You all were so welcoming to my brother this spring when he shared his recipe for Corn Casserole with Bacon. So it only made sense to ask him to write about his ah-maze-ing brownie recipe. I was even going to make a little joke about “brownie points.”

Then I read his rant post (originally titled “Brownies with a Side of Soapbox”). Hrmmm. Well, I hope you’ll be welcoming all the same. But just know if you come to my house, I’m gonna make brownies from a box. And you’re gonna like it.

P.S. If you like your recipe straightforward and free of humorous commentary, scroll on down to the bottom. But you’re missing out, just so you know.

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I have recently become aware of some shocking – nay, alarming – news that has rocked me to the core. Word on the street is that some people in this world use mixes to make things like cakes and brownies. Did you audibly gasp??!! I don’t want to say where I heard this, or mention names of people like friends, family, or the owner of this blog, but I wanted you all to be aware of this massive problem.

Imagine me holding a candle, standing in front of a black curtain, and some sad Sarah McLachlan music playing in the background: I’d like you to join me in helping people who only use sugary, powdered box mixes found on the baking aisle of most supermarkets. These quick cooks don’t know any better, and need OUR help. [dramatic pause for effect] To give to this important cause, please search your heart and wallet to send a check or spare change to the address below. Together we’ll beat this brownie epidemic. Pandemic? They bake in a pan…well, whatever.

Maybe that’s going a bit far.

How about I just show you a fantastic (and super simple) brownie recipe that will either a.) change your life forever, and force you to forget those easy box brownie mixes in the back of your pantry, or b.) give you something humorous to read while you use your finger like a Fun Dip stick to get all that brownie powder out of the bottom of the cellophane wrapper…because you don’t want to waste it if you’re going to start making brownies from scratch. Right? RIGHT??

I found this recipe on Pinterest, and quickly changed it to fit what I like about brownies. Originally, they were called “Ooey Gooey Brownies,” and after following the recipe to the letter the first time, I found they really meant to call them “Chocolate Bricks.” Also, “ooey” isn’t a word. I prefer a more cake-like brownie that melts in my mouth, and doesn’t take a jack hammer to cut.

So, I modified and added and changed and redid and remixed and gained 10 pounds trying brownies and then ate more because I was depressed about gaining 10 pounds of brownie weight and baked and finally…FINALLY came to the perfect combination of light, yet substantial, chocolate-y goodness.

To begin, take a cue from Rachael Ray. If she’s taught us anything (other than the fact people need a faster way to say Extra Virgin Olive Oil) it’s that we should collect all of our ingredients together before making a recipe. This really is my secret to baking goodies from scratch so quickly. I don’t have to revisit the fridge or cabinet 12 times to pick up each and every ingredient. And since I’m trying to convince you to make scratch brownies, the faster I can whip this up for you, the better. You’ll need:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Is there anything better than a big, honkin’ pile of chocolate? Maybe a big pile of bacon, but for that, you’ll have to revisit this recipe. Those are all the ingredients. That’s it.

Do I have any converts to the scratch recipe yet? The thing about this is there really aren’t THAT many ingredients. It’s quite a basic, straightforward sort of thing that really shouldn’t take more time to put together than a box mix. I mean, it takes 5 minutes just to rip those dumb cellophane wrappers open. In those same 5 minutes, you could be halfway through this recipe!

Okay. Now you have all of your ingredients together, I’ve climbed off my soapbox, and we’re ready to move ahead.

Go over and preheat your oven to 350. My oven takes about 10 minutes to preheat, and by the time it beeps to tell me it has finished heating up I have everything mixed. Grab your favorite bowl and mixer…or stand mixer with paddle attachment, if you’re one of those fancy people. Toss in the butter, sugar, and vanilla. Cream these things until they are light and fluffy, and sort of look like scrambled eggs.

