Thursday, July 21, 2016

Best Chocolate Brownies (Kirsten Tibballs)

If a reputable chocolate cookbook says that this is the BEST chocolate brownie, you know I know that this brownies is going to be real BEST!

Reputable chocolate cookbook? At the back of the book, Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs, George Calombaris, an Australian MasterChef judge said "The queen of all things chocolate has done it again!"

Wow!!! Kirsten is the queen of chocolate... You tell me if you think that this Chocolate book is not reputable enough. Ha!

Then, I wonder... Why is this chocolate brownies recipe the best? Is this best brownies really the best?

After baking it, I know why...

best chocolate brownies Kristen Tibballs
The Best Chocolate Brownies
This best chocolate brownies originates from the book, Chocolate by Kirsten Tibballs
If George Calombaris, an Australian MasterChef judge said that this author is the queen of all things chocolate...
I have to believe that this book is NOT a play play!

Back to my earlier question, why is this chocolate brownies recipe the best?

Yes. I'm talking about you because YOU are indeed the best chocolate brownies!

... because THIS is the brownies recipe that is fully loaded with chocolate, not butter and sugar!!!

Any evidence? Yes! I have made a comparison of this recipe with several good brownies that I have baked before and I can clearly see that this recipe uses the most amount of chocolate and the least amount of butter and sugar to bake a typical 20 x 20 cm square brownies!!!

THIS BEST Brownies recipe contains 270g dark chocolate, 75g unsalted butter, 130g sugar (50:50 caster:brown).

Very Fudgy Brownies at here contains 180g dark chocolate, 120g unsalted butter, 220g sugar (175g caster + 45g brown).

Extreme Brownies at here contains 200g dark chocolate, 225 g unsalted butter, 400g caster sugar

Seriously Rich Brownies at here contains 240g chocolate, 100g butter, 180g sugar (60g caster + 120g brown).

Gluten Free Brownies at here contains 240g dark chocolate, 90g unsalted butter, 150g caster sugar

Nigella Everyday Brownies at here contains 110g chocolate, 100g unsalted butter, 200g brown sugar

Can you see what I mean? I was like OMG!!! when I saw this observation from my comparison!!!

Can the most amount of chocolate and the least amount of butter and sugar make this best brownies really the best?

YES! YES! YES! Absolutely! The brownies are awesome!!!

"Mmm... Mummy, your brownies is super tok kong!" said my husband after he had his first mouthful of brownies. Tok Kong??? It means very good or superb to the extent of very solid! After hearing this, I blushed but was expecting a response from my son. Where was he? He was quiet doing his nom nom nom nom... LOL!

When this brownies is freshly baked, it is rather cakey at its edge and gluey in its center. And so if you want to slice and eat the brownies when it is freshly baked with its center still warm and gluey, it is better to bake this recipe in two smaller square pans so that the brownies are easier to slice when it is still gluey.

However, if you want to eat the brownies with full chocolaty taste plus an ultimate fudgy texture, I'm sorry that you have to wait!!!??? After the brownies are completely cooled and well-rested overnight, the brownies will develop its fudgy texture further. What if... after tasting the well-rested brownies, you still prefer the brownies that is warm and gluey? No worries! You can always warm the brownies very quickly in a microwave with low heat power until the chocolate is warm and gluey again.

In order to be able to create an ultimate taste in your brownies, I like to strongly emphasize that it is important to use the best quality chocolate to bake your brownies!!! This book strongly suggests the use of Dutch processed cocoa powder with 24% cocoa butter and couverture chocolate with high percentage of cocoa. You might ask... What is couverture chocolate? According to this book, couverture chocolate is made of cocoa beans that are extracted from cocoa pods which are 50% cocoa butter and 50% dry cocoa solid. Unlike couverture chocolate, compound chocolate replaces cocoa butter with hydrogenated vegetable fats like palm oil. Hence, if you see vegetable fat as one of the ingredients in your chocolate, you know that it is a compound chocolate, not couverture chocolate.

In summary with my Singlish... Super tok kong brownies? Of course lah. Because I used Valrhona Dutch processed cocoa powder and Callebaut dark chocolate 70% cocoa callets for baking... LOL!

The beginning explains the ingredients and terms that are commonly used within the book.

I know, you know that baking brownies is so easy. Just melt, stir and bake and nothing can go wrong. Still not sure? You can watch my one-minute brownies baking video and I hope this video will help :)

This is the Super Tok Kong brownies!!!

Do you want to bake this best chocolate brownies?

Yes? And you can. It is very easy!

Although I have agreed to the publisher not to replicate the exact text of this book in this post, I think that it is perfectly ok for me to share the list of ingredients and instructions in my own way to demonstrate how this book has actually taught me to bake this heavenly brownies. *Hint* *Hint* *Wink* *Wink*

So here we go... This is how I baked this brownies.

The original recipe makes two 16 cm square cake pans for more cakey sides but if you like more fudgy texture, you can bake the brownies in one 20 cm square cake pan but please do not bake it in larger pan like 35 cm x 25cm as it can be too fragile to handle due to its large fudgy center area.

So if you are baking two 16 cm square brownies, please multiple my list of ingredient with 1.5 to get the original amount which is the recipe with 3 eggs.

If you are baking one 20 x 20 cm (8 x 8 inches) square which is 2/3 of the original recipe, you need:
75g unsalted butter
150g couverture dark chocolate and I used Callebaut dark chocolate callets with 70% cocoa - please see note (1)
65g caster sugar
65g soft brown sugar
2 large eggs
1/3 tsp vanilla bean paste (Not extract! This means that you would need more like 1 1 /2 tsp if you are using vanilla extract)
55g plain / all purpose flour

1/6 tsp baking powder
10g cocoa powder, Dutch processed (I used Valrhona)
pinch of salt
60g milk couverture chocolate chips, finely chopped if you prefer - I used Callebaut dark chocolate callets with 70% cocoa - please see note (1)
60g dark couverture chocolate chips, finely chopped if you prefer - I used Callebaut dark chocolate callets with 70% cocoa - please see note (1)

Update on 26 Jul 2016: One of my FB readers has pointed out that baking powder in this recipe is missing and she is right!!! My apology for not including 1/6 tsp baking powder in the above recipe. The original recipe contains 1/4 tsp baking powder to bake two 16 cm sq brownies. So sorry!


(1) In total, I have used 150g plus 120g Callebaut dark chocolate callets with 70% cocoa to bake this brownies and so I don't have to chop the chocolate finely.

(2) Please note that the texture and sweetness will be different if you use chocolate with different quality and also different percentage of cocoa. Mine is sort of the most ultimately chocolate loaded because I have used couverture chocolate with 70% cocoa.

(3) This brownies is not overly sweetened and so please do not reduce the amount of sugar added.

Preheat oven to 170°C / 325°F. Line the bottom and side of one 20 cm (8 inches) square baking pan with baking paper, leaving an overhang on two sides for easy removal of brownies after baking.

Place butter and 150g couverture dark chocolate in a heat proof mixing bowl and use a double boiler or a microwave with short pulses of low power to melt and stir to combine mixture until smooth.

In a large mixing bowl, combine both sugars, eggs and vanilla and use a hand whisk to whisk until combined.

Add the melted chocolate-butter mixture into the egg mixture, then mix to combine.

Sift flour, baking powder, cocoa powder and salt into the chocolate batter. Then add chocolate chips and fold the sifted and added ingredients very gently to combine. Do not over-mix at this stage!

Scrape batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 25 mins or until the top is set but still soft in the center. Please do not over-bake brownies! Allow brownies to cool enough to set in the pan, about 30 mins or more if you are living in warm place.

Once cool, remove brownies out of the pan and cut them into squares or in any shapes or sizes to serve.

These brownies are perfect to eat on their own or warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and drizzles of salted caramel. It can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 day and in a freezer for up to one month.

Love these brownies and want to bake more chocolate food?

Here's more easy and delicious chocolate food for you...

Chocolate Chip Cookies with fudgy centers.
Chocolate Gingerbread Caramel Biscuits
Chocolate Cupcakes.

If you think that these chocolate recipes are too easy, here are some real serious professional chocolate baking for you...

This book has all you need to know about chocolate including these detailed descriptions with step-by-steps photos demonstrating the techniques of melting and tampering chocolate.

Can you imagine? If you can bake these...

Chocolate caramel éclair
THIS... I called it the real professional kind of chocolate Swiss roll!!!

Craving for more chocolate? I was going to show more... with one more chocolate recipe in my next "Chocolate" book review but have decided not to do it after experiencing this failure of baking this gluten free chocolate lamington recipe.

This is the lamington recipe that I used.
Resulting this flat and dry lamington sponge!

Me disappointed that my lamington sponge had turned out to be a lamington rusk? Absolutely!

What happened? Prior baking my lamington sponge, I had noticed a typo error in this recipe saying that the amount of about 5 egg yolks and amount of about 5 egg whites are 100g and 125g! Typically, 5 egg yolks from standard-size 70g eggs should be about 75g and 5 egg whites should be 175g!!! Facing with this situation, I would say most experienced bakers would choose to use the weight in the recipe rather than following the number of eggs used and so I did that accordingly.

Thus, my lamington sponge made with 100g egg yolks and 125g egg whites has turned out to be solid rock hard rusk like kind of cake! Nothing is "moist and delicious" as described in this recipe! So where and which is the mistake? I like to know but instead of figuring out the mistakes, I have decided to stop and bake ONLY this one fantastic brownies recipe for this review.

To be 100% truthful, I absolutely love this book. I'm happy to worship Kristen, the queen of chocolate and her professional way of creating her fascinating chocolate desserts but disappointed too with this lamington recipe due to its unfix-able typo errors. Although I can see that this book pursues perfection in chocolate desserts and adore all Kristen's irresistible chocolate creations, I would strongly advise all learning bakers like me to bake the selection of difficult recipes with cautions.

If you love chocolate and enjoy creating chocolate desserts at home, you may wish to know that this chocolate baking bible is available in most retail or online book shops selling at the retail price of AUD$49.99.

Before ending this post, I like to thank Murdoch Books for giving me this opportunity to do this review. I like to make a disclaimer here that I'm not paid to do this and like to share my most honest opinions with everyone who read this review.

Happy Baking
Please support me and like me at Facebook...

This post is linked to Cookbook Countdown Special: BAKE! organised by Joyce from Kitchen Flavours and Emily from Emily's Cooking (Makan2) Foray.


  1. Hi Zoe :) I've seen Kirsten Tibbals Brownie recipe on Instagram a few day ago and am so glad I finally found someone who posted this recipe. :D

    As I would like to bake the brownie in two 16cm pans I multiplied everything with 1.5 leaving me with: 112.5g butter, 225g couverture, 97.5g caster sugar, 97.5g soft brown sugar, 3 large eggs, 1/2 tsp vanilla paste, 82.5g flour, 15g cocoa, pinch of salt, 90g milk couverture, 90g dark couverture.

    Therefore I'm wondering if all the decimal numbers correspond with the original recipe or if they have to be rounded up (e.g. 100g sugar instead of 97.5g)? Would you be so kind to tell me, what the correct measurements of the decimal numbers are as I take measuring very (a maybe a little bit too ;-) seriously...

    Thank you very, very much! I'm glad I've discovered your blog through this recipe and look forward to your next post.

    Kind regards from Europe,

    P.S.: Do I have to adjust the baking time when baking in the 16x16cm pans or will it still be 25 minutes?

    1. Hi Alexandra,

      Glad that you like this recipe. It is really awesome!!!

      I had a look at the original recipe again and checked your calculation and you are absolutely correct. Yes that you have round up or down the decimal like 97.5g is obviously 100g, 112.5g butter is 115g :) You have to be seriously precise with your weighing as making this brownies doesn't have to 100% precise. Yes that baking this brownies in 16 cm sq pan will require 25 mins too or until the top is crusty but still soft in the center. Please remember not to over bake brownies.

