Sunday, January 26, 2014

Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies

Fudgy Chocolate Chunk Brownies - made January 17, 2014 from Something Swanky
For one of my first baking forays in 2014, brownies seemed like an obvious choice to start off the new year. They're the backbone of my baking repertoire. And I was in the mood for one when I made these. My original intent was to try them out and send them in a care package to a friend on the East Coast. My friends in the Northeast have been frozen in their respective states with this whole polar vortex thing. Living in California where we headed into the 70s this January, I had some sympathy for their sub-zero temps. But the main reason I was going to make these brownies and care package them to the East Coast is my friend Kendra posted about baking brownies from a mix. Might as well wave a red flag in front of a charging bull. Really? From a mix? She tried explaining how, after a long, cold commute home, there was nothing easier than "ripping open the box". I was too busy cringing to pay any heed to her words.
So for fun, and my baking sanity, I decided to not only make these brownies and send them to her but to put together my own "brownie mix" with these ingredients. Obviously it isn't practical to send eggs, butter and vanilla extract through cross-country mail but I was going to package up the dry ingredients with separate packs for the sugar and the chocolate chips and write the instructions in bold words on each package so she'd know what to add and in what order to mix them all in. I still maintain baking brownies from scratch is just as easy as making from a mix (and tastes better). notice how my verbage is "I intended to" and "I was going to"? Yep, I didn't do it. I really did mean to but I hadn't counted on these brownies not turning out the way I intended. Nothing to do with the original recipe but I had gotten creative and added chopped up Milky Way caramels to the batter. It seemed like a good idea in concept but in reality, the Milky Way caramels overheated in the brownie during baking and when they cooled, they'd all sunk to the bottom and the caramel came out hard and chewy. The brownie itself was okay but with the chewy-hard bits of caramel - not something worthy to go into a care package at all. Back to the drawing board. And I do intend to fulfill that brownie "mix" care package one day, just not with these.
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups chocolate chunks (I used Milky Way Caramels instead - bad idea)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9 baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Beat together the butter, sugar, and vanilla in a stand mixer bowl. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  3. Stir together the flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Gradually add the dry ingredients to the butter mixture. Mix in the baking soda.
  4. Mix in the chocolate chunks with a wooden spoon or spatula.
  5. Once the batter forms (it will be thick), scrape it into the prepared dish and spread evenly.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, until brownies begin to pull away from the side of the pan.

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