago. I don’t get excited about brownies. I certainly didn’t get excited about making these.

Usually, making brownies involves minimal effort and mess, which is probably why they’re such a popular treat to make at home. I’ve always preferred brownies started by melting chocolate and butter on the stove, so I was happy to see that these begin this way. Then they get put into a mixing bowl and combined with some sugar. Then eggs get put into another bowl and beaten with some more sugar using the hand mixer.  And that’s added to the chocolate, in two batches. Then, there’s another bowl of sifted flour, and that gets folded into the chocolate, and finally, everything gets poured into the baking dish and put into the oven.

There were a lot of bowls involved in this process. The brownies were relatively easy and quick to make; cleaning up took more time. Any time the hand mixer comes out, my appreciation for the recipe goes down a little bit. I hate washing that thing. I know it doesn’t actually take much effort – the chocolate-coated saucepan took more work, and I didn’t like washing that either – but for some reason, washing the hand mixer always puts a damper on my day. I don’t like to use it unless I absolutely have to. If I hadn’t been baking these brownies at 9pm, I probably would have beaten the eggs into submission with a whisk (since that was already dirty too). I’ve done it before. I’m sure I’ll do it again someday when I have the time and the inclination.

But I figured all that work would be worth it if the brownies turned out well. And they did. But they took forever to bake – twice as long as what the recipe suggested. 28 minutes were recommended, with the initial check at the 23-minute mark. At 23 minutes, they were still mostly liquid. At 28 minutes, not much had changed. They stayed in the oven for 55 minutes. Because it was nearly 10pm by that time, Geordie was instantly upon them, begging for a square to be cut. I made him wait 10 minutes to let them set up a little bit more, but that was all he had the patience for.

The edges were a little on the burnt side, but I kinda like that crunchiness as a counterpoint to the inner gooey-ness. They were still too soft and warm to eat easily, but they were pretty tasty. And they did have a very nice texture on the inside (once they’d cooled completely): definitely on the fudge-y side of things. But these are not brownies to be eaten in large pieces. They are rich, they are decadent, and they are full of chocolate. They were best crumbled over some vanilla ice cream.

Would I make them again? If I had a craving for brownies, probably. I’m sure I have other brownie recipes elsewhere, but I don’t have a go-to recipe, for obvious reasons. At least I know how this one will turn out, and I know that I’ll like the results. Would I make them just on a random whim? Probably not. I usually go with cupcakes when I have a baking whim. As delicious as these brownies are, they just don’t inspire much in me.

But, that doesn’t make them less tasty.

It seems like the other bakers really enjoyed these. Follow the links to see just how much they like them. And if you’d like to try them yourself, check out the recipe at our hostess Monica’s blog A Beautiful Mess.