Ruth’s Brownies

Let’s get the elephant out of the room and state the obvious…clearly this was not my finest moment.  All of my missteps turned incredible brownie possibility into a hot mess of reality.  Let’s review, shall we:

Misstep #1

I forgot to turn the temperature down when I put the pan in the oven.

Misstep #2

When I realized that I hadn’t lowered the temperature and tried to turn it down to 350, I neglected to hit the “start” button so the temp didn’t change and the batter continued to bake at 400 degrees.  In all I’d say it baked at too high a temp for a good 20 minutes which probably explains why the edges puffed up like a souffle.

Misstep #3

After 30 minutes a tester came out clean, despite Ruth’s comment that the normal toothpick test doesn’t really work for these brownies.  Worrying that I had overbaked them, I pulled them out of the oven early.

As you can see from my actual, didn’t add or delete any elements, photo above, the brownies were only about 3/4 set.  It was absolutely impossible to cut them into anything resembling a square.  However….if I would have had a bowl of vanilla ice cream, the partly set/partly molten chocolate lava would have been the perfect topping to spoon in.  Sadly, there was no ice cream to save these brownies from their fate of being tipped into the rubbish bin.

The saddest part of all this is that when I scraped the batter into the pan and then stole a lick or two from the spatula, this was hands down the best brownie batter I had ever tasted.  Don’t let my failure to turn the perfect batter into the perfect brownies keep you from giving this a try.  Learn from my missteps….or at least have a pint of vanilla ice cream ready to go in the freezer just in case.

Ruth’s Brownies

Adapted from Ruth Reichl, Tender at the Bone

BAH Note:  When I need to melt butter and chocolate, I usually do it in the microwave.  I tend to either work in 30 second intervals, stirring in between each, or setting the cook time for 2-3 minutes on 20% power and stirring every 30-45 seconds, repeating as necessary.

  • 2/3 cup butter
  • 5 ounces unsweetened chocolate (not cocoa powder)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 4 eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 cup sifted flour

Heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Butter and flour an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan and set aside.

Melt the butter and chocolate in the microwave or on top of the stove in a double boiler.  When they have completely melted, stir in the vanilla and set the bowl aside.

Beat the eggs and salt in the work bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Add the sugar and beat for 3-5 minutes on medium until the mixture becomes almost white in color.

Reduce the mixer to low and stir in the melted chocolate until it is just combined.  Add the flour and continue to mix on low just until there are no white steaks of flour remaining.  Transfer the batter to the prepared pan.  Place the pan on a baking sheet and put it in the oven.


Bake for 40 minutes, rotating the pan half way through the cooking time.

Let the brownies cool completely before cutting into 12 servings.

{printable recipe}

9 thoughts on “Ruth’s Brownies

  1. Now let’s add some altitude to that mix…whaddya think? 🙂

    So, maybe Ruth and Chris are related. Chris who? Chris Toler; my best bud when I lived in North Carolina who lived in our neighborhood; she had a son about a year older than my oldest daughter and we both loved to cook so we spent a lot of time together. Her recipe was one of those she didn’t typically share so when she gave it to me…I really did think it was pretty special. We call it Baked Fudge and it’s very similar to this one. No leavening is the key…and well, silly…not overbaking!

    I love that you share mishaps…I ate mine the other day but no pics!

    1. Barb, there are time I wish I could blame some of these mishaps on high altitude. Sharing my less than stellar moments in the kitchen keeps me humble…because they can’t all be winners. Love your memory of Baked Fudge.


  2. i’ve always liked my brownies under done, the soft gooey-ness is my preference to the chewy almost cake-like consistency.

    girl, if you liked the batter, why didn’t you just eat the brownies as was? (dw is rubbing off on me, he will eat something even if he hates it rather than chuck it…)

    1. I couldn’t bring myself to slurp the brownies. These were beyond underdone and beyond hope. I should give them another try because the batter was perfection.


    1. Jen, this was not my best moment in the kitchen. Sadly, the inside didn’t set enough for me to even pick at. That gash in the brownies is the result of me trying to pry a single one out.

  3. I’m not gonna lie. I understand that it was somewhat of a fail but that gooey looking photo has got me jonesing for a gooey brownie.

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