It seems like everyone loves brownie edges. The contrast of the crisp outside, with a tender chocolate-y inside, is the perfect match. You don’t need a fancy brownie edge pan to get perfectly crisp brownies, just a hot, well-seasoned cast-iron skillet.
Using the same melted butter technique that produces perfect cornbread, heat the pan on the stovetop and toss in a full tablespoon of butter. As soon as the butter melts, spoon in the brownie batter, top with nuts or whatever else you’d like and pop it into the oven quickly.
The hot pan will give you a crisp outer crust with a little bit of caramelization. In a well-seasoned cast iron, you shouldn’t have any trouble with sticking. I keep a separate cast iron for my baking, and the only thing that ever touches its surface is butter the batter of cornbread, dutch baby pancakes, and cast iron cakes.
My favorite baking cast iron happens to be a no. 10 cast iron skillet (10 1/4 inches), but a smaller 9-inch pan will work just as well and make these brownies a bit thicker. Anything bigger, like the giant 12-inch cast iron pans, will need to double the recipe.
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup white sugar
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 ¼ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup flour
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup pecans, chopped
- 1 tablespoon butter, to prepare the pan
- Beat the eggs together until fluffy and light yellow. A large whisk or mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute works well for this. Brownies have no baking powder, so they rely on thoroughly whipping the eggs for a bit of lift.
- Once the eggs are whipped, whisk in the sugar, butter, and vanilla.
- If you're feeling lazy, you can just dump the rest of the dry ingredients in and whisk until just combined. For better brownies, whisk the cocoa powder and flour together in a separate bowl before adding the mixture (or ideally, sifting it into the wet ingredients). The main reason to mix the cocoa and flour is to break up any lumps, and ensure that the whole mixture is cocoa colored (brown). Any remaining lumps in the batter won't be visible, but if you just dump the flour in, even a single lump makes a bright white eyesore in the brownies.
- Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a cast iron skillet and heat until very hot but not smoking. Quickly pour the batter into the pan and spread it evenly. Top with nuts or a topping of your choice.
- Bake at 300 degrees for 45 minutes, or until the center is just barely firm.
Slightly undercooked brownies tend to be better than overcooked with brownies, so watch them closely.
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