Brownie Tasteoff, Round 2: SuperFudgy Brownies

After easing people into the brownie tasteoff with "Classic Brownies" in the first round, I decided to go to the extreme of "SuperFudgy Brownies" for round two.  Here's a picture of the superfudgy lineup:

Like last time, I asked tasters to try all four brownies and fill out of a ballot ranking them in order of preference and also giving each brownie a numerical score from 1-10.

Brownie A was the Really, REALLY Fudgy Brownie from In the Sweet Kitchen by Regan Daley.  The cookbook warns: "Very dense, very rich, very chocolately, these brownies are not for the faint of heart."  This is a straight chocolate fudge brownie, with no chips or other mix-ins.  Several tasters commented favorably on its chocolate flavor and fudginess, although others felt that that it was too plain compared to the other brownies in this group.  One taster noted, "Brownie A was just really good. It was a no-frills brownie that said to me, 'I am what I am. Love me for it.' So I did."  Another wrote, "For me this is the essence –  one might even say the Platonic form, assuming that you can eat Platonic forms – of a brownie: somewhat crumbly but with enough chewiness so as to hold together until it’s in your month, and an admirable chocolate taste."

Brownie B was the Recchiuti Fudgy Brownie, from Recchiuti Chocolatier in San Francisco.  I have made this brownie countless times over the years since it was featured in the Los Angeles Times Culinary SOS column in 2004.  This is a very fudgy brownie that also contains semisweet chocolate chunks.  I was a little surprised that a significant number of tasters said they liked the fact that this brownie had a slightly salty taste; I have never thought of this brownie as being salty.  Others commented, "just pure, unadulterated chocolate," "this brownie just had it all going on," "almost like eating a chocolate bar but it is soooo much better because of the baked good consistency," and " it had a character in addition to fudginess, which I absolutely loved."

Brownie C was the Midnight Brownie that Lisa Yockelson contributed to The Good Cookie by Tish Boyle.  (This brownie is cut into thirds because I forgot to save a regular-sized slice for the picture; for the tasteoff, I've been cutting the brownies into extra-small slices so that tasters won't get brownie overload.)  This superfudgy brownie contains chunks of Milky Way Midnight Bars.  Several tasters commented that the base brownie seemed to have the least amount of flavor in this group.  Many complained about the small amount of Milky Way in their sample, although I think this might be a particular hazard that results from serving very small slices.

Brownie D was Lisa Yockelson's Cappuccino Cream Cheese Fudge Cake from Baking by Flavor.  Although Yockelson calls this a "cake," it's way fudgier than any other cake I've ever tasted, and so I always pass it off as a "brownie."  And a superfudgy one at that!  This "cake" is essentially an espresso-cinnamon brownie with a cream cheese-chocolate chip swirl.  While some tasters thought that the cream cheese swirl was an asset, others thought it was a liability. Comments ranged from, "cream cheese is an interesting idea, but subtracts from overall brownie-ness," to " too much going on for my taste," to "It has coffee.  It has cheese.  That’s all anyone really wants in life."

And this superfudgy winner is... Brownie B, the Recchiuti Fudgy Brownie.  This brownie will advance to the finals of the tasteoff.  Half of the tasters choose it as their favorite, and it earned an average score of 8.14 out of 10.  It was followed by the Cappuccino Cream Cheese Fudge Cake (average score 7.22), the Really, REALLY Fudgy Brownie (average score 7.10) and the Midnight Brownie (average score 6.75).

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Louise said…
You have introduced me to yet another brownie -- the Recchiuti Fudgy Brownies. I'm going to bake a half batch this afternoon as I have no one to share them with today. A couple of years ago I did extensive brownie history research. Palmer House claims Bertha Palmer had a chef create it for the World's Columbian Exposition in 1893. There's extensive records of what went on at the Fair, including a fat book published in 1981, "The Fair Women". That,plus newspapers and cookbooks published before 1904 not having a brownie recipe, lead me to think that the Palmer House story is in the same vain as Mrs. O'Leary's cow starting the Chicago Fire.
Katie said…
I hadn't heard of the Recchiuti Fudge Brownie either, but it sounds delicious. I love these taste tests that you do. I'm going to have to get started with that!
Anonymous said…
I haven't tried any these...yet! Do you have a favorite?
Well, these are all favorites of mine, which is how they ended up in the tasteoff... But when I tasted them head-to-head, my favorite was the really REALLY fudgy brownie. But I still love them all!
Louise said…
I was expecting Round 3 results yesterday. :-) I baked Recchiuti Fudgy Brownies and I don't think they can stand head-to-head with a Baked Brownie, but that's just my opinion. Don't get me wrong, they are good brownies and my neighbor loved them, they just aren't Baked.