Next to chocolate chip cookies, brownies may be America’s favorite chocolate treat. You can buy good brownie mixes in any supermarket and there are gourmet versions that are even tastier. For that reason, if you’re going to make a home-made brownie, the recipe needs to be fast and the result needs to be yummy. This recipe meets both requirements.
This recipe comes together as fast as a box mix (which usually requires adding oil or eggs or water or all three) and the brownies that come out of your oven are so sublimely delicious that they will lead to instant chocolate bliss.
In fact, these brownies are the bar cookie equivalent of a “death by chocolate” cake. It uses unsweetened baking chocolate (sometimes called “bitter” chocolate). Do not substitute semi-sweet or sweet “German” chocolate in the recipe.
Baking chocolate is the simplest form of processed chocolate, consisting of nothing but the cooled and hardened “chocolate liquor,” a combination of cocoa butter and cocoa solids that is created by grinding cocoa nibs during processing. Depending on the manufacturer, the amount of cocoa solids in the chocolate liquor varies, and bitter chocolate can contain between 50 and 58 percent cocoa butter.
Quick and Easy Fudge Brownies
2 sticks butter (unsalted)
4 squares unsweetened baking chocolate
1 ¾ cups granulated sugar
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
¾ cup flour
½ tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Put the butter and chocolate into a large microwave bowl and heat on high until the butter and chocolate have melted. (The butter will melt quicker than the chocolate, so use 30-second intervals and stir the ingredients as you go.) You can also melt the chocolate and butter together in a saucepan over low heat.
Set the butter/chocolate mixture aside to cool.
In another bowl, beat together the sugar and the eggs. If you have a mixer, great, but this is easily done the old-fashioned way, with a wooden spoon. Add the vanilla extract.
Stir in the cooled chocolate/butter mixture, then add the salt and flour, mixing just long enough to combine the ingredients.
Optional: You can add up to two cups of toasted nuts to the batter. Chopped walnuts and pecans are traditional, but you can use any nut that suits your fancy. If using salted nuts, omit the salt in the batter.
Pour batter into a pan that’s been treated with cooking spray or greased and floured.
Bake at 325 for 25-30 minutes, depending on the whims of your oven. If you under-bake these brownies slightly they’ll just be even fudgier. Let the brownies cool on a rack before cutting them.
Note: These are usually baked in the squarish 9x13 pans but they’re also nice baked in 9-inch cake layer pans so you can serve wedges of brownies topped with ice cream.