When I was a kid, I remember asking my mom what was for dinner. Our conversation went something like this:“Mom, what’s for dinner?” “Macaroni and cheese.” Full of hope, I replied, “From the box?”
Mom made a delicious homemade macaroni and cheese, tender pasta and creamy cheese baked to perfection, yet her kids preferred to eat the cardboard-like macaroni coated with the unnaturally bright orange, powdery cheese mix from the blue box.
Brownies are another one of those foods from a box that I enjoy, yet like macaroni and cheese, I thought it was high time I made them from scratch. Like most of the foods I have taken from buying at the store to making at home, I found homemade brownies are simple to prepare and delicious.
The recipe I used came from Baked: New Frontiers in Bakingby Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. I took my typical liberties, using regular cocoa powder in place of dark cocoa powder and omitting the teaspoon of espresso powder. I would have loved to use both of these ingredients; I simply didn’t have them on hand.
The brownies require 11 ounces of chocolate, and I used Baker’s individually wrapped chocolate squares. I actually had exactly 11 squares on hand, which was a pleasant surprise given my typical need to substitute something due to lack of exactly what was needed. Given the amount of chocolate in this recipe, the cost savings of these homemade brownies are not significant compared to box-mix brownies. However, if knowing how to easily pronounce each ingredient in your baked goods is important, homemade brownies are the way to go. As for the taste, the brownies were very chocolatey and perfectly fudgy.
I really like the variety of delicious toppings brownies willingly accept. My mom makes this marshmallow-peanut butter-Rice Krispie topping that’s delicious, and I don’t know how you can possibly go wrong with melting Andes mints over the tops of hot brownies. I also love caramel toppings and brownies marbled with cream cheese. While thinking of this post as I drifted off to sleep last night, I thought a raspberry topping, like the raspberry-filled chocolate Ghirardelli square I ate yesterday, would also be delicious. I topped my homemade brownies with a light dusting of confectioner’s sugar, just like Mom does when she makes brownies…from a box. Enjoy!
- 1¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1cup (2 sticks) butter, melted
- 11 ounces dark chocolate
- 1½ cups granulated sugar
- ½ cup packed brown sugar
- 5 eggs
- 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder and salt in a medium bowl and set aside.
- Melt the butter and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently, until smooth.
- While the butter and chocolate melt, whisk together the white and brown sugars in a large bowl.
- Pour the melted butter and chocolate over the sugars and whisk until combined. The mixture should be room temperature.
- Beat three of the eggs into the chocolate and sugar mixture until combined.
- Add the other two eggs and the vanilla and again, whisk until well combined.
- Sprinkle the flour mixture over the chocolate mixture and, using a spatula (not a whisk!), gently fold the flour mixture into the chocolate mixture. Traces of the flour mixture may remain.
- Pour the batter into a greased 9 x 13 baking pan and smooth the top.
- Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through the baking time, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the brownies comes out with just one or two crumbs.