pompously I was recently in Portland, Oregon visiting old friends and having dinner, and, in order to prepare dessert, my hostess pulled out a box of brownie mix. “STOP!!!” I screamed. I started rooting around in her cupboard and refrigerator and quickly collected all the ingredients needed to make brownies from scratch. Hallelujah!
For the life of me I don’t understand why anyone would use a brownie mix. By the time you go to the store, buy the packaged stuff with all kinds of additives, then add eggs and oil…you might as well bake with real ingredients and have a fresh, wonderful pan of decadent, chocolaty brownies.
This is a perfect beginner’s baking project – it requires just a few ingredients and a bit of elbow grease – no mixer, just a large bowl and spatula. Brownies can be simple or provide a base for more elaborate desserts – think a scoop of ice cream on top, hot fudge or caramel or peanuts sprinkled about – even some coarse fancy salt on top of the caramel. Now we’re talking!!! Even a little crème fresh and sliced berries alongside is nice…endless possibilities!
I hope you’ll take the challenge and even do a little side-by-side taste test. You’ll never go back to the box!
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
- 1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
- 1 cup less 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
- 2 eggs
- ½ tsp pure vanilla extract
- ¼ c regular flour
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Grease an 8 x 8 x 2 brownie pan (remember the homemade PAM? Use it!). and preheat oven to 325 degrees with the rack in the middle of the oven.
Cut one stick of butter into 6-8 pieces and put in a 2 quart glass bowl with the two squares of chocolate. Melt in microwave 45-60 seconds, stopping every 20 seconds to stir well. At the end you’ll have to stir vigorously for a few minutes to dissolve the chocolate. If you don’t have or want to use a microwave, melt slowly in a double boiler or pan on very, very low heat so you don’t burn the chocolate.
Crack eggs and beat with vanilla in a separate bowl. Then stir into the melted chocolate/butter mix. Stir in sugar and combine well.
Mix salt with flour to disburse, and then dump into the liquid mix. Use spatula to blend. Stir in nuts.
Place brownie batter into the greased pan, even the top with a table knife and bake for 35 minutes or until done. Cool on rack, and once they are totally cooled sift powdered sugar over the top before serving.
My mom used to cut and wrap these brownies individually in waxed paper, and then put them into a sealed container — perhaps it was a coffee can with a lid? That way, we could take a brownie without a lot of fuss and bother and didn’t get our fingers all over the rest of the batch!
You can easily double this recipe and bake them in a 9 x 12 pan too.
It doesn’t get much easier than this, folks.