I have always baked and my husband loves brownies so I always had a box or two of brownie mix in my pantry. Sometimes I'd throw in chocolate chips, maybe walnuts or occasionally frost them for variety. . . until I found this easy, simple from-scratch brownie recipe that is not only easy but delicious. I can't go back to boxed brownies again.
1/2 cup (1 stick butter)
1/2 cup shortening, such as Crisco
3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Melt butter, shortening and chocolate in a pan over low heat. Remove from heat and cool slightly. While chocolate is cooling, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl.
3. In another bowl, beat together the 4 eggs. Beating steadily and briskly, ideally with a whisk, add the eggs 1/4 cup at a time beating into the slightly cooled chocolate mixture until well mixed.
4. With a spool or spatula, stir in sugar and vanilla, then mix in dry ingredients, mixing until well combined. Add walnuts if desired.
5. Scrape batter into ungreased 9 X 13 inch pan. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes. Do not overbake. Cool completely before cutting into squares. Dust with powdered sugar.
Combine 36 unwrapped carmels with 3 tbsp milk or heavy cream. Heat uncovered on high for 2-3 minutes stirring occasionally, until smooth. Drizzle over batter and sprinkle with chopped pecans.
Bake as directed.
Peanut Butter Brownies:
Slightly heat 1/2 cup peanut butter, smooth or crunchy, then drop by spoonfuls over the batter. With the tip of a knife, lightly swirl the peanut butter through the batter and bake as directed.
Add 1 cup of dried cherries to the batter before baking. Fore a more grown-up taste, soak the cherries in a little brandy or kirsch for about 1 hour before draining and adding to batter. Bake as directed.
Rocky Road Brownies:
Drop spoonfuls of marshmallow creme over the batter and swirl with a knife. Scatter some chopped walnuts over the batter and bake as directed. Or, bake brownies as directed, then remove from the oven and sprinkle with chocolate chips, miniature marshmallows and chopped nuts. Return brownies to the oven just until the marshmallows start to melt.