Favorite Brownies

brownies2.jpg

As I bite into this brownie I escape into sweet chocolate bliss. The texture is fudgy yet delicate and the flavor decadent yet not overbearing. I taste each ingredient from the subtle brown sugar to the obvious fleck of kosher salt down to the creaminess of the butter. If only you could smell my kitchen right now; the scent coming from the oven is like a warm hug on a cold day.

I love a good brownie because it satisfies my wicked sweet tooth and has a texture that is a cross between a cookie and a cupcake. I have tried many recipes but most end up slapping me in the face with dense chocolate punch that sticks to the roof of my mouth and I quickly retreat from finishing the square.

This has been my go-to dessert lately and every time I serve a plate of them people go crazy. They are relatively easy to make, freeze well and along with being sturdy enough to transport they make for an all around great dessert. I also appreciate the large 9×13 inch batch size because the typical 8×8 inch batch is never enough.

I found this recipe on David Lebovitz’s website and have only modified it slightly by adding ½ tsp. instant espresso powder and omitting the Altoids. The espresso does not impart coffee flavor but rather adds depth to the chocolate flavors. Finish them by adding sprinkles or a classic dusting of powdered sugar. Enjoy!

More brownies
More brownies

Favorite Brownies – makes 24 – 32 (depending on how large you cut them)

Mise en place
11 ounces dark chocolate, chopped (Trader Joe’s Pound Plus bar minus 10 squares = 11 oz.)
8 ounces unsalted butter, cubed
1 1/4 cup A.P. flour
1 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
5 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon instant espresso powder

  • Preheat the oven to 350F. Line the inside of a 9 by 13-inch pan with foil. Lightly coat the foil with butter.
  • In a large bowl set over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and butter.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, and cocoa powder.
  • Once the chocolate is melted and smooth, whisk in both sugars.
  • Remove from heat and whisk in three of the eggs completely, then whisk in the other two along with the vanilla extract.
  • Sprinkle the flour mixture top and using a spatula, gently fold in the dry ingredients until just combined. Do not over mix.
  • Scrape into the prepared pan and bake for 10 minutes, add the sprinkles to the top (if using) then bake for another 20 minutes (total baking time is 30 minutes)

Creamy Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Frosting
Chocolate Frosting

This frosting is dangerous! So simple to make and with the texture of silk and rich chocolate flavor you are sure to eat more than you want. I love the consistency of store-bought tub frosting but I don’t like the processed taste. Problem solved with this recipe. I wrote it down while watching an episode of America’s Test Kitchen and have been making it since. If you don’t have a food processor I think a mixer would work but be sure to sift the cocoa and powdered sugar before you add them to the mix.

Chocolate Frosting - Top View
Chocolate Frosting - Top View

The cupcakes in the images above are a modified version of this recipe using a yellow cake mix with vanilla pudding and semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Frosting – Mise en place
2 1/2 sticks of room temp. unsalted butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup cocoa
pinch of salt
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1 tsp. vanilla
8 oz. milk chocolate, melted and cooled slightly (Dark chocolate can also be used)

  • In a food processor with the blade attachment, pulse the butter, sugar, cocoa and salt until smooth, scraping the sides as needed.
  • Add the corn syrup and vanilla and process until just combined. Scrape the sides.
  • Add the melted chocolate and pulse until smooth and creamy.

Enjoy and share your comments. I’d love to hear what you think.

1 Recipe, 3 Different Cakes

Pistachio Cream Cake
My husband's birthday cake - pistachio cream

I love to bake but sometimes I don’t have the time or energy to make a cake from scratch. My dear friend Gretchen introduced me to the recipe for Triple Chocolate Cake. Although it uses a box cake mix, the from-scratch flavor is sure to please your guests and the simple recipe will please you.

The original recipe is a chocolate bundt cake but the flavors can easily be switched out as I have done with the Pistachio Cream version. Below I listed three different versions but there are as many possibilities as there are pudding flavors. Get Creative!

Mise en Place

The Original – Triple Chocolate Bundt Cake
1 pkg. chocolate cake mix
1 bag of chocolate chips
1 – 3.4 oz. box of instant chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. warm water
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. sour cream
Powdered sugar to garnish

Reverse Original – White Chocolate
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 bag of white-chocolate chips
1 – 3.4 oz. box of instant white-chocolate pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. warm water
1/4 c. canola il
1/2 c. sour cream
Cocoa powder to garnish

Pistachio Cream
1 pkg. white cake mix
1 small 3.4 oz. box of instant pistachio pudding
4 eggs
1/2 c. warm water
1/4 c. canola oil
1/2 c. sour cream
Crushed Pistachios for garnish
Cream cheese frosting recipe 

  • Preheat the oven to the temperature specified on the cake mix.
  • Traditionally the chocolate version is made in a bundt pan but as the picture shows, I have successfully baked it in round pans as well. Spray your bundt pan with non-stick spray, or spray your round pans (lining the bottom w/ parchment rounds) with non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl mix together the dry ingredients and then add the wet ingredients. Beat with an electric mixer for the same amount of time as specified on the cake box instruction.
  • Fold in the chocolate chips (if using) and pour into a greased bunt pan.
  • Bake for 45-60 minutes just until done. You can do the toothpick test but be careful as it may not come out clean b/c of the melted chocolate chips.
  • When it comes out of the oven let it sit for about 5 minutes, then flip it onto a plate.
  • After it is cooled COMPLETELY you can either dust it with powdered sugar/cocoa for a garnish or frost with your favorite frosting. With the pistachio version I like to frost it with cream cheese frosting and garnish with the chopped nuts.