Tuesday, February 14, 2012

In which I pretend I am Pioneer Woman

Truth: Box-mix brownies are always better, right?

Right?

Right?

Wrong.

I thought box mixes were best. I even had my favourite kind: the Ghiradelli kind. Then I was converted.

A week ago, I met my sister for tea. As I left, she offered me a brownie that she'd made from a recipe; she assured me the recipe was as good as - better than! - Ghiradelli. My policy is never to refuse free chocolate, so I took it. Even while I was clinging to the plastic baggie, though, I voiced doubts that a brownie from a recipe could measure up to a box mix brownie.

I ate it. A few days later, I looked up the recipe and shared it with someone else. Then I brought brownies to work today for the Writing Center tutors.

And now, I share the recipe with you. The original title is "Classic Fudge-Walnut Brownies," but that's boring, so I have renamed them: "Better than Ghiradelli Brownies":


Ingredients:
  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • dash salt
  • 1 cup bittersweet chocolate chunks, divided
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 6 TBSP butter, melted
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, divided (optional)
You can, of course, leave out the walnuts if you so choose. Looking back over the recipe, I think I may have even left out the (gasp!) baking powder. Baking is a remarkably flexible task.



Steps:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit.
  2. Lightly spoon flour into measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine 1/2 cup chocolate and milk in a microwave-safe bowl; microwave at HIGH 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Stir in butter, vanilla, and eggs. Add milk mixture, 1/2 cup chocolate and 1/4 cup nuts to flour mixture; stir to combine.
  3. Pour the batter into a 9-inch square metal baking pan coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with remaining nuts. Bake at 350 for 22 minutes (mine were in the oven for 17 minutes) or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs clinging. Cool in pan on a wire rack. 

Tips:
  • Don't leave out the baking powder. Or do. Leaving out the baking powder worked okay for me.
  • Cut the brownies into small pieces; they're very rich, so a little bit will give you a quick chocolate fix.
  • Don't overbake. I overbaked the last batch of brownies I made; instead of fudgy brownies, I got crumbly, sandy brownies. It's much better to under rather than overbake. 

Happy baking!



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