Snow Day Brownies Recipe
I always assumed that making brownies from a mix was easier and yielded tastier results than any version made from scratch. My bias was two-fold, methinks: for one, when I was growing up, my mom would buy GIGANTIC boxes of Ghirardelli brownie mix from Costco and, though she wasn't a huge baker, she'd whip these up willy-nilly-- needless to say, my affection for her undercooked, eat-with-a-spoon brownies was immeasurable. Second, because my mom's brownies were so deliciously fudgy, I equated any dry, cakey brownies with moms who hadn't yet been enlightened to the wholesale brownie mix opportunities they were passing up. Those brownies were probably a product of some lesser box mix, or even the product of someone trying to get too fancy, making something "from scratch" when they really didn't need to, I figured. My awakening came a few weeks ago. I was let out of work an hour and a half early because a snowstorm was wreaking havoc on New York City (not unlike today) and the MTA was making empty threats, which I'm all about. The head of HR popped by my desk and insisted I get home before things got worse, and so I did.
Having this sort of unexpected time on my hands makes me do curious, creative things sometimes, but mostly it just produces an intense craving for chocolate. In past years, say, when I was in college and a class was cancelled last minute, this meant a trip to Duane Reade with my best friends where we'd buy some Entenmann's donuts or one of those microwaveable bowls of cake and then veg on the couch while watching some movie - I particularly remember the Vincent Price version of House of Wax, one time. But on this particular night, I was home early and all alone, plus there was a blizzard outside, so I had to work with what I had on hand.
Those were the circumstances that led me to discover that making delicious, gooey brownies from scratch was as easy as making a grilled cheese. Not only in that it's an easy comfort food to whip up, but also in the way that, when you make grilled cheese, it kind of happens because you're like, "hm, I want dinner, but I definitely don't want to leave the house or spend money, so... whadda we got here?" Like, imagine how easy it is making brownies from a mix, but now eliminate going to the store and buying the mix. That's what this is like. Lifechanging.
There are a few "tricks" I want to make clear. My mom taught me, and with good reason, that you NEVER over-mix brownie batter. Mix JUST enough to get things incorporated and then WALK. AWAY. Also, always add more chocolate chips than is called for. You won't regret it!
Now, as Lao Tzu once said, "The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step." May you forge ahead in this life, enlightened by this kickass brownie recipe, never again to find yourself dessert-less. Amen and godspeed and live long and prosper, etc.
I found this recipe for cocoa brownies on BonAppetit.com, and modified it very slightly!
Fudgy Snow Day Brownies Recipe
Parchment paper 1 stick unsalted butter 1 1/4 cups sugar 3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder Pinch salt 1 tsp vanilla extract 2 eggs 1 Tbsp milk 1 Tbsp powdered milk (optional) 1/3 cup all-purpose flower 1/2 - 3/4 cup chocolate chips or chocolate morsels (do your thing) I also added in some cornflake crunch, nuts would work, etc!
1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper. You can use a larger one, but the shallower your brownies, the less fudgy they'll be!
2. Melt butter in a small saucepan and let cool slightly. In a bowl, whisk together sugar, cocoa and salt to combine. Then, pour in the butter slowly, but in a steady stream as you whisk constantly with the other hand. You may want a partner for this part! Whisk in vanilla, milk and eggs, one at a time, whisking all along. (Earlier I mentioned that you shouldn't over-mix brownies. That tip comes into play when you add the flour. For all of these earlier ingredients, whisk vigorously to get each addition very well-incorporated!)
3. Add in flour, powdered milk and chocolate chips and stir with a wooden spoon until just combined. Now, pour your batter into your baking dish, scraping the extra bits out with a rubber spatula - or not, if eating the bowl-clinging batter is your favorite part!
4. Pop into the oven for 45 minutes, or until top begins cracking, and an inserted toothpick comes out almost clean. (Again, I have a soft spot for slightly undercooked brownies! You may need to adjust cooking time too, depending on your oven's habits and size. Wait til your house is filled with the aroma of brownies and then check on them - look for the cracked top and then do the toothpick trick! I find keeping an eye on them in this way is the only real way to keep them from overcooking!)
5. Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the pan, and then lift out the brownies using the overhang of the parchment paper and allow it to cool for another few minutes. Serve warm, or cut into portions and store in an air-tight Tupperware for up to one week. Do not refrigerate.