Friends, let’s talk brownies.
Who automatically thought about boxed brownies? *raises hand*
I’m not a patient person. Let me clarify. I’m not patient when it comes to measuring out ingredients and sticking with a recipe– or actually, you know, being precise. Great trait for a food blogger, right? I’ve gotten better and forced myself to measure and *gasp* pull out the food scale for precision over the last year, after of starting this blog. It turns out that it’s reeeeeeeealllly easy to give people recipes now. Though for my mother, I still give her directions in ‘palmful’ and ‘index finger deep’ speak. She is, after all, the woman I watched cook growing up and the woman who has never owned a set of measuring cups or spoons.
Back to these brownies. Confession: I’ve ventured out and try something like made-from-scratch brownies, at least until a couple of years ago. Why would I need to when a box of double chocolate brownies does the job just as well? Which is why these decadent brownies were an accident in the first place. I agreed to make brownies for a holiday party at The Little Diva’s school as couple of years ago. More like strong-armed into it. Remember me+baking from scratch —> not a good idea. So imagine my surprise when I went to grab that good ole box of mix from the pantry and I was out. With the kids all sleeping and no other adult to watch them, I made a last ditch effort to make brownies. FROM. SCRATCH.
45 minutes and about 1,243,345 silent prayers later, I pulled the pan out of the oven, half wondering if I was going to be THAT parent. You know, the parent who brings a store made food item to the holiday party, pulls off the label, puts it in the most beat-up pan possible, you know, for authenticity, and presents it as her/his own. Until your traitor of a kid blurts out, to the classroom packed with judgy parents that “these brownies taste just like the ones we had from that store!” And you know your cover, and newfound fandom has come to an end. Never done that? Me? Yeah, me neither. Hey, remember, no judgment here.
Fortunately for me, the night of the accidentally outrageous brownie turned me into the brownie queen at the same preschool that Little Man now attends. In fact, I was “volunteered”again this year by his teacher to bring these outrageous brownies for their school winter celebration. This time, it wasn’t by accident that I made them. Who doesn’t love decadent, perfectly underbaked, chocolatey brownies? With a tall, ice-cold glass of milk, please and thank you. Can we just appreciate that beautiful combination, please? Because those are some serious #relationshipgoals right there.
What does that teach us? You too can bake beautiful, from scratch brownies like a bawss. One of the best things I did was underbake the brownies. Not the gooey messy, uncooked brownies. Think fudgy and the tiniest bit gooey as you pull them out of the oven. In my oven, that translates to 25 minutes in a metal pan. I usually don’t bake cakes and brownies in a glass pan because I find they tend to dry out quickly in glass pans. If you do decide to do a glass pan, try lowering the heat by 25 degrees to keep the brownies moist.
You know why else this brownie recipe have become my go-to recipe? The brownies literally go from pantry to bowl to oven in 5 minutes. That’s less time than it would have taken me to put on my layers of all things winter weather attire, drive to the store, get the boxed mix, then come back. Exactly my kinda recipe. And if you factor in the oven time, 30 minutes to make decadent brownies? Yaesssss, sign me up please. P.S. have you tried this triple chocolate mocha trifle? It one of the best things to do to a brownie. Or if you just need to get started on the chocolate early, hit up this baked chocolate chunk panettone french toast for breakfast!
Let’s talk ingredients. Let me introduce you to coffee. Okay so maybe you guys are BFFs and can’t live without each other, much like my own relationship with coffee. Why coffee? Because coffee highlights the boldness of chocolate. Next time, try it. Try a sip of black coffee after you take a bite of chocolate. When I first learned about this combination years ago —> mind blown. As the brownies cool and settle, IF they last that long (!), the coffee flavor mellows out and becomes undetectable but the boldness of the chocolate remains. I usually have a couple of jars of instant coffee in my freezer. I used decaf because I didn’t want texts in the middle of the night from 20 very angry parents of 20 very energetic preschoolers at 3 AM. Remember, INSTANT coffee, not regular ground coffee– trust me, you don’t wanna make that mistake.
I love brownies with personality. Like you bite into it and you’ve got bold chocolate but then you take another bite and you hit little explosion packets of melty chocolate from that warm brownie. Always warm brownies, guys. Those little morsels of chocolate are chocolate chips. I personally prefer to do dark (or extra dark) chocolate chips, but you can sub them in with semisweet chocolate chips too. I wouldn’t go milk chocolate though because those tend to make the brownie too sweet. And those same chocolate chips double over as a frosting. Seriously guys, I’m all about the lazy baking. I would rather just add chocolate chips on top of the brownies as the 25 minute mark, pop them back into the oven for less than a minute, or until the chocolate chips start to melt. And melt quickly they will, in a warm oven. Use a spatula, spread all over, let cool completely and you’ve got brownies+frosting.
Funny story with this particular batch of brownies. As I moved back to shoot at a different angle, a little hand reached in to grab one of the brownies. Little Man made off with a brownie, I chased him around the house for 5 minutes, got my cardio in for the day, and then he promptly stuffed his face with the entire piece. All of this of course, was followed by a big round of tickles and giggles by the two of us.
Guys, I can’t wait for you to try these out, really. I’ve been so excited about posting this particular recipe because chocolate holds a very special place in my heart. Make them, eat them, and love them. Then make some more, snap some pics, and tell me all about them in the comments or on IG: @mannaandspice.
- 1 cup butter, melted (2 sticks)
- 2 cups sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1/4 cup instant coffee granules
- 4 eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips + 1 cup more chocolate chips, divided
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.
- Grease a metal 9X13 pan and set aside.
- Combine flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt, and coffee granules. Whisk together until combined well. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine melted butter and sugar and whisk together until sugar is completely mixed into the butter. Stir in vanilla. Whisk in eggs.
- Slowly stir in dry ingredients with a spatula, just until combined. Fold in 1 cup of chocolate chips.Pour batter into greased pan and bake uncovered for 25 minutes, or until brownies are slightly underbaked but mostly firm.** Remove pan from oven, scatter remaining chocolate chips evenly over the top of the brownies. Place back in oven for 30 seconds, until the chocolate starts to melt.
- Remove from oven. Using a spatula or a butter knife, spread chocolate into an even coat. Let cool completely, allowing the chocolate to firm up before cutting into squares.
- Store in airtight container.
*I use alcohol free vanilla extract.
**If the edges start to look dry, cover with aluminum foil. The top of the brownie will start to resemble an unfrosted cake when slightly underbaked.