Chipster-Topped Brownies

Okay, so this recipe doesn't really fit with the whole healthy theme of this blog. But I was invited to an Oscar viewing party last weekend and volunteered to bring something sweet for dessert. When I asked if the hostess had anything particular in mind, she said "cookies or brownies." Well guess what, lady? Get a load of these guys:

That's right, a cookie layer on top of a brownie layer. WHAT! That is ridiculous. Ridiculously amazing! These things are every bit as good as they sound. Sweet, rich, chewy, chocolatey, vanilla-y, extremely bad for you... basically everything you could want in a baked good. Of course, since this recipe is by Dorie Greenspan, you would expect nothing less.

A warning: if you eat more than three of these in one sitting, as I learned, you will develop a headache and the urge to vomit. However, if you can restrain yourself to one or two at a time, you will be a very happy camper indeed.

Chipster-Topped Brownies
From Baking: From My Home to Yours (buy this book, seriously)

For the brownie layer:
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 3 oz unsweetened baking chocolate, coarsely chopped
  • 2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter, cut into chunks
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped (optional; I omitted these)
For the cookie layer:
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 6 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into chips, or 1 cup store-bought chocolate chips
Getting ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 F. Butter a 9x13-inch baking pan, line it with wax or parchment paper, and butter the paper. Put the pan on a baking sheet.

Make the brownie layer: Put both chocolates and the butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water. Stirring occasionally, heat just until the ingredients are melted, shiny, and smooth. If the mixture gets too hot, the butter will separate from the chocolates. Remove the bowl from the heat. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the sugar and eggs on medium-high speed for about 2 minutes, until pale, thick, and creamy. Beat in the salt and vanilla extract. Reduce the speed to low and mix in the melted chocolate and butter, mixing only until incorporated. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula, then, still on low speed, add the flour, mixing only until it disappears into the batter. Using the spatula, fold in the walnuts (if using) and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Set aside.

Make the cookie dough: Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Working with the stand mixer in the cleaned bowl or with the hand mixer in another large bowl, beat the butter and both sugars together on medium-high speed until smooth and creamy, about 3 minutes. One at a time, add the egg and the yolk, beating for 1 minute after each addition. Beat in the vanilla. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients, mixing only until they disappear into the dough. Still on low, mix in the chopped chocolate. Drop the cookie dough by spoonfuls over the brownie batter and, using a spatula and a light touch, spread it evenly over the batter.

Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until the cookie top is deep golden brown and firm and a thin knife inserted into the brownie layer comes out with only faint streaks of moist chocolate. [This took more like 65-70 minutes for me. -BH] Transfer the pan to a rack and cool to room temperature.

When the brownies are completely cool, carefully run a knife between the sides of the pan and the brownies, then invert them onto another rack, remove the paper and turn right side up onto a cutting board. Cut the bars about 2 inches x 1 inch.

Serving: Ice cream, whipped cream, and creme fraiche are all great accompaniments, as is a generous drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Storing: Wrapped well or packed in an airtight container, the bars can be kept at room temperature for 2 days or frozen for up to 2 months.

Playing around: The cookie top can be varied easily by swapping peanut butter, butterscotch, or white chocolate chips for the chopped chocolate. You could even use all of them.