My Favorite Brownies

My Favorite Brownies-1

Ta-DAAAA!!! Here it is, my favorite brownie. The winner of the Great Brownie Comparison. This is HUGE! I never thought I’d find a homemade brownie recipe that excites me! If you’re just tuning in, over the last week, I’ve tried 2 other brownie recipes, one from another blogger and one from King Arthur Flour. While they were both really, really good, I couldn’t say they were THE brownies. The only recipe I’d ever need. The Big Enchilada.

My Favorite Brownies-2

Well here it is. The perfect brownie, suited to my personal brownie needs. Apparently, I have a lot of them. I NEED them to be fudgy. But not too fudgy. Maybe just a *touch* on the cakey side? But not really CAKEY, cakey. You know? And I really, really like them chewy. Chewy and fudgy. Can the two coexist? Yes they can, my friends, and here they do, in THIS brownie.

When I first started looking at recipes to compare, this one kept coming up, which was odd, because just looking at the ingredients/method, it was the LEAST exciting. I thought “there’s no way this brownie is going to be anywhere near the others”. For some reason, I decided to give it a try. It happened to be the ugliest brownie out of all 3 recipes, and was the most difficult to cut and photograph. They ugly. Let’s face it.

But one bite and Joel and I both decided this was our favorite. I guess I prefer them because they’re not too sweet. I know that sounds weird, but I don’t like a brownie that makes my teeth hurt. Nor was it too fudgy. It’s made with oil instead of butter, which adds to the moistness, as well as keeps it from being too rich. The method is totally straight-forward and lightening quick. There’s really no need to reach for a boxed mix anymore. This recipe comes together in minutes. It’s a real winner in my book and I’m so happy I decided to tackle this challenge!


My Favorite Brownies-3

My Favorite Brownies

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9-inch baking pan.

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt and gradually stir into the egg mixture until well combined.

Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of the pan and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (not raw batter). Let cool before cutting into squares. Serves 9.

Recipe source: ‘Mmm-Mmm Better Brownies’, from


Fudgy Brownies, Take 2

Fudgy Brownies, Take 2-3

Ready for more brownies?! Hooray, 3 cheers for brownies! I have to say, I’m really sort of enjoying trying and comparing all these brownie recipes. If you’re just joining us, I’ve already shared one brownie recipe this week and I’m still going! I just think brownies are so personal, you know? One person’s “OMGTHISISTHEBESTEVER” may be another person’s “meh.”, which is what I’ve run into several times. I’ve tried several recipes over the years that have made me think, “really? So-and-so claims this is the best brownie ever??” This time around, I’ve chosen King Arthur Flour’s well-known recipe.

Fudgy Brownies, Take 2-1

Probably nobody will remember this, but I have actually made this brownie recipe before, and claimed it to be the “best ever”. However, the reason I felt like I needed to not only revisit it, but also compare it to a few more different recipes is because I added a bunch of minty crap to it (jeez. Rookie). Yeah. I added mint extract and mint chips. Don’t get me wrong, I love mint/chocolate, but my older, wiser, 30 year old self now knows you don’t mess with a good brownie. No nuts. No minty crap. Just brownie. If I could go back in time, I’d flick myself for that one. Probably I’d also go ahead and tell myself to steer clear of dairy…a couple of reeeeally ugly situations could’ve been avoided that way.

Fudgy Brownies, Take 2-2

But seriously, though, just look at that perfectly paper-thin crust on top. What a beauty. The reason for that is because the butter and sugar are cooked first, allowing the sugar to mostly dissolve. That’s what gives you the lovely, thin crust. Paper-thin crust is very important to me.

Fudgy Brownies, Take 2-4

And even though the above picture is horrible, I wanted to include it to show you just HOW fudgy and rich these are on the inside. I hope you like rich brownies, because these are intensely dark and rich. And very sweet. I love the addition of espresso powder. There are 2 kinds of chocolate here- cocoa powder and semi-sweet chocolate chips. I personally love a brownie made with cocoa powder over one made with only melted chocolate, because it gives you that bitter bite that (in my opinion) adds more depth of chocolatey-ness. After one bite, I remembered immediately why ‘2009 Amy’ claimed them to be the very best. But there’s still one more recipe to try, isn’t there? ;)

King Arthur Flour Fudge Brownies

4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan (you can use a 9×9, just be sure to bake them longer).

