February 14, 2013

I Got Your Brownies Right Here.

I think I might love chocolate more than you do. I don't know FOR SURE, but I'm pretty sure I can give 99.9% of the world's population a good run in any ultra-chocolate-loving competition. I've met magical people who just don't care. Or who actively dislike it. Like my mom, she really just does not care, if she ever ate chocolate again.

My zeal for chocolate goes beyond love...it's a NEED. A physiological need, which I've read is hormonally based. I assume I inherited it from my chocoholic father. That guy loves his chocolate. And I think Julia got it as well. When she was almost 3, she began sobbing when she realized that she only was gonna receive one Advent calendar chocolate treat per day at Christmastime. "BUT I LOVE CHOCOLATE SO MUCH!" she bawled.

I hear ya kid.

I've been known to pace the house at 9pm shrieking at Andrew, "WHY IS THERE NO CHOCOLATE IN THE HOUSE?????"

That saint of a man once drove to 2 towns and 3 stores trying to find me the Pepperidge Farm chocolate layer cake that I was really pining for one terrible, hormonal evening long ago. That cake is awesome by the way. It even tastes good right out of the freezer.

So let's talk about some brownies, since it's Happy Valentine's Day. Happy Valentine's Day! They should just rename it Chocolate Day.

Oh man, brownies, what a can of worms. SO MUCH to chat about regarding the humble brownie. Don't you agree, that it can be the most awesome of all chocolate treats, and also the easiest to mess up? I've eaten a lot of BAD BROWNIES, my friends.

Too dry.

Too greasy.

Too cakey. (bleh, I do not do cakey brownies. Make a cake if you want a cake. Don't torture a brownie into masquerading as a cake.)

Too crumbly. (see also 'dry'.)


I've gone through a lot, a LOT of different brownie recipes and I have something to tell you. I'm so sorry for what I'm about to say. She's going to break up with me if she reads this. She won't be my BFF anymore.

Nigella? My imagined soul sister?

Um, she's really hit or miss in the recipe department. It's true. I wish it weren't, but I think it is. Or maybe I'm just not worthy of being able to adequately render her recipes unto their truest potential, that's prolly what's really going on.


But you know who's not hit or miss?


Martha delivers. Pretty much 100% of the time.

The brownies that come from Martha's 'Favorite Comfort Food' cookbook are JUST RIGHT.

Chocolatey. Moist and fudgy. Crackly top. (you gotta have the crackly top!) Sweet but not too sweet. You can make a full 9 x 13 pan or cut the recipe in half and make an 8" pan.

So here is my Valentine for you.

The perfect brownie.

Martha Stewart's Brownies That Are The Bestest Ever


12 tablespoons (1 and 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in pieces, plus more for the pan
8 oz best quality bittersweet or semisweet chocolate, roughly chopped. (Martha likes Valrhona, I use Ghiradelli.)
4 large eggs
1 and 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/2 packed dark brown sugar
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 and 1/3 cups sifted all purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour for that last 1/3 cup)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 (or more) cup chocolate chips


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 by 13 inch baking pan with butter, and set aside.

2. In the top of a double boiler, ( I use my microwave, checking at frequent intervals) or heat proof bowl over simmering water, melt the butter and chocolate until smooth; stir occasionally. Remove from heat. Allow to cool to room temperature.

3. In a large mixing bowl, combine the eggs, granulated and brown sugars, and vanilla, and beat well with a wire whisk. In a separate bowl, combine the sifted flour and salt. (I don't sift things ever.) Add the cooled chocolate mixture to the egg mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until well combined. Gradually add the flour mixture, and beat until thoroughly combined. Fold in the choc chips. or nuts, if using. Pour the batter into the prepared pan.

4. Bake until a tester inserted into the center of the brownie comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Do not overbake. Let stand on a rack in the pan until cool. Cut into 3 inch squares and serve. Store in airtight container (what's this? I just wrap in plastic) at room temp up to 2 days. 

I usually cut this recipe right in half and make an 8" square pan amount. But you could make the big pan and then freeze the other half or just EAT THE LOT, I won't judge.



