Last week’s brownie recipe was sort of excessive — delicious, but not something most people could whip up with ingredients on hand (unless you always have 3 kinds of chocolate and Guinness on hand). This is something anyone can whip up quickly any day with ingredients on hand. Some years ago I was talking to a friend down the street; she had just gotten home from a bad day at work and was frazzled. As she went into the kitchen she was lamenting that she didn’t have any brownie mix because she really wanted a brownie right then. I blinked, then said, “Do you have…” and I rattled off the ingredients for brownies. She said yes to all the ingredients because it’s all very basic stuff that everyone usually has on hand. “Well, then you can make brownies. It’s easy.” She was skeptical. (At that time I had to skip two doors down and grab my recipe, but now I’ve got it on my phone along with all my other recipes.) She mixed up the brownies as I read off the recipe and presto! We had brownies! I remember she looked at me sort of dumbfounded and said, “If it was that easy, then why do we have mixes?” Why, indeed? A lot of pre-packaged food stuff is predicated on the idea that cooking (and baking in particular) is time-consuming and difficult…and that a mix is faster and easier. I’m sure there are examples in which this is actually true, but your basic brownie recipe isn’t one of them! You can have dense chocolatey brownies anytime you want them and the only difference in time and effort from using a mix is…you have to measure a few ingredients. (Oh, gosh, that’s so hard and it takes such a long time!) 😆 😉
This recipe used to be on the Hershey’s cocoa container, but it’s not on the one I’ve got on my shelf now. A slightly modified version is on the Hershey site and I’ve linked to it and added notes on how it differs from the original recipe I’ve been making for years. My recipe is slightly easier because you don’t have to melt butter (or margarine). Also, because it doesn’t have chocolate chips, it can be made from ingredients on hand. It’s stirred up with a spoon in a bowl. No mixer necessary!
Do you have…cocoa powder, baking soda, cooking oil, water, sugar, 2 eggs, all-purpose flour, vanilla extract, salt? You have brownies! 😀
Notes: The original version called for 2/3 cups oil, divided, instead of using butter which must be melted. Pour the oil into a graduated measuring cup then pour 1/3 cup in with the cocoa and baking soda. Add the rest after the sugar and eggs. This recipe is unusual in that it uses boiling water. Don’t take a shortcut and use the microwave; it won’t work as well. The amazing fun thing is that the mixture you pour the boiling water into will foam as well as thicken. The one time it didn’t bubble up and thicken the brownies didn’t turn out very well and I put that down to the water being not quite hot enough. (I could be wrong, though.) The boiling water doesn’t slow down the prep time too much, however. Don’t add too much water to the kettle since you only need 1/2 cup. Measure and pour quickly. Use the time while the water is coming to a boil to grease a 13″ x 9″ baking pan. (You should’ve started the oven preheating immediately.)
Unlike the recipe link above, my recipe has no chocolate chips in it. Nor does it have nuts, though I think chopped pecans were optional in the original recipe. I’m not that crazy about nuts in brownies though I usually have pecans on hand.
The original recipe says that this can be made in two 8″ square pans and baked for 30-32 minutes. I’ve never tried this.
These brownies are very dense and fudge-like in their texture. If you like your brownies more cake-like, this probably isn’t the recipe for you. But if you need a hit of chocolate after a long hard day, this will hit the spot! 😀