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth.

In a small saucepan set over medium-low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Continue to heat briefly, just until the mixture is hot, but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture to this point will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Add the hot butter mixture to the egg/cocoa mixture, stirring until smooth.

Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth. Note: If you want the chips to remain intact in the baked brownies, rather than melting in, let the batter cool in the bowl for about 20 minutes before stirring in the chips.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake the brownies for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with only a few moist crumbs (you don’t want to see any raw batter). Note: if you’re baking in a 9×9 pan, you’ll need to bake them for closer to 40-45 minutes. Keep a close eye on them, though, being careful not to overbake. Serves 8.

Recipe source: King Arthur Flour


Fudgy Homemade Brownies

Fudgy Homemade Brownies-1

Let’s talk brownies for a sec. Homemade brownies. After all these years, I have to admit, I am STILL a from-the-box girl when it comes to brownies. I don’t know how they do it, but the boxed kind just seem to have the perfect balance of sweetness and texture. A balance that I can’t seem to achieve with homemade.

There are just so many different preferences when it comes to brownies. Cakey vs. fudgy, thick vs. thin, papery thin top crust vs. thick, etc. My perfect brownie is fudgy but not too fudgy; there has to be at least a little cakey-ness in there, and not too sweet. That seems to be the problem with most homemade recipes- too sweet.

Fudgy Homemade Brownies-2

As you can probably tell by the pictures, these brownies are definitely fudgy. However, there is a slight cakey-ness to them, which I think is good. It’s a great balance, really. BUT, I’d still categorize these as FUDGY brownies. At first taste, I thought them too sweet, but after letting them cool completely, I decided they were great. Really great.

I’m thinking about trying a couple more homemade brownie recipes and comparing them; you know, just for fun. Stuff like that is fun to me. Any suggestions as to which recipe to try next? I think I’ll definitely revisit an old favorite- the King Arthur Flour recipe, which I remember as being pretty awesome. We’ll see. In the meantime, these are delicious.

Fudgy Homemade Brownies-3

Fudgy Homemade Brownies

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 sticks (6 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat the oven to 350. Line an 9×9-inch baking pan with foil and grease foil.

In a large microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate chips, butter, and unsweetened chocolate. Heat in the microwave for 1 minute, then stir. Continue heating in 30-second intervals, stirring each time, until the mixture is melted and smooth but not scorched. Remove from the microwave and let cool slightly.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed until light and thick, about 3 minutes. Beat in the vanilla extract. Stir in the cooled chocolate mixture with a spatula. Add the flour and salt, folding gently until combined.

Pour the batter into the prepared baking pan. Bake until a toothpick comes out with moist crumbs still attached, 35 to 40 minutes. Do not overbake. Let cool to room temperature. Serve at room temperature or chilled. Serves 9.

Recipe source: Handle The Heat (I increased the salt, but everything else is exactly her recipe. She does a fantastic job breaking down the ingredients and explaining the use for each one. Great post.)


Lemon Brownies…

Lemon Brownies

Well, it’s officially Spring. FINALLY. I’ve had it with this cold weather! However, with the weather getting warmer, that means the time for our little peanut’s arrival is getting closer and closer- yikes. I haven’t done one single thing to get his nursery ready. Oops. Well, I did buy a rug. So there’s that. The good news is I’ve already found most of the wall decorations and stuff on Etsy, and I *think* I’ve found the bedding, so I guess that means I’m getting somewhere.

Now, these “brownies”. I’ve been seriously craving lemon for a while now. However, I recently FAILED (ugh) my one-hour glucose test (the preliminary test that helps determine whether or not a pregnant mom has gestational diabetes), which means I had to go back and take the dreaded 3-hour test. I had to go in first thing in the morning and have my blood drawn, then drink another lovely bottle of the sugary, disgusting “fruit punch”. THEN I had to sit around doing nothing for 3 more hours and have my blood drawn 3 more times. What fun. I left feeling jittery and starving, and my arms looked like a heroin addict’s.

