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In her lovely new book, Rose’s Baking Basics, reviewed here,  provides a kitchen-full array of baked goods. Where to start when testing a baking book? Brownies, of course. And which one? Well, Rose calls this My Best Brownies. The secret ingredient here is cream cheese. Ordinarily, I hear “cream cheese” and I think bagel and smoked salmon. No salmon here and none needed.

If you need a go-to brownie recipe, it is here. Right here.

Oh, yes. Use a greased 8″ by 8″ pan.

My Best Brownies

Yield: 16 good-sized brownies


  • 1 ¾ sticks [14 tablespoons] unsalted butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • ⅓ cup full-fat cream cheese, cut into pieces
  • 1 cup pecan pieces
  • 3 ounces dark chocolate, 60% to 62% cacao
  • ⅔ cup (sifted before measuring) unsweetened alkalized cocoa powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons (lightly spooned into the cup and leveled off) all-purpose flour, either bleached or unbleached
  • Pinch of fine sea salt



Twenty minutes or longer before toasting the pecans, set an oven rack at the middle level. Set the oven at 325°F/160°C.


About 1 hour ahead, set the butter, eggs, and cream cheese on the counter at cool room temperature (65° to 70°F/19° to 21°C).

Into a 1 cup measure with a spout, weigh or measure the eggs and cover them.

Toast the pecans: Break the pecans into medium pieces. Spread them evenly on a cookie sheet and bake for about 7 minutes, without letting them brown, to enhance their flavor. Stir once or twice to ensure even toasting. Cool completely.

Chop the chocolate into small pieces.


In a large bowl over hot, not simmering, water (do not let the bottom of the bowl touch the water), melt the butter and chocolate, stirring often with a silicone spatula. Remove the bowl from the heat source.

Whisk the cocoa into the melted chocolate mixture, and then the sugar, until incorporated.

Whisk in the eggs and vanilla until the mixture becomes thick and glossy. With a blending fork or wooden spoon, stir and mash in the cream cheese until only small bits remain.

Stir in the flour and salt, just until the flour is moistened.

Stir in the pecans, reaching to the bottom of the bowl, until evenly incorporated.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly, but mound it slightly in the center, which tends to dip on baking.


Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until the batter has set up to 1 inch from the edge and a toothpick inserted 1 inch from the edge comes out clean. (An instant-read thermometer inserted in the center should read about 190°F/88°C.)


Let the brownie cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a small metal spatula between the pan and the parchment to ensure that no batter has leaked through and stuck to the sides.

Invert the brownie onto a wire rack lined with plastic wrap and lift off the pan. Carefully peel off the parchment and reinvert the brownie onto another wire rack. Cool completely.


Transfer the brownie to a cutting board. Use a long-serrated knife to cut the brownie into 2-inch squares.

STORE AIRTIGHT: room temperature, 1 week; refrigerated, 1 month; frozen, 3 months.

Source: Rose’s Baking Basics by Rose Levy Beranbaum [Houghton Mifflin Harcourt 2018]

Photo Information: Canon T2i, EFS 60mm Macro Lens, F/3.5 for 1/40th second at ISO‑1000