I’m really bad about being consistent even when there’s no excuse for inconsistency. I’m trying hard to keep this blog going, but I have trouble getting myself to just sit down and write up these recipes. I’m never starved for material so much as I’m just plain lazy.
I’ll kick off my commitment to do this blog and do it right with an old classic. I’ve been making these for years and it’s one of the few recipes I actually learned from my parents (they’re not terrible cooks, but they’re not great either). And it’s a dessert that everyone can get behind: brownies.
Brownies come in all shapes, sizes, and consistencies, but I stand by the ones my mother made and I now make. I’ve jazzed the original recipe up by adding a topping but otherwise this is pretty tried and true.
This recipe starts the same way any good dessert recipe starts, with butter and chocolate. I melted down my ton of butter and unsweetened chocolate in a makeshift double boiler. I don’t bake enough to justify buying a real double boiler and putting a bowl on top of a saucepan of boiling water seems to work well enough anyway. I don’t put chocolate directly on heat because I don’t want anything to burn. I’ve never had burned chocolate but I doubt it’s any good.
Once everything’s nice and melted down I take the bowl off the heat and add in the sugar. It was then that I realized the bowl I was using (while a good fit for the pot) was WAY too small to actually make this recipe in. I guess I got a little ambitious. So I transferred my chocolate/butter/sugar mixture into a bigger bowl and stirred it up.
The next part of this process is to add in the vanilla and eggs. When I’m not being lazy, I temper the eggs so they don’t have a chance to scramble in the batter. All that really entails is whisking the eggs in a separate bowl and adding a little bit of batter to that bowl. It’ll slowly bring up the temperature of the eggs so that when you add it to the whole bowl, it won’t cook.
I didn’t do that for this recipe because I didn’t want to create any more dirty dishes than I already had. I have to cook and clean everything up afterwards after all.
Finally it’s time to add in the last of the dry ingredients. The flour. For this particular iteration I used good old, regular, glutenous flour. If you’re looking to make this gluten-free, all you have to do is substitute the flour of gluten-free flour (we like to use Cup 4 Cup). I’ve made this with gluten-free flour tons of times and it turns out just as well. They won’t rise as much, but that only makes them denser.
And dense brownies = deliciousness.
I added in the flour a little bit at a time and stirred it until everything was just combined. Then I threw in some dark chocolate chips because what’s better than super chocolatey brownies? Super chocolatey brownies with chocolate chips. I like dark chocolate so much more than milk chocolate. Mostly because I don’t really like sweet things that much. The older I get, the less I like sweets. Nowadays I really only eat coffee-based desserts or chocolate desserts. You know, things that have a little bitterness to them. But the choice of chocolate chips is purely a matter of preference. Milk chocolate would be nearly identical and white chocolate would probably add another interesting layer of flavor. Now that I think about it, caramel chips would be super good in this recipe.
But the final result will be essentially the same. This batter which I could just eat as is. But in the interest of not getting salmonella from uncooked eggs (which according to some sources is only a 0.00836% chance for humans over the age of 5. Worth the risk).
Now for the topping. I made a quick mixed nut topping with two very popular dessert nuts: walnuts and pecans.
In a saucepan I melted down some butter with brown sugar to get a caramel-esque thing going (I know, really technical terms here). To that I added a little bit of flour to thicken it up and some vanilla. Pulled that off the heat, let it cool a little bit, and then stirred in the nuts. And there you go. Nut topping.
Now for the most important part. Brownie assemblage. If you look at any other brownie recipe, I would imagine that this much batter would go in a larger pan. The genesis of this particular recipe is actually about half of this batter in a 9 x 11″ pan. So I double it and still put it in a 9 x 11″ pan. It’s not going to rise very much, but that’s not what I’m looking for. I’m essentially going for a fudge-like cake that’s super dense (see correlation previously stated above). Then top it with the nuts and we’re good to go.
I wasn’t going for fully covered with nuts, but if you want that, I suggest doubling the nut topping recipe. Otherwise, this is all ready for baking.
Bake this at 350˚F for a solid 35-40 minutes and you’ve got yourself one delicious pan of brownies. Let me put it into perspective for you. I made these for a friend’s bachelorette weekend because she loves these things (I would always bring her one for lunch when my mother made them). When I returned home with only about 3 leftover, all three were eaten within 15 minutes of my return. That’s how beloved these are. It’s a little ridiculous actually. I think I only got to eat one now that I think about it.
I’ll just have to make more.
Prep time: 30 minutes
Cook time: 35-40 minutes
- 1 cup butter or margarine
- 4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
- 2 cups white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- 1 ½ cups flour*
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- ¼ cup butter or margarine
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tbs. flour
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- ½ cup walnuts
- ½ cup pecans
- Preheat oven to 350˚F
- Melt butter in chocolate in a double boiler
- Remove from heat and add sugar
- Stir in vanilla and eggs one at a time
- Slowly add flour until combined
- Fold in chocolate chips
- In a small saucepan, melt butter and brown sugar over medium low heat
- Turn off heat and stir in vanilla and flour
- Let cool for a bit and stir in nuts
- In a greased baking pan, pour in batter
- Sprinkle nut topping overtop
- Bake for 35-40 minutes or until done
*Substitute with gluten-free flour to make this recipe gluten-free