So in the time I had to wait for my results, I really felt like I shouldn’t be eating much sugar- just in case. Which meant no lemony desserts…which is what I really wanted. Really, really, really. So when I got the call saying I PASSED with flying colors (hallelujah!), the first thing I did (besides my happy dance) was bake these lemon brownies. Then I ate most of them. Right then. They were oh-SO good. Dense, but not too thick, chewy, and perfectly, wonderfully tart. The glaze is what takes them over the top- don’t skip the glaze. Just don’t.

Lemon Brownies 2

Lemon Brownies

3/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 tablespoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
juice and zest of 1 lemon

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Mix in the softened butter.
In another bowl whisk the eggs with the vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Add to the larger bowl and mix well. Pour into a greased 8X8 pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 23-25 minutes.

Remove and let cool, then glaze.

1/2 cup powdered sugar
Juice and zest of 1 lemon

Whisk together.

Recipe source: adapted from Rita’s Recipes


Oreo Funfetti Brownies…

Get ready for a good time! These Oreo Funfetti Brownies are thick, fudgy, and bursting with crunchy Oreo goodness! Don’t forget the sprinkles…they’re the best part!

Oreo Funfetti Brownies

I love a good brownie. I’ll take them pretty much any way I can get them. Stuffed, topped, plain (maybe even a little undercooked and gooey…mmm)…just as long as there are no nuts involved, I’ll eat just about any brownie you put in front of me.

So clearly, I already had a bit of a brownie addiction. But take a fudgy, chewy brownie and top it with Oreo chunks and rainbow sprinkles?? I was doomed after one bite. To my shame, I ate waaaaaaay too many of these. An embarrassing amount. Like, multiple brownies in a DAY. Oh, Amy….

Oreo Funfetti Brownies 4

Do you see what I’m saying?? Just look at that! Oreos and brownies were MADE for each other!

Oreo Funfetti Brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups All-Purpose flour
2 cups chocolate chips

8-10 Oreos (Double Stuf is where it’s at), chopped
rainbow sprinkles (about 1/4 cup)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9″ x 13″ pan.

In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot, but not bubbling; mixture will become shiny.**

Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, beat the 4 eggs with the cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until combined.

Slowly add in the flour, again stirring until smooth. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Top with chopped Oreos and sprinkles. Bake for about 30 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cool for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Serves 12.

Recipe source: brownies adapted from King Arthur Flour; the Oreo Funfetti version was my own idea

**Heating this mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

Feel free to just use a box brownie mix for these if you’re short on time!

Oreo Funfetti Brownies 2


Oreo-Stuffed Brownies…

Are you sick of all my Oreo recipes yet? No? Good, me either!! ;) I’m telling you, there isn’t a dessert out there that couldn’t be improved with Oreos! Now, when it comes to brownies, I’d like to think of myself as a purist. I don’t want nuts or any other add-ins (usually); I just prefer a warm brownie with a cold glass of milk (soy, of course…bleh). But I had an unopened package of Oreos staring at me and a serious craving for brownies, so I decided to just throw some in! These were GOOD! The Oreos get a little soft during the baking process so they’re nice and chewy inside the gooey brownies. I used my favorite brownie recipe and couldn’t have been more pleased with how they turned out! A new favorite!

Oreo-Stuffed Brownies

1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
2 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 1/4 cups cocoa powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon espresso powder, optional
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup chocolate chips
1 package Oreos (Double Stuff is best!)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
In a medium-sized microwave-safe bowl, or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add the sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly, just until it’s hot, but not bubbling; it’ll become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the mixture a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies.

While the sugar heats a second time, beat the eggs, cocoa, salt, baking powder, espresso powder, and vanilla until smooth. Add the hot butter/sugar mixture, stirring until smooth.
Add the flour and chips, again stirring until smooth.

Spoon half of the batter into the greased pan. Place the Oreos in even rows across the batter (as many as you can fit). Pour the remaining batter over the Oreos and gently spread to the edges of the pan. Bake for about 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool the brownies for at least 10 minutes before serving.

