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Tuesday’s Tidbits (& Sips): 16 June 2009

This week I have another recipe for you.  Brownies!!  I absolutely adore brownies but cannot stand when they are overcooked, dry and crumby.  Unfortunately, most of the homemade, from-scratch brownies that I have tried over the years have had these characteristics to some degree.  This is just not what brownies are supposed to be like in my mind.  Brownies are meant to be soft and chewy, even – dare I say – a bit gummy.

Because of this, I almost exclusively made brownies from the box.  Pretty much any brownie made from a boxed mix with only one egg and baked about 5 minutes less than the baking time indicated on the package turns out to be simply delicious.  Alas, I don’t always have brownie mix on hand.

So, over the past year, I have  made some batches of brownies from scratch and found a recipe that I actually enjoy.  I might even enjoy these more than the boxed variety…

Basic Brownies

Based on the Brownie key recipe from Betty Crocker’s Picture Cook Book.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 cup vegetable shortening
2 oz. chocolate, coarsely chopped*
2 large eggs
1 cup sugar

  1. Grease an 8″x8″ baking dish.**
  2. Sift together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
  3. In a heat-proof bowl, set over boiling water, melt together the shortening and chocolate, stirring often.  Remove bowl from heat once melted.
  4. Add eggs and sugar to the chocolate mixture and whisk until well combined.
  5. Add dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. Pour batter into prepared baking dish and spread it out evenly.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 23 to 33 minutes.  When the brownies are perfectly cooked, a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies should come out mostly clean and the top of the brownies should have a nicely formed flaky crust.
  8. Cool brownies in pan on a cooling rack for 15 minutes before serving.

I prefer eating the brownies when they are still warm but have had some time to set.  Andrew, on the other hand, enjoys these most the next day.  If you do have need or want to store the brownies, make sure to allow the brownies to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container; they will keep for a few days at most.

* I recommend using very dark (say 70% cacao solids or more) chocolate or unsweetened, bittersweet or semisweet baking chocolate for this recipe.  The higher the sugar content of the chocolate used, the sweeter and less chocolaty the resulting brownies will be.

** I use an aluminum pan that I line with aluminum foil, which I then grease.  This makes removal from the pan, cutting of the brownies and clean-up very easy.  Avoid dark , coated pans as they tend to burn the brownies.