Close your eyes. Take a deep breath. Say it with me (quietly, slowly): sheet pan brownies.
I know, brilliant right? All of us poor, sad, lost souls have been muddling around all these years, sensibly roasting vegetables and dutifully baking cookies on our sheet pans. PATHETIC. We have not been living! Okay, I've had a one (or two) Aperol spritzes so far tonight so excuse my drama. But really.
There's a lot of talk lately from chefs and cookbook authors about breaking away from recipes and learning to cook (and bake) intuitively. Michael Ruhlman published his great book called "Ratio", which teaches you the proportions of cooking rather than actual recipes, so you can riff all you like with ingredients. Food52 writes a "not recipes" column; plenty of books will teach you master technique over recipes.
I think a lot about this idea, since part of my job is creating my own recipes and thinking about how to stretch, expand, and re-imagine foods I love. This doesn't have to mean abandoning a recipe altogether; it could just mean a few small tweaks to make a recipe work for you.
In the case of brownies, working for me means making more than a normal person should. So instead of following the recipe and obediently reaching for a 9" x 13" pan, what if we doubled it? And poured the batter into a half sheet pan?
Oh yes. All the glorious things you are thinking will happen. There will be extra edges for those who like them: Miles of crisp crust, acres of crunchy, cookie-esque brownies. And although shallower than brownies baked in a standard-sized pan, the addition of chocolate chips will keep the interior gooey and soft and intensely chocolate-y. The endless, wide expanse of shiny, crackly brownie crust will overwhelm you -- in the best way possible.
This is a very good recipe if you are baking for a crowd. But even if you are not, you should still make these! Brownies top the list of foods that freeze well. And we all know how important an emergency stash of solid, homemade dessert is to have on hand.
**Rest assured that I am already dreaming up some more excellent ways to use my sheet pan for things that are decidedly NOT vegetables. Stay tuned.**
SHEET PAN BROWNIES
Adapted from King Arthur Flour
2 cups cocoa powder (I use a blend of black, Dutch, and natural cocoas)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons espresso powder (buy this, it's worth it for baking!)
1 1/2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups unsalted butter (3 sticks, ooh yeah baby)
3 cups sugar
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups semisweet chocolate chips
Line a half-sheet pan (13" x 9" -- make sure it has a decently high edge) with parchment paper.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Add the eggs, cocoa powder, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla to a large bowl or stand mixer. Beat for about 4 minutes until smooth and shiny.
Melt the butter. Add the sugar to the melted butter and heat (if you're microwaving it, give it about 30 seconds. If using the stovetop, give it about 1 minute). This helps dissolve the sugar which gives the brownies a shinier crust.
Add the butter mixture to your cocoa and egg mixture, and stir until well-combined.
Add the flour and chocolate chips to the batter and stir until smooth. Don't overmix.
Pour the batter into your prepared sheet pan. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out with just a few crumbs.
Let cool fully before slicing!