For years, I have used boxed brownie mixes. To be perfectly honest, I don’t really know why I started out baking from the prepared box mixes in the first place. I suppose that I thought that it must be so much easier, or maybe I thought that it was quicker. But once I got into the habit, it never occurred to me to break out and make them from scratch. Well, no more!
It’s ironic but the thing that I now love about making brownies from scratch is that they stay moist so much longer. With all the preservatives in the average box mix, I would think that brownies-in-a-box would be engineered for better taste, but sadly, they always seem to dry out in a day or two. They are never as good the day after baking, and honestly, they get pretty inedible after a week.
I suppose that the purpose of preservatives is to extend shelf life, not improve quality, somehow that always surprises me, even though it shouldn’t. The prepared food industry seems to heavily favor economic factors (such as shelf life) over everything else (such as taste and quality).
The maddening thing is that brownies from scratch don’t even take that much longer. It probably took me an extra five minutes to prepare, and four days later they were still absolutely delicious. I think that’s a fair trade for five minutes of time.
The Best Fudge Brownies Ever
(A King Arthur recipe from the back of a bag of their flour)
- 1 cup (8 oz) butter
- 2¼ cups sugar (I used 1 3/4 cups because I like desserts to be sweet but not over powering)
- 1¼ cups Dutch-process cocoa
- ½ tsp salt or increase to 1 tsp if using unsalted butter
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1 Tbsp vanilla
- 4 large eggs
- 1½ cups (6¼ ounces) King Arthur All Purpose Flour
- 2 cups (12 oz bag) chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350º. Lightly grease a 9×13 pan.
- In a medium sized microwave safe bowl or in a saucepan set over low heat, melt the butter, then add sugar and stir to combine. Return the mixture to the heat (or microwave) briefly just until hot but not bubbling; it will become shiny looking as you stir it. Heating the butter and sugar a second time will dissolve more of the sugar, which will yield a shiny top crust on your brownies. Transfer mixture to a mixing bowl.
- Stir in the cocoa, salt, baking powder, and vanilla. Add the eggs, beating till smooth; then add flour and chips, beating till well combined. Spoon batter into prepared pan.
- Bake the brownies for 28 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out dry (though it may have a few crumbs clinging to it). The brownies should feel set both on the edges, and in the center. Remove the pan from the oven, and after 5 minutes loosen the edges with a table knife; this helps prevent the brownies from sinking in the center as they cool. Cool completely before cutting and serving. Yields 2 dozen brownies.