  1. You are so right - Martha delivers. Make her recipes and the compliments follow.

    After you finish those brownies (which would be around noon in my house) try this hot fudge pie. It will be tonight's dessert at my house.


    1. HOT FUDGE PIE?????? Oh thank you thank you, you have made my holiday! Off to check asap :)

  2. LOL at Julia's advent calendar story! I totally know how the poor kid felt!

    I just finished my last brownies batch... feeling so sad now. Have you tried adding some coffee to the recipe? I like coffee so that was a good addition for me.

    1. Alas I am not a fan of coffee :) ~ don't drink it or consume it in treats, candies or Ice cream! Poor coffee. I know people love to add coffee to chocolate since it is supposed to enhance the choc flavor but to me , it just tastes like coffee which grosses me out. But I bet you totally could add a teaspoon or up to 1 tablespoon of coffee to this and it would be brilliant for coffee lovers!!! xoxo

  3. If I had the time - and it I didn't have cases of GS Cookies in my living room - I would make these. Right now. Need chocolate. NEEEEEED. Zombie Danzel.

    1. I need to eat more dark chocolate. It's very good for you! I ordered 2 boxes of Girl Scout cookies from a neighbor girl. ONLY TWO and in flavors I don't like. I think I am safe from the Girl Scout cookies. They discontinued my favorite flavor, (the vanilla and lemon sandwich cookies) lucky and unlucky for me at the same time!

    2. We have a different baker, so we didn't have those anyway. ;o)

  4. Oh wow! Those look super duper chocolatey. Guess what? I shared a chocolate treat on the blog too... haha, even though I don't like it. Valentines day means chocolate. I can accept that.

    1. Julia wanted to know the history of Valentine's Day. OMG. I tried explaining to her about St Valentine (who may have been 3 people merged into one story) and how he supposedly made a blind girl see (and then was beheaded later, but I didn't tell her that) and then at some point Christians took over what was a pre-existing pagan holiday in mid-Feb and attached this random saint to it b/c he wasn't already attached to any other festivals and then later Geoffrey Chaucer popularized the day into a romantic holiday, and then the Victorians came along...and NOW IT'S CHOCOLATE DAY! YEAH!

      Julia was like, none of that makes sense and I was like, yeah, it doesn't. :)

    2. Ha!!! She's right! It doesn't make any sense at all! But it does make sense to have celebrations during the dreariest time of the year... So I'm just going to go for it! (Granted I'm not a romantic in the least- trapper took me to see Warm Bodies for our valentines date... I couldn't have asked for more). Hope you have a fun day!

  5. Happy Chocolate Day! I think that you feel the way about chocolate that I feel about nachos. I am very particular about nachos. Maybe I should start throwing Cinco de Mayo parties as an excuse to have a nacho-related holiday...

    1. I'M ALREADY LOOKING FORWARD TO NACHO DAY! You better do a post on it b/c I now cannot get this idea out of my mind :)


  6. I actually think it helps to use the original metric recipes from Nigella. I've found the measurements in her American editions to be a bit iffy. You know, I've actually had more "fails" with Martha Stewart recipes than Nigella ones. I think recipe success depends on sooo many things. The thought of having someone go through and make all of my recipes and chart how well they went makes me break into a cold sweat. Basically you have to hope that what worked for you will work for someone else and that is by no means guaranteed!

    I love a good brownie--the best that I've made so far were a recipe from BBC Good Food that had mayonnaise in it. I'm actually not a chocolate fiend. I can take it or leave it, but I do love brownies.

    1. That's fascinating Lauren, I swear I've had the opposite experience! I love the BBC site. Mayo!!! I'm totally on board. I'll have to search for it!

      Recipes. ack. I have to write all over my books b/c I think so much depends on oven times, which can be very particular to one's own oven.

  7. THEY LOOK SO YUMMY! If I have these in my house I will eat them until they are gone (estimated time: under 4 minutes).

    1. they didn't last very long here I can tell you!! :)

  8. Oh so delicious...I could really go for a brownie right now...which is a statement I could make pretty much 100% of the time!!

  9. Nice! And very close to my own favorite recipe.



  10. I love you for this. Happy Choclatine's Day!