Adventures in Baking

No Fail, Decadent, Versatile Brownies! Now Who Doesn’t Want That?

Brownies! An American staple! We have all made our fair share of brownies, yet, we are always searching for that next ooey gooey recipe. Well, look no further. I came across this recipe on allrecipes.com (linked)- which is a great resource for all types of amazing recipes. I have gone through probably at least 25 different brownie recipes in the last 25 years, trying to find the right one. The problem with brownies is that you have to find the right type for you personally…cakey, gooey, filled, topped, etc. I had a recipe for each one of these types, depending on what I was in the mood for. What I found about this recipe is that it is the perfect base for any of these types. You can adjust the ingredients to meet what you are desiring. A few tweaks here and there and you’re ready for any brownie craving!!! So let’s get started.

Let’s start with the basic recipe and then I will explain how to tweak it…

Of course, we always start with preheating your oven. I cannot tell you how important it is to get to know your oven. Is it the right temperature? How does it bake? I use the convection setting for pretty much everything but cookies. Here I put my convection oven on at 350 degrees F.

Next, we are going to prep. I always like to prep; maybe because then I get to pretend like I am on some kind of baking show  – an embarrassing secret I have kept since I was little!! In fact, I used to set up our huge VCR and giant camcorder on this monstrous tripod (cause I was a kid in the 80’s and technology was just beginning – oh the days when we would sit for hours in front of the radio waiting to hit “Play” & “Record” simultaneously so we could make a mix tape of songs, illegal I know!) in our kitchen and I would make videos of myself interviewing my stuffed animals and making baking how to’s. What I would have done with YouTube back then? Good thing I was kept from that embarrassment haha. Ok, back to brownies….where was I? Oh right… Prep! Let’s gather all of our ingredients (see recipe below). Again, I always use organic all-purpose flour due to my kiddos and their ailments. I use Morena Pure Cane Sugar and I go back and forth between Hershey’s Cocoa and Baker’s. I like them both, but in this recipe I prefer Baker’s. I measure out all of my ingredients and have them ready to add in to my bowl for when I need them. That way nothing is sitting and waiting and ruining any consistencies.

Now that you have your oven preheating and your ingredients all prepped and ready. Get your 8 inch square (preferably glass) pan and prep that. I prefer to use Baker’s Joy flour spray! IT IS THE BOMB!! It saves so much time and it works great. If you don’t have access to that, or something like it, just grease and flour your pan and set it aside.

This recipe will be made in one pot and it starts on the stove top. Grab a medium sized sauce pan and set it atop low-medium heat. You are going to melt your butter and then remove the pot from the heat. You are doing this to help melt your sugar, to remove any grainy texture to the brownies. The melted butter helps to incorporate all of the ingredients into a nice fudgey consistency.

To this you will add your sugar and vanilla and stir until well incorporated. The original recipe here calls to add everything in and beat, but this doesn’t bode well for the structure or texture of the brownie. Here you are going to help dissolve your sugar a bit while cooling down your butter, so that when you add your eggs in you don’t scramble them.

Next, you can go ahead and add in your eggs, making sure to incorporate slowly. I HIGHLY recommend just using a wooden spoon or silicone (high heat) spatula for this and not a whisk or beater. You will scramble your eggs and add too much air into your batter. This base recipe will yield a fudgey and decadent brownie – let’s not mess with that!

Now we will add all of our dry ingredients: the flour, cocoa, salt, and baking powder (you can choose to sift all of these together during prep – I have done it – most of the time I don’t). Stir this gently mixing everything in nicely but DO NOT OVERMIX!

Now, pour this batter into your prepared pan and smooth out. Bake in your preheated oven for about 25 – 30 minutes. Now remember, convection cooks faster. You are looking for a set middle and the sides of the brownie to start pulling away from the pan. This means it is done. You can always check for doneness with a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. But this only works if you’re not adding anything into the brownies.

Once removed from oven, let cool in pan on wire rack for about 10 minutes, then start making the frosting. The frosting for this recipe calls for the brownies to still be warm when you apply it, mostly because it is very thick and you need the warmth to help spread it, as well it will melt into the brownies a bit and then crust over, making for a delicious addition.

Ok, so for the icing – so simple. I recommend using a beater since this icing is thick. I used a whisk here for the first time and I had a nice arm workout.

So first, take your room temp butter along with your honey and vanilla and beat till smooth. Now add your powdered sugar and cocoa powder and beat till fluffy and incorporated. I add a tablespoon of Flax Milk to this – I just feel like it needs a little extra liquid.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spread onto your brownies and let cool/harden completely!

 

Ok, now for the good part! Variations:

  1. These brownies are a great base. Once you have the batter completed, don’t be afraid to add nuts, marshmallows, chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, etc. Just fold in without over-mixing the batter. You want to just incorporate the fixins enough. Bake as usual! SO SIMPLE!
  2. Cakey variation!! Instead of melting the butter, get our your beater or stand mixer and beat your butter and sugar until nice and fluffy. Then add your eggs and vanilla and beat well. When you add in your flour and cocoa, increase your flour by 2 tablespoons and again just incorporate with a spoon – do not beat. The fluffiness of the butter and sugar will add air to the batter, along with the added flour, will bring forth a cakier texture. You can fold in fixins to this as well! I bake this for the same amount of time, but for anything – watch it, your ovens can vary!!
  3. Topping: if you do not want to add the frosting, try marshmallows. You can grab a jar of marshmallow fluff and spread that on. Or my personal fave is to make the cakey version and then during the last couple of minutes of baking I layer the top with mini-marshmallows and let them melt and brown on top!
  4. Healthier version: Substitute applesauce for the butter and egg whites for the eggs. Just beat your butter nice and fluffy and then add, 1/2c apple sauce instead of the butter, along with the vanilla and eggs and beat together, then add your dry ingredients. Applesauce and egg whites are a great way to cut down on fat and calories, but let’s be serious…if you’re making brownies, what’s the point? Just enjoy the brownie!!!!!!

And that’s it. Simple, Easy, Delicious!!! ENJOY!!!

 

Here is the Basic Best Brownie Recipe from All Recipes: However, I highly recommend following the directions listed above for these to turn out the best way possible!!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Frosting:
  • 3 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour an 8-inch square pan.
  2. In a large saucepan, melt 1/2 cup butter. Remove from heat, and stir in sugar, eggs, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat in 1/3 cup cocoa, 1/2 cup flour, salt, and baking powder. Spread batter into prepared pan.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 30 minutes. Do not overcook.
  4. To Make Frosting: Combine 3 tablespoons softened butter, 3 tablespoons cocoa, honey, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and 1 cup confectioners’ sugar. Stir until smooth. Frost brownies while they are still warm.

 

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