09 October 2009

2 Easy Basic Brownie Recipes

From Denny: With all the fancy brownies these days, adorned with several layers of everything but the kitchen sink, sometimes it's good to get back to basics. In my mind, it's all about the chocolate! :)

Brownies are nothing but a simple basic blend of sugar, flour, eggs, chocolate and butter or oil. I've enjoyed every brownie I've ever tasted that was home made and not from a box or commercial - unless it came from a small business bakery and those are usually nothing short of divine!

There are so many textures of brownie to choose: dense and fudge-like because it is undercooked and intensifies the chocolate flavor and then there's the original simple cake-to-cookie-like version but softer. Then there's the argument about whether to include nuts. We like pecans in our house; I like roasted chopped almonds as to my taste it is the perfect combination with anything chocolate. My friends like their brownies with walnuts.

Another variation is to frost your brownie with conventional buttercream frosting like you would adorn a cake or powdered sugar. Cream cheese frosting is a huge hit and the only frosting I prefer when I'm not dusting those delectable brownies with powdered sugar. I just love the look of expresso brown against the bright white of the sugar, very appetizing - and you can even make designs if you like with the sugar.

Brownies really have evolved over the years into culinary monstrosities that are great fun: many have two and three layers, are stuffed full of more nuts than batter, unusual fruit combinations like mango and lychee, coffee, green tea or herbs like peppermint added. Historical Brownie Trivia: The old hippie culture used to make cake brownies with dried marijuana added. That must have been some wild experience!

These two recipes are back to basics, especially good for beginner cooks. Once you know the basic simple recipe it's easy to branch off from there to put your own mark on the recipe. One recipe is set up for a larger batch for those football parties this time of year. They go fast so you might want to make a second large batch to save for you and your family! I'm all for a secret stash of chocolate... :)

Mom’s Chocolate Fudge Brownies

From: “Extra! Extra! Read All About It!” by Corinne Cook @ 2theadvocate.com

Makes: 16 brownies


1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
3 tbls. cocoa
1 cup flour
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
Chocolate-Pecan Frosting (recipe follows)


1. Prepare pan by lining 8x8-inch baking pan with foil. I let the ends lap over the sides to be able to lift the brownies from the pan for cutting. Spray inside of pan with nonstick coating.

2. Melt butter. (I do this in the microwave.) Set aside.

3. In separate bowl, whisk sugar, cocoa and flour together. Whisk in the melted butter, eggs and vanilla. Stir until blended together. Add the nuts. Stir, then pour into prepared pan.

4. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for 25-30 minutes.

Chocolate-Pecan Frosting


1 (1-oz.) square unsweetened chocolate
1 tbl. butter or margarine
2 cups powdered sugar
2 tbls. whole milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (or some prefer walnuts)


1. In heavy saucepan, melt chocolate and butter together over low heat. Stir until smooth.

2. Remove from heat and quickly stir in powdered sugar, milk, vanilla and pecans until blended. Spread over top of warm brownies and allow to cool thoroughly before cutting.


Big-Batch Brownies

From: Corinne Cook

Makes: about 24-26 pieces


3/4 cup butter (1-1/2 sticks)
6 tbls. cocoa
2 cups sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1-1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans
Ice cream, optional OR dust with sifted powdered sugar


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare pan by lightly greasing and flouring a 9x13-inch pan, OR line pan with foil and spray with nonstick coating.

2. In large saucepan, melt butter and cocoa together over medium-low heat. When melted, stir in sugar, stir and remove from heat.

3. In separate mixing bowl combine beaten eggs, flour, vanilla, nuts and reserved chocolate/butter mixture. Stir until just well combined. Pour into prepared pan.

4. Bake in preheated 350-degree oven for about 23-25 minutes. When cooled, cut into 2-inch squares.

5. Serve with small scoop of ice cream or a sifting of powdered sugar.
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