I have a confession. I have not always liked chocolate.
Now, before you get all jumpy, let me explain. In my youth, my experiences with chocolate were brief and cheap. I was never exposed to fine, quality chocolate. There were Hershey bars and Nestle Quik, Reester bunnies and M&Ms, but never more than the cheap imitation of the fine confection. The details of my chocophilia I will save for another day, but tonight I will share one of the many ways well-used chocolate has changed my life: The Brownie.
My initial encounters with brownies were always at social functions: summer barbecues, church parties-- you know the drill. I was only familiar with cake-like brownies that left a synthetic oil taste in their wake and grainy, over-powering frosting that caused the brownie to wither and crumble under its weight. In short: I had been misled. In seventh grade, my friend made brownies from a box. The package stated these were "chewy," and I was intrigued. Upon exiting the oven, we dove in and devoured. I was shocked by the dense texture and the ability to eat the brownies piece by piece with my fingers without making a crumbly mess. We were getting somewhere.
Fastforward eight years. I was newly married and in a chocolate craze. I bought box after box of chewy brownie mixes. One day, while at my parents' house, my sister decided to make brownies. She opened my mother's recipe book and started to make some brownies from scratch. When I tasted the homemade treats, I fell into a dither. These brownies were soft and chewy. They retained their shape while eaten. They were dense and thick, but not overly rich. The flavor stood on its own-- perfectly sweet, with no need for frosting. The Holy Grail of brownies. How had I never noticed these before-- a staple in my own mother's cookbook? I am unsure how the oversight occurred; I am only interested in moving on, a changed woman.
2 c sugar
1 c butter
1 1/2 c + 2T flour
2/3 c cocoa
1/4 t salt
Cream sugar, butter and eggs. Add flour, cocoa, and salt and mix thoroughly. Pour batter into a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes.
Do not overbake. I once used a new kitchen timer while making these. The timer didn't work and I overbaked by a few minutes. In short, the brownies ended up in the dumpster instead of my stomach.
The batter is incredibly thick. You may have to mold it into the pan using a rubber scraper rather than simply pouring it into the pan. (take a look at the pre-baking picture below. isn't that batter beautiful?)
I usually cut the recipe in half, since it's just for me and Sam, and use an 8x8 pan.
Attention batter-eaters: don't pass up on the opportunity to lick the beaters. You will not be disappointed.