Recipe source: brownie recipe from King Arthur Flour; the “Oreo-Stuffed” part is my idea (though I’m sure it’s not exactly a new concept)


Quick and Easy Peppermint Brownies…

You may remember a different batch of minty brownies I did a while back, but I decided just one recipe wasn’t enough! With Christmas being JUST around the corner, I’ve sure been seeing a good amount of peppermint brownie recipes floating around the blogosphere. Since I just can’t resist the chocolate/peppermint combination, I decided I needed to make a batch. However, I was in a hurry and cheated by starting with a box mix (judge all you want to but personally, I think the boxed kind are some of the best; especially when you’re in a hurry!), then added my beloved candy cane flour to the mix and sprinkled crushed peppermint over the top. Delicious. Christmasy. Just what we needed that night! And quick, to boot!

Peppermint Brownies

1 box brownie mix (or your favorite brownie recipe), prepared according to the box, but not yet baked
**1/3 cup candy cane flour
1/2 cup crushed peppermint, for topping

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9 pan. Stir in the candy cane flour. Pour into greased pan and sprinkle with the 1/2 cup crushed peppermint. Bake for 35-40 minutes, until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Sprinkle with more crushed peppermint, if desired. Allow to cool for at least 20 minutes before cutting and serving.

**Basically, when you crush your peppermint, sift out the fine powder (or ‘candy cane flour’, as I call it), and you’ll be left with enough to mix into the batter.


Gooey Salted Caramel Brownies…

Are you ready for sheer deliciousness? A miracle in brownie form? How about a nice gooey, warm, chewy brownie with a layer of melty, slightly salty, sweet caramel? Sound good? What if I told you it was one the easiest things you could possibly make? Awesome, right?! Well it really is! This weekend we had some opera friends of mine, Christian and John over for lunch; I knew I wanted to make something easy, yet delicious, and Christian told me I had great legs, so I made him these brownies. Compliments get you really far in my house. ;-)

When I say these are easy, I’m not kidding around- basically, if you have a brownie mix and a jar of caramel, you’re all set. I almost feel like I’m cheating posting this recipe- but since these were so delicious I just had to share them with you! The recipe comes from Susan of She’s Becoming Doughmesstic; she makes her own homemade caramel, which I’m sure is just delicious, but since I was pressed for time, I opted for the jarred stuff (which is great!). Believe me when I tell you these are insanely delicious! Melt-in-your-mouth delicious! Especially with a scoop of vanilla ice cream on top! Give them a try this week!

Salted Caramel Brownies
-She’s Becoming DoughMessTic

Make the Caramel: (*Or just cheat like I did and use the jarred kind- Hershey’s works great!)
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1/4 cup sour cream

In a small saucepan, combine the cream and the salt.  Simmer over very low heat until the salt is dissolved. set aside.

In a medium saucepan combine the sugar and corn syrup carefully. They will not combine well until the sugar begins to melt. Cook over high heat until an instant-read thermometer reads 350 degrees, 6 to 8 minutes.  Without a thermometer, just pull the sugar off the heat when it is a medium goldish brown – it will continue to cook in the heat of the pan. Better to pull it too early than too late. Remove from the heat and let cool for one minute.

Add the cream mixture and the vanilla to the sugar mixture.  Whisk in the sour cream.  Let the caramel cool to room temp, then follow the brownie instructions. Transfer to an airtight container and refrigerate any leftover caramel. It makes a great ice cream topping or tastes great straight out of the jar.

Now prepare the brownies.

For the brownies:
1 box Fudgy Brownie Mix
2 Large Eggs
1/2 cup Butter, Melted
2 Tablespoons Water

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Combine the box mix with eggs, melted butter, and water.
In a greased 8×8 pan, pour a little over half of the brownie batter and bake for 18 minutes. Remove from the oven and pour in the caramel. If you’re using jarred caramel, be sure to sprinkle with salt- about a teaspoon. On top of the caramel, add the rest of your brownie batter. If it doesn’t pour smoothly, just plop it in and swirl it around a little bit. Return to the oven and bake for another 18-22 minutes. Brownies will still appear a little shaky, due to the caramel, but they will firm up once cooled. Do not overbake.