      Happy Baking


    2. Hi Alexandra,

      Please note that 1/6 tsp baking powder is missing in my above recipe before today's update (26 Jul 2016) and the original recipe contains 1/4 tsp baking powder to bake two 16 cm sq brownies.

      So sorry!


  2. Oh my Zoe, the texture looks fabulous ! wish I can have a slice or two too. Yummm.... Enjoy your day.
    Blessings, Kristy

  3. Gosh, Zoe! These brownies are so gooey! I love brownies like that. Super tok kong indeed. LOL!

  4. oh my god!!! that brownie looks divine!!!! just looking at it I can see that!!! Would love to grab a piece or rather the whole plate.

  5. They sure look heavenly, Zoe! Pity about the lamington. I'm pretty sure you'll figure it out. :)

    1. Hi Sharon,

      Sad to say that I'm pretty disappointed with the lamington recipe and I won't try to figure out the mistake. Cheers!


  6. They look so droolworthy... A book full of chocolaty goodness? Yes please...

  7. Hi Zoe,
    Wow, your brownie looks very, very fudgy and chocolaty! This is the ultimate brownie, especially for choc lovers!
    Thanks for linking with CC!

  8. Hi,can i use 8inch round pan to make this brownies?Do i need to alter the ingredients?

    1. Hi Yanny,

      You can only bake half the amount in this recipe in 8 inches round pan. Cheers!


  9. hi, I am fairly new in baking. It mentioned in the steps that I need to use hand whisk to combine eggs, sugar and vanilla to combine. Is there a particular consistency or texture that I need to look for or just mix everything up will do?

    1. Hi Jess,

      Just mix until everything is incorporated but do not over-mix the mixture. Have fun baking these brownies. This recipe is so forgiving and it won't go wrong :)


  10. Hi Zoe, my brownie tray is 22.5 x 22.5cm can I still use the same measurements
    fm yr 20cm ?

    1. Hi Rene,

      If you choose to use a larger 22.5cm sq pan, you will bake flatter brownies and I can't tell if the flatter brownies will taste any better or worse. You can bake your brownies in smaller pans if you wish and please please please do not ask me to re-calculate the ingredients if you insist to use 22.5cm to bake your brownies. Cheers!


  11. And how do I measure 1/6 teaspoon. What I have in hand is only 1/4 teaspoon tool :p

    1. Hi Rene,

      You can either scope 1/6 amount of baking powder in your 1 tsp or weigh 0.6g baking powder. Cheers!


  12. Hi Zoe thanks will just double the ingredients and use for my 22.5cm n the remaining on a smaller pan :)

  13. Hi Zoe, thanks for the recipe. May I ask I am baking at 200 deg as I have a problem with the fixed temp of my oven , how Long should I bake it instead of 25 mins? 20 mins? Thanks in advance :)

    1. Hi, I'm sorry that I can't tell you the exact baking time because I have no idea at all how to operate your tricky oven. All I can suggest is to bake your brownies until the top is set but still soft in the center. Cheers!


  14. Hi Zoe, I have an 11inch x 11inch pan. Would it be ok if I multiply the recipe by 2? Thanks!

    1. Hi Ash, you are absolutely right but I don't think you should bake this brownies with such a large tin because it will break apart easily. Cheers.

  15. Hi Zoe,

    Just wondering if it would work If I use your amended recipe for a 23cm round tin?



    1. Hi Bee, This recipe will have too much batter to bake a round 23 cm pan and can't make half because it will be too little. So you make make this amount. Pour about 70% into your cake pan and bake the rest in a smaller pan. Or appreciate if you can calculate to make 70% of this batter. Cheers!

  16. Hi im new to baking. tried out the recipe but mine were too sweet and i could taste the flour .help ! What did i did wrong

    1. I'm sorry that I don't know how to help you if I don't know how you bake your brownies!