Amazing Brownies

I’m sure that I’ve mentioned my Mom’s cooking habits on this blog before.  (Sorry, Mom, but I have to go here.  It’s the only way they’ll understand me.)  So, let me paint a picture of my Mom for you.  First of all, she’s tiny.  She’s stubborn.  She is not afraid of anyone, she and my Dad raised five (awesome) kids while working full time, and this woman does what she wants.  Period.

She also ends a lot of her sentences with “period.”

She also happens to be a lifetime journalist, writer and editor and nothing drives her crazy like grammatical errors and incorrect punctuation.  I’m glad that it’s impossible for her to take a red pen to my blog posts, because I know it wouldn’t be pretty.

My point in all this is that because she’s so headstrong (stubborn), I can guarantee you that the number of times she’s actually followed a recipe in her kitchen is exactly zero.  She can’t, and I mean she CAN’T, follow a recipe without adding to it, altering it, or doctoring it.

She knows it.

This is why growing up I don’t think I had ever had a brownie that wasn’t completely gooey in the center.  She would bake them for twice as long as they should take and they still wouldn’t firm up.

Now, ask me how many of those pans of brownies went uneaten?  Exactly zero.  They were fabulous.  Kind of like brownie batter.  Yes, sometimes you had to eat them with a spoon, but that never stopped us.  (Mom, I won’t mention all of the times you made brownie batter just so you could EAT the brownie batter…)

The thing is, even though it drives me (a type-a, VIRGO, borderline OCD control freak) absolutely crazy to watch my Mom cook without a recipe, I can’t ever replicate her recipes in the kitchen.  Her meatloaf always tastes better than mine, her macaroni & cheese blows mine out of the water, and somedays I would kill for one of her white cakes with buttercream frosting.
And while her gooey-centered brownies will always have a special place in my heart, I have been playing with brownie recipes for a long time in search of a better version.
I’m not sure if these are better, but they are at least AS good.  They tie.  These are my all-time favorite brownies that are as good as my Mom makes.

They’re cakey, fudgy, chewy and have a perfectly crisp “shell” on the top.  They don’t need frosting.  All they require is a big glass of cold milk.  Or, ice-cream.  Your choice.

Don’t be like me and eat them for dinner.

You also have a decision to make before you whip these up.  Ask yourself what kind of chocolate you like – do you want a dark, bitter brownie or a light, sweet brownie?  I’ve made them both ways this week, and I’ve found that I like the milk chocolate version best.  The bittersweet version was way too much for me.  I haven’t tried semi-sweet yet, but that’s next.  Whatever your preference, just make the substitution and no other changes are necessary.  Oh, and PS – these are a one-bowl recipe.  They’re amazing.

Enjoy!  (And see that comment button below?  USE IT!  Nothing makes me happier than comments from my readers!  And find me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+!)

Amazing Brownies
Yield:  12-24 brownies, depending on size
Prep Time:  20 minutes ♦ Bake Time:  40 minutes ♦ Total Time:  1 hour, plus cooling time (3hrs)

Ingredients:
1 and 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
8 ounces bittersweet chocolate -OR- milk chocolate -OR- semi-sweet chocolate
1 and 1/4 cups unsalted butter (20 Tablespoons/2 and 1/2 sticks)
2 and 1/2 cups sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
6 large eggs
Optional:  nuts – add 1 and 1/2 cups of your your favorite chopped nut

Preheat oven to 325 degrees (F).  Put oven rack in lower-middle position.  Prepare a 9×13 pan by lining it with parchment paper, leaving two flaps of paper hanging over the side of the pan.  You’ll use these flaps to remove the brownies from the pan when they’re done.  Spray the parchment paper with cooking spray and set aside.

In a large, heat-safe bowl (this will be your mixing bowl), combine the butter and chocolate.  Place the bowl in the microwave until the butter is melted.  Remove from microwave and whisk the mixture until the chocolate is completely melted and smooth.  *DO NOT overheat this mixture in the microwave, it will ruin your chocolate.  Just heat it enough to melt the butter – the heat of the melted butter will slowly melt the chocolate.  If preferred, you can use a double-boiler on the stove top to melt the mixture instead.  I prefer the microwave because it’s quicker.*

Once the chocolate is smooth, whisk in the sugar and vanilla.  Mix until combined.  Add the eggs one at a time, incorporating each one completely before adding the next.  Continue to whisk the mixture until it’s smooth and takes on a glossy appearance.

Add the dry ingredients to the chocolate mixture.  Use a large wooden spoon to stir until just incorporated.  You don’t want to over mix at this stage.  Gently stir in nuts, if using.

Bake brownies for 35-45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out of the center with “wet crumbs.”  Don’t over bake.  I’ve never had these take more than 40 minutes.

Allow brownies to cool on a wire rack until cool.  Run a knife around the edge of the brownies, then use your parchment flaps to remove them all from the pan.  Cool completely, for at least 3 hours.  Cut with a pizza cutter or a large knife and serve immediately.  Do not cut unused portion, they will last longer and not dry out so quickly.

Store in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
Enjoy!

Source:  Adapted from My Baking Addiction via “The Perfect Recipe:  Getting it Right Every Time” by Pam Anderson

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  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/00876951926881570045 Sheri Jones

    I can totally relate to your Mom. I never met a recipe I didn’t change! I am making these (with changes, of course) today!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339016761160424069 Erin @ Lemon Sugar

    @Sheri Jones Aaaaahhhhh!!! Not you, too?!?!? Hope you like them, Sheri – changes and all!!

  • http://www.thespiffycookie.com Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie

    I would totally eat these for dinner.

  • JR

    I like the bittersweet ones the best, and I’m not alone in that preference. ;)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339016761160424069 Erin @ Lemon Sugar

    @JR Husbands don’t get to vote. =)

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/10203436613487467952 Elizabeth King

    Hmmm…which chocolate to choose?…All! lol Yeah I’m going to try this recipe out. They look so yummy too!

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/01680999655352413467 Leslie Stach

    Those were the best brownies ever!! I ate some after volleyball and some in the morning!! Fantastic, thanks:) -Leslie

  • Anonymous

    those look real good
    text for free at
    http://textme4free.com/

  • http://midwesternbelle.com/ midwesternbelle.com

    These. Look. Amazing! :)

  • Nikki

    Getting them ready for a gametime snack tonite. Thanks, Erin!! Rock Chalk!!!!!

  • Anonymous

    I made these this morning – they were delicious!

    One problem with the ingredients however, 1 and 1/2 cups of butter would be 3 sticks (each stick is 1/2 cup) but the list above says it is only 2 and 1/2 sticks. Which is correct?

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11339016761160424069 Erin @ Lemon Sugar

    @Anonymous You are right, it should be 1 and 1/4 cups of butter, or 2 and 1/2 sticks or 20 Tablespoons. Thanks for catching that, I’ve adjusted the recipe above.

  • http://www.cafeterrablog.com Terra

    I am so happy you stopped by my FB page, it is wonderful to meet more lovely food bloggers:-) Your recipe does look AMAZING!!! I am always looking for lovely homemade brownie recipes:-) Hugs, Terra

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