February 20, 2012

dark, rich, fudgy brownies - better than boxed

You might be thinking, "Why post a brownie recipe immediately following one for cookie dough bars?"  It's because I love dessert.  I can, and often do, eat it after every meal.  I can, and often do, eat more than one type of dessert in one sitting.  In fact, I'm contemplating whether it's possible to combine this brownie recipe with the cookie dough bar recipe to create one Mega Bar.  What's that?  Sorry, I can't hear your judgment over all the 'mmms' and 'oooohs' in my head. 

So here's the thing.  I love boxed brownie mixes.  They don't fail.  Ever.  I've long been of the opinion that there's no such recipe that can top Ghirardelli's brownie mixes.  And then one day last week this recipe landed with a fudgy thud in my inbox.  And I've been eating my words - and brownies - ever since. 

My friend is a producer of Talk of the Town, a fabulous daily show that features a different talented cook each day, and from time to time she sends me recipes she knows I'll like.  Last week she shared a brownie recipe from Loveless Cafe.  That was all I needed to know.  If it came from them, it was going to be good.

I wouldn't be me if I didn't tweak the recipe though.  The first 'tweak' was accidentally doubling the flour, resulting in a pretty good chocolate cake.  Oops - not brownies.  I tried again, using all-purpose flour instead of self-rising, omitting the almond extract & doubling the vanilla, adding a little extra cocoa powder, and using salted butter instead of unsalted.

When it comes to cocoa powder, this is one ingredient I've found is worth the splurge.  Buy rich, dark, good quality unsweeteend cocoa powder.  I used Valrhona for this recipe & I'm not looking back.

The result? Pretty much one of the best brownies I've ever eaten. I'll be making these again, though not for another few months.  I'm about to embark on the strictist diet I've ever attempted, and I'll be sharing my (bitchy) journey with you in the coming weeks.

In the meantime, enjoy!

Better Than Boxed Brownies
adapted from Loveless Cafe's Jesse's Mama's Wicked Brownies

3 eggs
2 cups packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 stick salted butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 c bittersweet chocolate chips

Preheat the over to 350°F. Line an 8x8 pan with parchment or wax paper, making an ‘X’ with two long pieces of the paper so it hangs over all four sides.  Grease the paper with butter or spray.  This will ensure easy removal of the bars once they’ve cooled by simply lifting the paper and transferring the bars to a cutting board.

Mix the flour and cocoa powder in a medium size bowl & set aside.

Fit a stand mixer with a whisk attachment, and beat the eggs, brown sugar & vanilla on medium speed until thick and pale, 3-5 minutes.  Slowly incorporate the butter.    

Reduce whisk speed to low and slowly add the dry mixture, scraping down the sides of the bowl until fully combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into prepared pan.

Bake about 40 minutes until center is no longer jiggly (I tend to like gooey brownies, so just pull them when they're where you want them).  Let the brownies cool in the pan, then transfer to a cutting board by lifting all four sides of the paper. 

They can be eaten immediately but taste best after sitting in the refrigerator overnight, a brilliant suggestion from a friend.


  1. they look seriously amazing, not gonna lie. it's been at least a few months since i made some homemade brownies - maybe this is a sign that i need to make some ASAP...? =)

  2. These need to GET IN MY FACE! I'm eating Kit Kats reading about your brownies at 3:30am. You think I'm judging? Ummmm, no.

  3. I kind of had that moment too - thinking the boxed Ghirardelli 3 pack from Costco was the best and then I tried the King Arthur Flour recipe which calls for 6 ounces of unsweetened chocolate, 12 tablespoons of butter and abandoning all hope of ever wearing skinny jeans. These look "low fat" by comparison thus justifying trying out another recipe plus you were able to cut these nicely whereas my brownies always look like I cut them by dragging my finger through the pan.

  4. After trying these, I'm now a convert. Kind of. I still have a box of Ghirardelli mix in the pantry and only Hershey's Special Dark powder in the pantry. :)