Ooey Gooey S’Mores Stuffed Brownies…

Guess what?! Today is my birthday! 26 years old…hard to believe! It seems like only a year or so ago I was just getting my driver’s license (and promptly crashing into another car…)! I think I’m going to miss 25; don’t get me wrong, there are a few episodes I’m gladly leaving behind (and good riddance!), but for the most part, 25 was a great year. However, I’ve already made up my mind that 26 is going to be the best year YET! I’ve got a phenomenal husband, the world’s happiest, sweetest doggy, a wonderful home, and a loving family- what more do you need in life (well, besides cookies and Mozart)?!

So in honor of my birthday, I’m posting these brownies- they’re fun, completely over-the-top and possibly just a little too much; just like me! :-) My good friend Andrea and her sweet dog, Mia came over yesterday for a day by the pool and I decided that was the perfect time to give these brownies the test-run. The verdict? Absolute heaven! I mean, how you possibly go wrong with these- brownie batter, graham crackers, whole Hershey bars and marshmallows topped with more brownie batter?!! GENIUS! You’re going to love these!

S’Mores Stuffed Brownies
-Picky Palate

1 box brownie mix (and whatever other ingredients you need to make the brownies according to the box)
graham crackers
Hershey bars (around 5 or so)
mini marshmallows (about 1 1/2 cups)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Make brownie batter according to box instructions. In a greased 9×9 pan, layer half of the brownie batter, top with whole graham crackers (a single layer), then Hershey bars, then marshmallows; top with remaining brownie batter and spread evenly over the marshmallows. Bake for 40-55 minutes, or until the brownies start to pull away from the edges a bit. Inserting a toothpick won’t be much help, due to the melted Hershey bars. Let cool for at least 30 minutes before serving.


Brownie Pudding (AKA: My New Husband)…

You know how when you say something like, “I love this pencil sooo much!”, and then the other kids at the lunch table say, “then why don’t you marry it?!”? Well, I’ve decided to marry this brownie pudding. That’s right. It’s the newest love of my life. Forget hubby (sorry, honey). From now on, I shall make this brownie pudding my one and only. What, you think that’s crazy??? Well, have you tried this brownie pudding?? Have you experienced the delicious, gooey, chocolaty, HEAVEN that is brownie pudding??? Because, until you’ve tried it, you can’t understand how magical it is. For years, I’ve said that “brownie goo” is my favorite food; you know, the warm, undercooked center of the brownies? (Seriously one of life’s greatest pleasures). Well, Ina Garten gives us something better – a whole DISH of brownie goo!!! I’ve had this recipe flagged for a long time – now I’ve finally experienced it. Simply said, this dessert will knock your socks off. I think I may have slightly undercooked mine (you can tell I was soooo upset over that…) – it says to cook it for exactly one hour, which I did, yet it was still slightly under-baked. Gee, too bad, huh? ;-)

Brownie Pudding
-Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa)

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, plus extra for buttering the dish
4 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup good cocoa powder
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
Seeds scraped from 1 vanilla bean
1 tablespoon framboise liqueur, optional
Vanilla ice cream, for serving

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Lightly butter a 2-quart (9 by 12 by 2-inch) oval baking dish. Melt the 1/2 pound of butter and set aside to cool.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the eggs and sugar on medium-high speed for 5 to 10 minutes, until very thick and light yellow. Meanwhile, sift the cocoa powder and flour together and set aside.

When the egg and sugar mixture is ready, reduce the speed to low and add the vanilla seeds, framboise, if using, and the cocoa powder and flour mixture. Mix only until combined. With mixer still on low, slowly pour in the cooled butter and mix again just until combined.

Pour the brownie mixture into the prepared dish and place it in a larger baking pan. Add enough of the hottest tap water to the pan to come halfway up the side of the dish and bake for exactly 1 hour. A cake tester inserted 2 inches from the side will come out 3/4 clean. The center will appear very under-baked; this dessert is between a brownie and a pudding.

Allow to cool and serve with vanilla ice cream. *Obviously, I did not allow mine to cool…that’s brownie blasphemy.