CHEW THIS! Better Than Boxed Brownies

The following “Chew This!” column originally appeared in “The Courier-Times” and / or “The Shelbyville News”. Check their websites for further information and dates.

Better Than Boxed Brownies

Blaise Doubman

Growing up, I loved brownies. Still do! I am not sure if there is a way to serve me brownies that I would not eat. I love all different varieties of them too. Blondies, brownies, bars, chews, whatever you may call them, they have always been a weakness to me. My cousins and I have fond memories of making and eating brownies with my Grandma Barbra. Brownies were her specialty for years and years. No matter the occasion, brownies were always requested from her. She had a secret to them that she never really shared with anyone but I did figure it out. She would use boxed brownie mix and canned frosting and then add a little extra to each product to enhance the flavors. She would add a little instant coffee powder to the brownies to make the chocolate taste even more like chocolate and she would add pure vanilla extract to the canned frosting to enhance that flavor a little too. She was always adding things to enhance store packaged products and would often call herself the “Semi-Homemade Queen” before Sandra Lee from Food Network took that title. That is one of the things I love so much about recipes. Most recipes are just guidelines, not hard rules, on how to make something. Especially in cooking. Whereas, baking is a science, you can still add flavorings and adjust to your taste buds.

Over time, I got to wondering how different an actual homemade brownie and store bought, or boxed mix brownie, really was. Sure there are different types of brownies as far as consistency, texture, flavor and appearance but they basically all narrow down to either a cakey brownie or a fudgy brownie. I prefer a fudgy brownie. When I started out developing this recipe that was my intentions, along with the fact that I wanted to develop a homemade recipe that would be just as easy to make as a boxed mix. I think I really accomplished that here. These are super simple to whip up and so much better than boxed brownies. Delicious!

Better Than Boxed Brownies

Leftovers can be kept, covered, at room temperature for 3 days, or chilled for 4.

For the brownies…

10 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1 cup white granulated sugar

2 large eggs

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup white all-purpose flour

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

For the frosting…

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons whole milk

Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees F.

Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with non-stick cooking spray containing flour.

In a large bowl whisk together the melted unsalted butter with the sugar until light and creamy.

Whisk in the large eggs and pure vanilla extract.

Whisk in the melted chocolate, unsweetened cocoa powder and salt.

Fold in the white all-purpose flour.

Fold in the semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Pour batter into the prepared pan and smooth out the top.

Bake, in preheated oven, for 30 minutes.

Remove and let cool before frosting.

To make the frosting combine the melted unsalted butter with the unsweetened cocoa powder.

Beat in the pure vanilla extract and salt.

Beat in the powdered sugar with a splash of milk.

The consistency should be smooth and spreadable.

If too thick, add a little more milk. If too thin, add a little more powdered sugar.

Ask and Answer: Have a favorite light dish you would like to share with me for the upcoming summer months? I am working on a couple of columns that would center around lighter dishes that would be perfect for hotter weather. If so, please email me on my website.

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