Thursday, November 15, 2012

Man Catcher Brownies

There is a long tradition of handy single men doing projects in exchange for food. In my case, specifically of barn roof’s being repaired, paddock fences mended, and hay moved for fresh baked brownies and lemonade. Since my teens the one bowl brownie recipe on the Baker’s© Chocolate was the go-to recipe for an excellent cake-y brownie.

Three Bowls to create Brownie Bliss
Then in 2007 I read a Boulder Daily Valentine’s article on Leigh Lambert and her quest for the perfect brownie, entitled Man Catcher Brownies. Given brownies caught guys for barn repairs and home maintenance tasks, the title had me giggling. Reading the recipe reminded me of my chocolate chip cookie recipe with equal parts sugar and brown sugar, a hefty slug of vanilla, the dash of salt. Then the mixing directions made mental connections…techniques elevate the results, so even so-so ingredients make a better brownie:

Mixing the cocoa into the melted fat releases more of the cocoa polyphenols maximizing the flavor.

Brown sugar enhances the caramel & bourbon notes…substituting vanilla infused bourbon for the vanilla extract is pretty tasty too; as is having a finger of bourbon with a warm brownie!

The large grains of kosher sea salt prevent too-sweet with piquancy in each bite.
Unless you’re buying generic store brand cocoa, higher-grade cocoa isn’t necessarily more expensive cocoa, and makes a tremendous difference. The higher grade will contain more cocoa butter fat, have a deeper color, and more phenols (chocolaty smell.) To a chocolate fiend the bigger, rounder, richer taste experience will be readily apparent. I keep a stock of Mama Ganache (Natural and Dutched), Penzey’s (High Fat), Savory (Midnight), Guittard (Rouge) or Scharffen Berger cocoa’s in my freezer.

Once you bite into these, dirtying three bowls will never seem like too much effort. Hand mixing them is still as simple as the old one-bowl recipe.

moist and dense with a crackle top
8 oz / 227 grams coconut oil or palm shortening
5.86 oz / 167 grams dutched cocoa powder
5 eggs
4 tsp vanilla
9.42 oz / 267 grams light brown sugar
9.42 oz / 267 grams sugar
5.88 oz / 187 grams of Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour
2/3 tsp kosher sea salt

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line a 9x9 pan with parchment paper.
In a small bowl whisk together the flour and salt until no lumps remain.

In a medium bowl heat the coconut oil until just melted. Immediately whisk in cocoa powder until smooth. Let cool. Don’t give into the visual temptation to lick the whisk…straight fat & cocoa will be an unpleasant junior high Home Economics flashback.

In the largest bowl, while the cocoa mixture cools, whisk eggs together and add in sugars. Then whisk in the vanilla. Stir in cooled cocoa mixture. Now the whisk is perfect to swipe a dab from…sticky with sweet, intense chocolaty goodness.

Fold flour and sea salt into wet mixture until just mixed…hand mixing these is the easiest route to not to over-mixing and ending up with rubbery, tough brownies. The dough is thick. It won’t spread while baking, so push it into the pan corners and level all over with the mixing spatula.

Bake 40-45 minutes or until a crust forms and toothpick comes out mostly clean. Completely clean will be an over baked brick.

Cool in pan for 10 minutes. Then it is safe to lift the parchment out of the pan and divvy up warm brownie bliss.


  1. What's GF AP flour? something all purpose, but General Foods?

    And why don't we call these Woman Catcher Brownies?

    1. Grace,
      GF AP is Gluten-Free All-Purpose flour, like Bob's Red Mill or Pamela's.
      For women I have a wicked flourless chocolate cake!

  2. Words cannot express how good these are, by the way. 10/10, would eat again.