So when I was a kid, my godparents gave me this kids’ cookbook. Contained within the pages is this recipe. Honestly, I don’t remember making much else from the cookbook. But if this recipe is all I got from it, it was definitely worth it. It has been a staple of mine since I was about 10, which means I’ve been making these for roughly 14 years (over half my life). I love this recipe. Though I guess you’d have to love it to make them for 14 years. In a nut shell, I highly recommend you make these asap.
They’re rich and cake-like, and they’ve never failed to please at gatherings of all sorts (and with my co-workers this morning, even though they aren’t as chocolatey as usual because I was a tad short on the cocoa powder. But I was already in my jammies so I wasn’t going out to get more).
This is my cook book. It is kind of covered in vanilla and various other ingredients, but I would say it’s still in good shape.
My favorite thing is all of the instructions to get an adult to help you with things. I’ll include its directions verbatim and then add my own flair, as I always do. Here we go!
Here are your ingredients all together for a lovely photo. You probably have all of this in your pantry/fridge. Maybe not the cocoa powder… Come to think of it, I don’t think I use it for anything except brownies. But it’s cheap and available everywhere, so no excuses.
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 sticks (1 cup) butter
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
1. Preheat your oven to 350-degrees, then smear the inside of an 8 or 9-inch baking pan with shortening. I use Pam, not shortening. And I use a 9×13 pan. This is my gorgeous teal Le Creuset stoneware dish. It completes me.
2. Melt the butter over a low heat. Watch it. It’s easy to burn. So very wise, child cookbook. You seriously should be careful because it can start bubbling and browning very quickly. You could also microwave it, but I think there’s a certain romance to heating it on the stove.
3. In your mixing bowl, stir the cocoa and sugar together. Then, stir in the melted butter. It gets all gooey and delicious during this part. I love it.
Please note that I was short on cocoa powder (it was probably closer to 2/3 than 3/4 of a cup) so your chocolate to sugar ratio will produce a bit darker of a color than mine did. Apologies. But as I said before, I was in my jammies and didn’t want to go get more.
You know what’s really hard? Stirring while you hold a camera and try to take a clear picture. I wish I was ambidextrous. Life and food blogging would be so much easier.
At this point it should be fairly soupy and smooth. Mine was a little thin due to the lack of cocoa powder, but I only know this because I’ve been making these for 14 years. Don’t worry, I added a little extra flour to balance my dry ingredients. Baking is all chemistry.
4. Add the eggs and vanilla, and stir again. I don’t have a comment for this. I think it’s pretty straightforward.
Once you mix it, it will feel a bit thicker, but won’t change much in color.
5. Now add the flour and salt and mix just until smooth. Not too much. (If you’re adding walnuts, now’s the time). I’m not adding walnuts. I hate nuts in my baked goods. With a passion.
6. Scrape the mixture out into the greased pan and spread out in an even layer. Can I just say that it’s really hard to pour batter out of a bowl and into a baking dish while taking a picture? It’s really hard.
7. Bake in a 350-degree oven until the brownies just begin to pull away from the sides of the pan (or until you can stick a toothpick in and pull it out with no batter sticking to it). Takes about 40 to 50 minutes. I usually stick a knife in to test done-ness because I always forget that I actually have toothpicks.
Do not, I repeat, do not, bake them for more than 45 minutes!! If you have a particularly hot oven (like me) then 40 minutes will do the trick. If you bake them any longer they will come out just a little dry. 40 minutes equals perfectly moist and delectable brownies.
8. Have your grown-up assistant take the pan out of the oven, then (the hardest part) let cool for a while before cutting. This is my favorite direction. Both for the mention of the grown up assistant, and the fact that it acknowledges the hardships in letting brownies sit and cool. It’s really rough.
This is also where I throw in my little twist, called powdered sugar, aka finely ground heaven.
What you end up with are some ridiculously delicious and amazing hunks of brownie. Tell your friends I said “you’re welcome” 🙂