Now add the eggs. Use those upper arm muscles and aerate the sugar, butter, egg mixture. This will add lightness to the brownies later. Of course, don’t forget to scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure everything is combined completely.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt. Use a fork to give it a quick whisk and get out all those flour lumps Martha Stewart has been warning us about since the mid ‘80s.

Next, add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.

Warning: because I’ve tested this recipe for you (feel free to thank me later for my sacrifice of eating batches and batches of brownies before writing up this recipe), I know that if you go at the flour, cocoa mixture in the butter, sugar, eggs with the mixer on high you’ll end up putting a lovely, fine dusting of cocoa powder over everything in your kitchen. I recommend mixing the dry ingredients into the wet ones with a rubber spatula first. After the dry is wet you can attack it all with the mixer and add more air into the thick batter.

Last, but most importantly, add in your chocolate chips and mix everything together with a rubber spatula. Don’t use the mixer here, because the chocolate chips are delicate and sensitive, and will fall apart like THAT relative at most family functions.

I use the two different kinds of chocolate chips, but if you want all milk chocolate chips…go for it. It’s your diet buster, not mine. I’ve even entertained the thought that a cup of white chocolate chips could replace one cup of the other. Or peanut butter chips. Or butterscotch chips. Whatever you want to use will be fine with me. I won’t show up at your door and reprimand you for being creative. That’s not how I roll.

Once everything is mixed thoroughly, place the batter in a buttered and parchment papered 9×9 inch pan. Smooth the top, and squish the batter into the corners. It will be thick, but manageable, and suddenly this became a shampoo commercial. Some of you may recognize this as the corn pan. I promise, I’ve washed it since then.

Place the brownies in the oven on the middle rack and bake on 350F for 35-40 minutes. I bake mine for exactly 37 minutes, turning them halfway through cooking. I’ve baked them for less time and they come out very “gooey” and don’t stick together out of the pan. I’ve baked them for more time and they come out tough. It’s a Russian roulette sort of thing, but I trust you’ll find the perfect time for them in your oven.

Once the brownies have baked, remove them from the oven and place on a cooling rack. An upside down mini muffin tin works well if you are cooling rack-less. This is the most difficult step: let them cool in the pan for AT LEAST 30 minutes, up to an hour.

These will be the longest moments of your life, but well worth the wait.

The brownies need to set up before you remove them from the pan, and will crumble if you don’t give them some time (again, I know this from experience. It’s been a tough journey, you guys.). Once out of the pan, cut them however you like. Make 16 squares or 9 rectangles. I can usually eat 2 or 3…or 4, 1-inch squares at a time, but as my sister and I have discussed, most people would probably stop at one.

I hope you enjoy this recipe. It’s truly life-changing and tastes amazing without all the weird, powdered ingredients in a box mix. They’re easy to throw together and well worth the effort. You won’t be disappointed.

Enjoy!

CHOCOLATE CHUNK BROWNIES

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 35-40 minutes
Yield: 9-16 brownies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and parchment paper a 9×9 inch pan.
  2.  In a large bowl, using a mixer, cream together butter, sugar, and vanilla.
  3.  Add eggs and mix well to combine.
  4.  In a separate bowl, mix flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt with a fork.
  5.  Add flour, cocoa mixture to butter, sugar, eggs. Mix well to combine.
  6.  Stir chocolate chips in with a rubber spatula. It will be thick.
  7.  Pour batter into prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake at 350F for 35-40 minutes, turning once halfway through.
  8.  Remove brownies from oven and let cool for at least 30 minutes on a cooling rack.
  9.  Using parchment paper sling, take brownies out of the pan and cut. Serve with plenty of milk.

All right, spill it – who else uses a mix to make their brownies like I (Mary) do?

P.S. I used James’s recipe to make brownies last night. Because, I don’t know, quality control? {Sure. We’ll go with that.} And, for the record, a) it really didn’t take much longer than whipping up a box mix and b) they are outrageously good. Annalyn said it was like having a chocolate factory in her mouth. (Though I added my own twist by accidentally-on-purpose undercooking them. Mmmm….gooey….)

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