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Thomas Keller's "Ad Hoc" Brownies

In Chefs, Chocolate, Dessert, Recipe, Snacks
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I have been struggling for the past few days about whether or not I should post this brownie recipe.  For starters, it has only been a few months since I blogged about the King Arthur Brownies, and one of the things I really strive to do, not just for my family, but for all of you who are taking the time to read our blog, is to offer up a nice variety of dishes to enjoy.  I guess I'm concerned that by posting two brownie recipes in about as many months, I'm not trying hard enough to bring fresh ideas to the table....Boo.

The second reason for my balking at writing this post is that the recipe happens to be YET ANOTHER one from Thomas Keller, you remember him right, the brilliant chef of  "French Laundry", "Per Se", and "Bouchon" fame?    So.....not only am I double-dipping with brownies here, but I am passing along my third Keller recipe (I've already written about Bouchon's Quiche Lorraine and Chocolate Bouchons, and I have YET ANOTHER one in the "Oui, Chef" pipe-line) ....talk about a rut. 

Will you ever forgive me?

Of course, as ruts go, you could do much worse than a Keller created Brownie.  In fact, I dare say that once you've tasted one of these babies, and taken the requisite moment to change the unmentionables that you will undoubtedly soil as a result (yeah, they're THAT good), you might even thank your lucky stars for this rut I'm in. 

These were the brownies that we made to add into Muppet's Mint-Chip-Brownie ice cream a few weeks back.  I was about to pull out the KA Brownie recipe when I recalled seeing the recipe for "Ad Hoc" brownies recently on the web.  "Ad Hoc" is the name of Thomas Keller's latest restaurant project, as well as a best selling cookbook of the same name, Ad Hoc at Home .  I knew that if Keller had anything to do with these, then they would be nothing short of fantastic. 

Remember his Chocolate Bouchon's?  Well this recipe is almost identical with the only difference being that these brownies have even MORE sugar....."it is right to give praise".

I never thought I'd be saying this, especially so soon after lauding the KA's, but these brownies are even better.  I almost wept with joy upon biting into my first, still slightly warm from the oven, square of deep chocolate deliciousness.  There may yet be a better brownie recipe out there somewhere, but it'll really have to be something amazing to beat this one (Lisa P., if you are still out there, it's time for you to get in the kitchen, tie on an apron and give these a whirl, let me know what you think!)

I recall reading somewhere that people who lose a limb in an accident may suffer "phantom" pains after their trauma, as if the injured limb were still part of their bodies.  In a way, I think our poor Muppet suffers from some sort of "phantom" brownie affliction.  We have been clean out of the buggers for about a week now, yet without fail, everyday when she returns from school she looks up at me with sad, longing eyes and asks me; ARE THERE ANY BROWNIES LEFT?.......ARE YOU SURE, I THOUGHT I SAW ONE IN THE BREADBOX THIS MORNING? 

Poor thing.....I guess we'll need to make some more soon.


          This is the whole pan of brownies, the trimmed edges already added to Muppet's Ice Cream.


"Ad Hoc" Brownies

by: Thomas Keller

(Print Friendly Version)


  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour

  • 1 cup unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
 (we use valhrona)
  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 1-tablespoon pieces

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 3 large eggs

  • 1 3/4 cups granulated sugar

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla paste
6 ounces 61 to 64% chocolate, chopped into chip-sized pieces ( about 1 1/2 cups)
  • Powdered sugar for dusting


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. At Ad Hoc, they use a 9-inch square silicone mold, because it keeps the edges from overcooking; if you use a metal or glass baking pan, butter and flour it. Set aside.
Sift together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt; set aside
Melt half the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally. Put the remaining butter in a medium bowl. Pour the melted butter and stir to melt the butter. The butter should look creamy, with small bits of unmelted butter, and be at room temperature.
In a bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle, mix together the eggs and sugar on medium speed for about 3 minutes, or until thick and very pale. Mix in the vanilla. On low speed, add about one-third of the dry ingredients, then add one-third of the butter, and continue alternating the remaining flour and butter.
  6. Add the chocolate and mix to combine. (The batter can be refrigerated for up to 1 week.)

  7. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, until a cake tester or wooden skewer poked into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it. If the pick comes out wet, test a second time, because you may have hit a piece of chocolate chip; then bake for a few more minutes longer if necessary.
  8. Cool in the pan until the brownie is just a bit warmer than room temperature.
 Run a knife around the edges if not using a silicone mold, and invert the brownie onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 rectangles. Dust the tops with powdered sugar just before serving. (The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for up to 2 days.)


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"Oui, Chef" exists as an extension of my efforts to teach my kids a few things about cooking, and how their food choices over time effect not only their own health, but that of our local food communities and our planet at large. By sharing some of our cooking experiences, I hope to inspire other families to start spending more time together in the kitchen, passing on established familial food traditions, and starting some new ones. Read more...
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