For ages, I can not seem to find a brownie recipe that lived up to my expectations. When I prepared handmade brownies, I wanted them to be very fudgy, moist, and chocolaty, with crispy edges and crackly tops, much like the ones I ate as a kid. However, these brownies were not made from a recipe. They were always manufactured from a box. I like to bake from scratch these days, but no brownie recipe I attempted could compare to my childhood chocolate brownies.
So as I was flipping through Michelle Lopez's recent book Weeknight Baking this fall, her recipe for From Scratch Boxed Mix Brownies caught my eye. Would I eventually be able to bake homemade brownies that tasted as good as store-bought ones?
Yes, it's true! This brownie recipe has been on repeat in my house since the first time I tried it. It only requires a few pantry staples and isn't much more difficult than using a mix. The brownies, on the other hand, are absolute perfection: glossy, fudgy, and bursting with rich chocolate flavor. You'll want to build them as soon as possible!
Another option you should check out right away is Weeknight Baking! This book is jam-packed with delectable dishes perfect for hectic weeknights. Each recipe includes amusing alternatives (I'm thinking matcha snickerdoodles) as well as ideas on how to become a more efficient baker. Michelle is plenty of insight on how to bake on a busy schedule after years of managing a 9-to-5 job and running her blog, Hummingbird High. "We're all doing the most we could with what we have," she writes. And any night of the week that works for you, I'll help you bake." If you enjoy baking, you'll enjoy this book.
Ingredients for a Homemade Brownie Recipe
Return to Michelle's brownie dish! Michelle adds granulated sugar, all-purpose flour, salt, and chocolate chips to make it taste like (or better than) the boxed mix. She then adds the following crucial ingredients:
Michelle uses a small amount of water with the eggs to get the moist, gooey texture of boxed brownies without the use of commercial emulsifiers. Because there is no baking powder in this recipe, eggs are required to help the brownies puff up in the oven.
Powdered sugar is the secret to making homemade brownies that taste like store-bought ones! Cornstarch is included in powdered sugar, which helps thicken the batter without the use of artificial additions found in mixes.
Michelle suggests Hershey's Special Dark Dutch-processed cocoa powder (I chose Whole Foods' 365 Chocolate) for unsweetened cocoa powder. If it's lumpy, make sure to sift it!
While many brownie recipes call for unsalted butter, Michelle's uses canola oil, much like the boxed mix. I use olive oil since it's what I have on hand and because I like the flavor.
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract adds a lot of depth to the chocolate flavor.
That concludes our discussion. These wonderful homemade brownies are quite simple to make.
How to Make Homemade Brownies
To begin, combine the dry and wet ingredients in two separate mixing bowls. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the sugar, flour, powdered sugar, cocoa powder, chocolate chips, and salt. Whisk together the eggs, olive oil, and water in a large mixing basin.
After that, mix the wet and dry components together. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet one until it is barely blended. The batter is going to be thick!
After that, pour the batter into a parchment-lined 8-inch baking pan. Spread it to all four corners of the pan and level the top with a rubber spatula. It's fine if the mixture is very thick.
Lastly, bake! Bake for 40 to 45 minutes at 325°F, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. Allow for thorough cooling before slicing and serving the brownies. Enjoy!
Any leftovers can be kept at room temperature for up to 3 days in an airtight container. You may also freeze them for up to a month. I doubled the recipe and put the second batch in the freezer the last time I prepared them. Having them on hand for a quick and easy dessert or afternoon treat was so much fun!
Tips for the Best Brownie Recipe
Brownies with superior chocolate chips taste better. Michelle notes in her book that utilizing large, good-quality chocolate chips is one of the most important secrets to baking outstanding brownies. Ghiradelli's 60 percent Cacao Bittersweet Baking Chips are her recommendation, although I like Enjoy Life's Dark Chocolate Morsels. In this recipe, either brand would be wonderful!
It's preferable to take them out too soon rather than too late. No one likes dry brownies, so while creating this recipe, err on the side of caution. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with a few crumbs attached. If you're on the fence, remove them from the oven now. As they cool, they'll firm up even more!
Allow for cooling time. Try not to eat these as soon as they come out of the oven. Allowing them to cool makes them more gooey and fudgy, and it makes them less prone to crumble when sliced. They'll also have a richer chocolate flavor. It'll be worth the wait, I promise!
Lead image credits to: https://www.istockphoto.com/photo/black-bean-brownies-gm484749694-71484529