Tuesday, February 19, 2013

better than duncan's crocker

What?  Did I say that?  Why, yes.  Yes I did.  These brownies are better than Duncan's and Crocker's put together.
















I absolutely love Duncan Hines brownies.  And I love them even more than ever, because some varieties are dairy free.  I never thought I would appreciate a boxed, pre-fabricated food but then allergies entered the equation, and I found first hand how difficult it can be to take the easy route...

So we always have a box in the pantry, just in case we need brownies in a hurry.  But the last few times I have made them, there was just something not quite right.  They weren't like I remembered them.  They tasted a little too eggy and a bit chemically.


















I, like many others before me, have toiled away trying to find the secret that makes these brownies so dense, chewy, and chocolatey, but with that impossibly flaky top.  So many of us, it seems, are on a quest for that perfect brownie.  And who has set that standard that so many of us strive to duplicate?  That's right.  Duncan Hines.

BUT.

These brownies are about to give them a run for their money.  I have tried so many of the "best brownies ever" only to find that they were not, in fact, the best brownies ever.  So I am not about to claim that I have come up with the best brownies ever, because obviously that's all subjective anyway.  


Oh who am I kidding.  These are the best brownies ever!!  I have solved my very own Duncan Hines challenge!! 

I really love this recipe because it is just so easy.  And the amounts are not accidental.  I worked the proportions so that they are straight up.  A stick of this, a cup of that.  Straight.  Up.

Since I am not one who particularly likes to follow rules, recipes, or knitting patterns, I fight the "baking has to be exact" idea.  If you want these brownies to be more gooey, add less flour.  If you want them to be less gooey, add more flour or less butter.  If you don't want them to be too sweet, add less sugar.  No sweat.

And the best part is that they take less time to prepare than it takes for the oven to preheat. 



the best brownies ever

8 oz enjoy life chocolate chips or chunks (I use a slightly rounded to overflowing cup of chips)
8 tbs earth balance butter or unsalted (dairy free) margarine
2 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 tsp vanilla
very scant 1 c. all purpose flour
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 350˚F.

Line an 8x8" baking dish with two strips of foil or parchment paper.  To do this, take one strip that is the width of the dish, and line the dish with it, letting the overhang.. well.. overhang.  These overhanging parts will be very useful handles later, when it's time to cut.  Repeat in the other direction.  Spray the foil or parchment with cooking spray.

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat.  Once melted, add the chocolate, give it a good stir, and take it off the heat.  Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the flour and salt and set aside.

In a bowl, mix the eggs and sugar until light and slightly fluffy.  Once the chocolate mixture has cooled a little, add to the egg mixture, very slowly at first, to avoid cooking the eggs.  Once you have thoroughly whisked in about a tablespoon, you can add the chocolate with a little more abandon.  Once all of the chocolate is incorporated, add the vanilla, and then mix in the flour.

Pour into the prepared baking dish and bake for about 30 minutes.  Wait until the brownies have cooled (this is definitely the hardest, yet most important step), and pull out of the pan using the foil or parchment liner.  Once you have the whole thing out of the dish, it is much easier to cut.  I like to cut using a rolling pizza cutter.  

Now you may eat one.  Or four.  Go ahead, no one's watching...

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