Just kidding. I don’t really know if this is the secret or not. But if there is one thing I have learned in college, it’s that college students are astounded that brownies don’t have to be made from a mix…and that homemade brownies, from scratch, no mix, are a million times better than brownies from a mix. Why? Because they’re made with Baker’s chocolate, not cocoa. There has been a pin going viral on Pinterest that is a make-your-own brownie mix (“Wow! I’m never making brownies from a mix again!”), and while make-your-own mixes are wonderful because they cut out all those unpronounceable ingredients that make us think we can’t make our own in the first place, they still contain unsweetened cocoa instead of Baker’s chocolate.
I know I’m not the first person to discover this secret…and not just because I learned it from my mother. And I also don’t profess that my brownies are the best. That award goes to my mother and my roommate (she does something magical with Nutella, I don’t even…). However, the “easy” label that mixes get really is a farce, because even better, more rich and chocolatey brownies are just as easy to make. This is especially true if you have one of those new-fangled microwave things.
Lauren’s Best Brownies
I did not invent this recipe, but I am also unsure of its original source. My mother copied it over from her own recipe stockpile for me ages ago. If it has any specific source, it is likely the Joy of Cooking.
3/4 cup flour
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup butter
2 squares unsweetened Baker’s chocolate
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp vanilla
Optional: Chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, what have you. Really, the options for add-ins are endless. I even once swapped out the vanilla for peppermint extract.
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
2. Melt butter and chocolate together. You can do this using a double boiler OR on low heat in a saucepan OR in the microwave. Just be careful to stir often.
3. Mix in eggs, sugar, and vanilla.
4. Combine dry ingredients in a separate bowl and stir into wet mixture gradually, mixing until the lumps are gone.
5. Grease a 9″ square baking dish (or pie plate, or some other smallish baking dish) and pour in the batter. The batter should be fluid enough that you can simply tilt the dish to make sure it is fully distributed.
6. Bake for 25 minutes. Time may need adjusting depending on your cooking vessel.
7. Cut into slices and enjoy with milk and friends! But don’t eat the friends. Just talk to them.