Next to chocolate chip cookies, I find brownies to be the simplest dessert which can easily bring a smile to any face*.
*Except for people who don’t like chocolate. When I meet people who don’t like chocolate, my heart breaks a little.
However, I have a little confession. Up until a few months ago, I didn’t have ‘A Brownie’. By that I mean, I didn’t have a go-to brownie recipe. If I wanted a brownie I…bought it.
I know, I know, I know.
I’d gone through plenty of brownie recipes in the dozens of baking books I own, and none of them were the one for me. Each had their own specialty about them, but they didn’t fit the definition of a brownie my taste buds have created over the years.
My perfect brownie is at least an inch high with a dark chocolate coloring specked with melted chocolate chips. To the question: Fudgey or Cakey? I say yes. Yes and yes. I want a brownie with a slightly underdone center, but with a texture slightly reminiscent of a decadent devil’s food cake.
When I finally decided it was time to find MY brownie, I started my search simple by making the recipe found on every bag of King Arthur flour I buy.
“Quick & Easy Fudge Brownies” are what they’re called. Following the recipe precisely, I came out with a brownie which tasted exactly like Pillsbury box mix brownies.
Not necessarily a terrible thing, but not the perfect brownie I had in mind.
Instead of continuing the search, I decided to take this recipe and make it a base for exploration. From this, my perfect brownie was born.
The best thing about this recipe is it uses only one bowl.
Less to clean = a happy baker
You’re going to see in my pictures I tend to start with a whisk. I do so because I got this awesome whisk for Christmas and every time I make brownies I think it is going to be the perfect tool. However, I don’t recommend a whisk. The mixing starts out quite nicely, but then half the batter gets caught inside the whisk. This causes me to then reach for a spatula, negating the coolness of the spatula built into my awesome whisk*.
*It is, however, a great tool for making muffins and cakes!
Preheat the oven to 375° and lightly grease a 7″x11″ pan.
Dump all your dry ingredients* into the bowl.
*Flour, dark cocoa, sugar, salt, baking powder, espresso powder.
What really makes these brownies stand out is the dark cocoa. I have almost completely switched over to using dark cocoa. I feel it produces a truer chocolate presence to whatever I am baking.
Another secret ingredient to anything chocolatey is espresso powder. It draws the chocolate out and makes it even more intense.
Once the dry ingredients are in the bowl, add 3 large eggs, 1/4 cup of avocado or vegetable oil, and 2 tsp of vanilla extract.
This stuff has been my go to for the last year or so. I have gigantic jugs of canola and vegetable oil in my pantry and I barely touch them. Since I use it so little in my baking anyway, I felt the splurge for a healthier option was worthwhile.*
*And, I use it to cook eggs in for breakfast everyday, too!
While the original recipe says to add the butter before the oil and extract, I usually save the butter for last. I’ll often give the ingredients a rough mix, so I’m not pouring slightly warm butter* on eggs.
*Because, let’s be real, even though my recipe below says for the butter to be melted and slightly cooled, I always forget to melt the butter until the moment I need it.
Dump in half a cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips or chunks or, if you feel like living on the wild side, white chocolate chips!
Use a spatula to fold them in. Don’t be like me and use a whisk, even if you have a spatula built in.
Bake for 35 minutes* and let the brownies cool completely before cutting.
*A toothpick will come out mostly clean when they are finished, however, you must pay attention to the smell in order to know if they are done. Because of the dark cocoa, it is easy to miss when they pass the point of being done and are now burning. You’ll get a rich chocolaty smell in your kitchen when they are in their final minutes of baking.
Yes, I gave it a strange kind of hazy vignette so it looks like the brownie of dreams
Note: The above pictured brownie was an experiment with only two eggs. If you lean towards the side of cakey brownie, use two eggs. If you are in the middle or lean more towards a fudgey brownie, like me, use three.
Rich. Decadent. Chocolaty. Delicious. All those usual brownie descriptors? It’s that, and so much more.
My Favorite Brownies
- 1 cup flour
- ¾ cup dark cocoa
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ¼ tsp kosher salt
- ½ tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp espresso powder -3 large eggs
- ½ cup butter, melted and cooled slightly
- ¼ cup avocado oil (or vegetable oil) -2 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 375°. Lightly grease a 7”x11” pan.
- Put all the ingredients in a large bowl, except the chocolate chips, starting with the dry ingredients. Stir the mixture together until it is smooth. The batter will be thick (so you may not want to use a whisk as pictured). Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into the prepared pan, spreading out as necessarily with a spatula.
- Bake the brownies for 35 minutes. (See note below)
- Remove brownies from the oven. Let them cool completely before cutting. Note: While a toothpick will come out mostly clean when they are finished, pay attention to the smell in order to know if they are done. Because of the dark cocoa, it is easy to miss when they pass the point of being done and are now burning. You’ll get a rich chocolaty smell in your kitchen when they are in their final minutes of baking.