Friday, November 18, 2011

Making Brownies from Scratch

If this is your first time making homemade brownies, prepare to be shocked by how easy it is – and how much better they will be than the box you grew up on. Since I know brownies are one of those desserts that have fans in different camps, I’ll forewarn you: If you want your homemade brownies to be so fudgy that they’re practically unformed (as many boxed brownies are), this isn’t that recipe (but it could be). How so? Keep reading, friends!

This recipe for making brownies from scratch is so easily adaptable that you can adjust it to attain the homemade brownie consistency you’re going for, simply by altering the amount of flour you use. If you just have to have your brownies super-fudgy, you can cut down on the flour in the recipe; but if you're like me, you need something to grab when you're tempted to dip Oreos in your coffee every morning and I assure you, a thick, sturdy brownie that doesn't fall apart when moistened will do the trick. Even if you're in the fudge brownie camp, though: Try making this homemade brownie recipe word-for-word first, and then evaluate whether or not it needs to be adjusted. I will tell you, I’ve tried many homemade brownie recipes on the Web and few are as easily adaptable as this one.

Homemade Brownie Recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) butter or margarine
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs
3/4 cup dark cocoa powder 
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°F and grease a 13x9x2-inch baking pan (although there are other sizes that will work well and give you much thicker brownies like in the photo above; if this sounds intriguing, see the tips below). Place butter in microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for one minute or until melted. Pour melted butter in a large mixing bowl and add sugar and vanilla. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together with electric mixer. Add eggs and beat in with mixer until combined. Add cocoa, flour, baking powder and salt and beat with mixer for two minutes or until thoroughly blended. Stir in chocolate chips with a spoon. Pour batter into the prepared pan.
Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and insert fork in center for doneness (fork should come out clean). Allow brownies to cool in pan for 30 minutes before cutting into bars.

Tips for Making Brownies from Scratch

Maybe it's just me, but I’ve found that day-old brownies almost always taste better. Even if you love the warm-out-of-the-oven brownie variety, try making these a day ahead. You can always re-heat in the microwave for 20 seconds if you want to. You may be pleasantly surprised!

If you own a Perfect Brownie pan, you can easily recognize that the pan in the kit is not 13x9x2 inches. It is actually about 11x7 inches, which is a great size for those who want thicker, sturdier brownies. I plan to post some Perfect Brownie tips soon, because this is a great tool for making homemade brownies if you know how to manipulate it (in other words, don’t bother following the instructions for use). Another pan that works well with this homemade brownie recipe is an 8x8 inch square baking pan, especially if it’s a silicone one because it makes removing your homemade brownies a veritable breeze. 

Making brownies from scratch is an arrow you want in your quiver for those moments when you want to be on your A-game as a cook: the sleepover, the soccer party, the church social or the silly gathering also known as your husband’s fantasy football draft. Everyone loves brownies, but because they’re accustomed to convenience products, they may not know how much they love homemade brownies until they try yours – and how gratifying is that?

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