Better than the Box Brownies


Living at home doesn’t exactly offer many opportunities for dating. I’m (mostly) okay with this, because it leaves me time to focus on getting my business together, work on design ideas, and consume massive amounts of sugar when I’m feeling lonely.


Now I’m fully aware that I can’t snuggle with a brownie.  It won’t hold me close and tell me how lovely I am, but then again, there’s no arguing with a brownie. No fighting over who left the milk out or where we’re going for dinner.


So for those of you who don’t have a valentine this year, why don’t you try this ‘better than the box’ brownie recipe?  I have a feeling you’ll forget about your guy (or girl) and focus on what really matters: dessert.

Better than the Box Brownies (America’s Test Kitchen recipe found on the Brown Eyed Baker)

1/3 cup dutch-processed cocoa
1 1/2 tsp. instant espresso
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. boiling water
2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
4 Tbs. unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbs. vegetable oil
2 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
2 tsp. vanilla extract (I use vanilla bean paste)
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 3/4 all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp. salt
6 oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into 1/2 inch pieces

Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 350°F . Line a 9×13-inch baking pan with foil (leaving a 1-inch overhang to help remove later) and coat pan with baking spray.  Melt butter in the microwave and set aside. Chop unsweetened chocolate and set aside. Chop bittersweet chocolate and set aside.

Whisk cocoa, espresso powder, and boiling water together in large bowl until smooth. Add unsweetened chocolate and whisk until chocolate is melted. Add in melted butter and oil and continue to mix- it may look curdled but it’s fine. Continue whisking and add eggs, yolks, and vanilla. Whisk in sugar until fully incorporated. Fold in flour until combined, and then add in bittersweet chocolate pieces.  Pour into the pan and bake for 30-35 minutes. The edges will crisp up and a toothpick will come out with some moist crumbs.  Transfer to a  wire rack and cool for  an hour and a half.  Then, using the foil, lift brownies out of the pan and cool for another hour. Cut and serve.

Note: brownies can be stored at room temperature for up to four days in an air tight container, though I doubt they’ll last that long.


This recipe was perfected by the gang at America’s Test Kitchen as a response to creating a scratch brownie that could surpass one made out of a box. Now, I’ve never been a fan of box brownies, I know, shocking.  As usual, I think they taste like chemicals, though apparently I’m the only one who feels this way.  Even my chef at culinary school preferred brownies out of a box, which was blasphemy as far as I’m concerned.

I won’t make brownies out of a box any time soon, and luckily I don’t need to because these brownies are incredible.  They have that balanced chocolatey, chewy, goodness combined with a thin, crispy top that in my book, is perfection. This has something to do with the ratios of saturated and unsaturated fats, which you can read about here. However, that will be a read for another day.  Right now I have a date with my brownie and I never leave a dessert waiting.



2 responses to “Better than the Box Brownies

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