Classic Brownie Recipe - You Need to Try It!
Every journey begins somewhere, and here on the Cascadia Kitchen Blog we're kicking things off with brownies. Why brownies? Well, no one ever really asks ‘why brownies’. Because, YES! Brownies! This recipe is dense, rich, and provides what I consider to be an ideal brownie texture. It calls for both cocoa powder and melted 60% (or higher!) chocolate to strike a perfect balance between fudge-y and cake-y. Not too sweet, not too complicated, these brownies hit the spot!
Wait- you didn't think I was just gonna give you the recipe, did you? What kind of food blogger would I be if there wasn't a story to go along with this recipe? It'll be quick and painless, though, I promise. Because there actually is an answer to the question no one asked, "Why brownies?"
The year is 2017, and it's my first day working at a wholesale patisserie specializing in traditional French desserts and pastries. This job was the culmination of five years spent working up and across the entire FOH system at one of their seven (and counting) restaurant locations in Oregon. I had worked hard to get in the door, but bare in mind it had been a few years since I had worked in a proper bakery.
Because it was my first day, my team lead took it easy on me, and gave me one of the most basic recipes in the book. It was my job to make, drumroll for dramatic effect..... brownies! Keep in mind, we baked our brownies in 350ish piece batches, so as simple as the recipe was, there was a lot of dollars worth of chocolate and butter in that batch.
So there I was- armed with instructions for a mix I couldn’t possibly mess up, I methodically scaled my dry ingredients, microwaved my chocolate and butter, and carefully double checked my work as I added each ingredient into the mixer. The last step was to have my boss okay the batter before scooping. After looking in the giant mixer bowl, she gave me the thumbs up! For about half a second, before looking down and grabbing the dirty container I was holding out of my hands. With eyes wide, she demanded to know if I had used its contents in my mix.
“That’s cornstarch, Sorcha! Not flour! Did you use this?” She asked, with a look of horror on her face I will never forget. My heart….. it sank. My face turned the exact shade of a summer tomato. Maybe that's a goofy metaphor- it's accurate though. How in the WORLD did I mistake the bin of cornstarch for flour? I honestly have no idea, but that’s exactly what happened. There wasn’t a single gram of flour in my brownies.
Don’t worry- this story has a happy ending. The brownies baked up fine, though they didn't rise very well, so we simply added extra batter to each tin. My ‘gluten-free brownie recipe’ was a running joke over the next two years as I worked my way from newbie to Department Lead. And so, along with that story, I am so excited to share my own personal brownie recipe with you. It seems fitting to start this journey of baking, photographing, and writing my own recipes the same way I began my journey at LP- with brownies. There’s no cornstarch in this recipe, just lots of chocolate and lots of laughter.
Classic Brownie Recipe - You've got to try it!
Recipe makes an 8"x8" square pan. If you're feeding a crowd, you can double this recipe and it's perfect for a 9"x13" pyrex dish.
3/4 C AP Flour
1/4 C Cocoa Powder
1 tsp Baking Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 C Unsalted Butter
2 oz 60% Chocolate
1 C Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla
1/2 C Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
Preheat your oven to 350. Using parchment paper and pan spray, make a sling that covers the bottom and at least two sides of your pan. Spray well so your paper sticks, and any exposed pan is greased. You can skip this step, but if you want to cut your brownies into nice, even squares, this is the way to go.
Mis En Place! I am a firm believer that you will always bake better if you measure your ingredients ahead of time. Measure all your dry ingredients into a bowl together. Then, in a microwave safe bowl, measure your butter and chocolate together. Your eggs, sugar, and vanilla can go directly into your mixing bowl. I use a stand mixer, but you can use a handheld mixer, or even just a whisk and some elbow grease. Leave the chocolate chips to the side for now.
Once you have all your ingredients gathered, microwave your butter and chocolate in thirty second blasts, two to three times, stirring between each. This small amount of butter and chocolate melts quickly, be careful not to overheat. Set aside.
Sift together all of your dry ingredients. I typically sift directly onto a piece of parchment paper on the counter, so you can pick it up and easily create a funnel to pour the dry ingredients back into their bowl, mostly mess free.
With the paddle attached if you are using a stand mixer, start your engines! Let the eggs, sugar, and vanilla mix for 2-3 minutes on medium, until they are lighter in color and smooth/fluffy.
Turn your mixer down to low and pour in the chocolate and butter mixture. Scrape the bottom and sides down, and continue mixing until just combined. With the mixer still on low, pour in your dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.
With some streaks of flour still on the side of the bowl and paddle, switch to a spatula. Fold in your chocolate chips by hands, being sure to scrape the bowl.
Bake for 27-30 minutes. Let them cool if you can. Or, grab a spoon and dump hot brownie guts over ice cream if you have no self-control. No judgement here.