There’s something about cold weather that makes me want to get into the kitchen and bake (I know I’m not alone in this). Pulling a hot tray of delicious cookies or brownies out of the oven is so satisfying. Of course, eating them is even more so. The house always fills with the amazing aroma of baked deliciousness, and the contrast of a warm brownie or cookie paired with a cold glass of milk or scoop of vanilla ice cream can’t be beat.
I have always loved to experiment with baking recipes in the kitchen. As a young child I would help my mom with the basic tasks, like dumping ingredients into the bowl or stirring. And of course, I was also the official treat tester. As I got older, I started experimenting on my own, playing around with different ingredients to see what worked. Some were a miserable fail, and others, like this brownie recipe, were a success.
The Secret Ingredient
In my high school and college years, one of my favorite ingredients to play around with was brown sugar. I put it in everything. Literally – I even put it into a homemade lasagna recipe I came up with. Now, before you judge, let me just say that brown sugar is incredibly versatile. It adds a depth of richness that white sugar just can’t touch. It is still one of my favorite “secret” ingredients for baked goods.
When I created this brownie recipe the first time, I used plain white sugar. But, when I entered my brown-sugar-obsessed years, I figured, why not? I decided to go halfsies and give brown sugar an equal partnership. I’m so glad I took the gamble. Adding brown sugar took this recipe to a different level. It keeps the brownies super moist and adds warmth from that subtle hint of molasses.
I’ve given this recipe to very few people over the years. However, with temperatures dropping and the holidays approaching, it seems the perfect time to make these ooey, gooey brownies (and you can’t do that if you don’t have the recipe)!
These brownies are soft, moist, sinfully rich, and full of chocolaty flavor. Use this recipe as a base to endless flavorful creations – add nuts, marshmallows, chocolate chips, caramel, peppermint extract – anything your heart desires! My personal favorite is a combo of chocolate chips and 1 tsp peppermint extract. The peppermint helps tame the richness a bit and the chocolate chips provide some added texture (and more chocolate!). Yummy!
- 1 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
- 1 cup white sugar
- 4 eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 1/4 cups flour
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Grease a glass baking dish with shortening or oil. If you like thinner brownies (my preference), use a 9x13 pan. If you like thicker brownies, use an 8 or 9 inch square baking pan.
- In a large bowl, mix together the sugars and cocoa powder.
- In a smaller, microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter in the microwave.
- Add the melted butter to the sugar-cocoa mix and stir until well blended.
- Add the eggs and vanilla and stir again.
- Now add the flour and salt. Stir just until smooth. Do not over mix.
- If you are adding any additional ingredients (nuts, chocolate chips, etc), add them now and mix just until combined.
- Scrape the mixture into your prepared baking dish and cook for 30-40 minutes. Be careful not to overcook as that will dry out the brownies. Start with 30 minutes and increase the time as needed.
- Wait until cooled, then cut and enjoy! Or, if you lack patience like I do, you can cut them now and serve them warm with vanilla ice cream. YUM!
The depth of flavor of the brownies (like most brownies) will improve as they cool.