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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Almost one bowl brownies and Brownie cutting tip!

I was searching for an easy brownie to make with cocoa. I've been stuck on banana brownies with melted chocolate for so long, I thought it was time for change.  I contacted Anna at Cookie Madness and she suggested the one-bowl brownies.  I made them, but, as usual, with a few changes because A.: I'm lazy and B.: I've got other ingredients to use up!  I added chocolate chips, but next time I think I would add nuts instead since the chocolate chips seemed like overkill to me-if there is such a thing as chocolate overkill!  Anyways, I would say they came out perfect with the exception that they didn't have the shiny crinkly crust I want :(  That crust is still a mystery to me. There are many theories. Whenever I make banana brownies and use semi sweet chocolate I get the shiny, crackly crust. When I use bittersweet chocolate, I get more of a cake looking crust.   I thought maybe it had something to do with the sugar to fat ratio-the more heavy on the sugar and less heavy on the fat, the better chance for a crackly shiny crust.   Cocoa brownies disproved that theory since there is a lot less fat in them and I didn't get the shiny crust.   Boxed brownies have the "crust".  It can't be the melting theory because I melted the semi-sweet and the bitter sweet the same way. It can't be the stirring theory because I stirred them the same way.  Let me know if you have a theory! 

Brownie cutting tip:  Use a plastic knife. Works every time and brownies avoid sticking to it like it is the plague (not sure what a brownie considers a plague-maybe those fake baking chips?, but you get the idea!) Sometimes the knives break so have a few on hand!

My "flashy" picture.
My not so flashy picture.

Here is my modified version:
Almost One Bowl Brownies
Modified to fit an 8 x 8 baking pan.

8 tablespoons salted butter (1 stick)
1/2 cup +1/3 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup all-purpose flour (used 1/3 cup all-purpose and 1/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour to make them a bit more healthy!)
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup +1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey's)
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips (I love Ghirardelli)
1/2 cup lightly toasted nuts of your choice (my favorites are pecans.)

Preheat oven to 350°.  Lightly grease the bottom only of an 8 x 8 metal pan.   I use PAM spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and cocoa powder. Set-aside.
Melt butter in a microwave safe medium large mixing bowl. Whisk in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.
When that mixture is smooth, whisk in the dry ingredients. Then stir in chocolate chips and nuts.
Bake on center rack of your oven for approximately 22 to 25 minutes or until a tooth pick inserted in the middle comes out with moist crumbs.    Cool completely before slicing. I use a plastic knife which works perfectly every time! Bon appétit!


  1. Have you ever tried the King Arthur brownies? We love those! We also love Anna's Frosted Fudge Brownies.
    On a different note. I took Katrina's suggestion from the comment section of Anna's Macaron post and googled French Patisserie and found Cafe Arnaud in Maple Grove on Bass Lake Road. They have macaron and since I was headed that direction this evening I allowed extra time and stopped there. I don't have anything to compare them to since it was my first macaron, but I'm not in love with them. I'd love to hear what someone else thinks of them.

  2. Hi Gloria!
    I think the thing that makes the King Arthur brownies shiny on top is the method of heating the butter sugar method. There is an entire blog post about them on their site.
    I hear you about the cost of dutch process cocoa. I buy mine at Penzey's. I haven't recently compared the cost of that to the cost of it at the grocery but it isn't cheap!

  3. Gloria--I use Google Chrome and I can see my followers on my blog. On yours I see 3 followers. Do you have more than that? If so, I'm not sure what's up with that. :(

  4. According to Shirley Corriher, food scientist and author of Cookwise and Bakewise, that cracky crust comes from beating the eggs. When you beat the eggs a lot before adding to the brownie batter, it helps to form a "meringue-like" topping for the crust. I personally don't like the crackly crust because it reminds me too much of the box mix brownies :). But I'm a fan of brownies in general and make a lot of them.

  5. Thanks for the comments!!! I am not a fan of brownies from a mix, but I'm a sucker for the shiny, crackly crust!

  6. YUMM. I like my brownies with chocolate chips too :)

  7. Your "flashy" picture made me all excited about some sort of berry-flavored brownie! but I'm cool with the chocolate non-flashy pic. And now it's morning time, and I want brownies. Sigh. Thanks a lot.

  8. Blueberry and banana brownies are my favorites. Recipes on this site somewhere!

  9. I go to the home improvement store and buy the three pack of putty knives and use these to cut my brownies and almost all of my baked goods. They work like a charm and are inexpensive!!

  10. Never thought of putty knives! Another method to try if I get tired of breaking plastic knives! Thanks!