As my roommate and I were the only ones left in the house over Easter weekend, we decided to have dinner together last night, as we hadn’t done so in a while. It really wasn’t an impressive spread, though – no turkey or fancy dishes. Our parents had dropped in for a visit so they had brought us homemade, pre-cooked food. All we had to do was heat it up and make some vegetables to go with it all.
It was pretty typical Chinese fare: pan-fried salmon fillets and brewed beef brisket and turnip (it tastes much better than my clumsy translation implies), courtesy of my wonderful mother; homemade barbeque pork made by his father; and we stir-fried bok choi and mushroom to go with it all. Yes, the pink chopsticks are mine 😛
It just didn’t feel quite like an “Easter dinner”, though, so I figured dessert would be the perfect way to round i off! And what better dessert than warm freshly-baked brownies?
If you’ve seen my other food posts, you’d know I’ve been making the same marbled brownies since 7th grade. Yes, they are that good and I do love them that much. Dark loves them too, so I’d never felt compelled to make any other brownies. However, the recipe called for melted baking chocolate (or chocolate chips) for the chocolate layer and cream cheese for the vanilla layer – neither of which I had. I usually plan ahead when I bake, so my sudden desire for brownies put me in a tight spot.
Then I remembered that I’d bought cocoa powder for Guinness Chocolate Chip Cookies (post on this to follow – they are YUM) that I had baked for my friend’s birthday on St. Patrick’s Day. Googling “cocoa powder brownie recipe” gave me this from allrecipes.com:
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cup white sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
- 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)Directions
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9×9 inch baking pan.
- In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs. Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg mixture until well blended. Stir in walnuts, if desired. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the brownie begins to pull away from edges of pan. Let cool on a wire rack before cutting into squares.
To make the brownies rich and buttery, use melted butter instead of the vegetable oil.
I used my roommates’ canola oil because I only had extra virgin olive oil and I figured that it probably wouldn’t be ideal for brownies. I actually didn’t notice the comment that said you could use melted butter instead until just now 😛
I combined the canola oil, white sugar, and vanilla extract with my trusty sturdy metal fork. No, I don’t have more sophisticated baking tools 😛 Don’t forget the two eggs!
Flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt in a separate bowl – mix, then stir into wet ingredients gradually
The baking tray I used was larger than the one suggested, so the batter spread pretty thin – it was done in 20 minutes. I like my brownies to be stiffer and more cake-like though, as opposed to being soft and mushy, so I let it bake for another 5 minutes.
You can see that the edges have come away from the pan and actually look rather crispy – I love crispy edge pieces 🙂 The holes are from me poking a fork into it to check if it was ready. I didn’t know this when I first started out, but if you poke a toothpick into your brownies/cakes/muffins and they come out clean, they’re done. I don’t have toothpicks here, but if the brownies are wet enough to stick to your fork, they’re not cooked enough.
I like my brownies small so that it seems I have more pieces, and so that I don’t overeat. I love having extra to snack on throughout the week!
The finished product! I like my brownies thin and thoroughly baked, but adjust baking time according to your own preferences 🙂 And of course, what’s warm freshly baked brownies without a little…ice cream?
Warm freshly baked homemade brownies with a spoonful of Haagen Dazs Vanilla Swiss Almond ice cream on top – now this made Easter dinner complete!
This brownie recipe will definitely become a staple in my book – it’s so ridiculously easy to make (none of this melting chocolate, whipping cream cheese by hand, or layering and marbling business) and the ingredients are inexpensive and easily found in any baker’s stash (cream cheese has an expiry date).
How had I never thought of making these before?!
Hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend!