This recipe comes straight to you from my journey into the baking unknown. I left the comforts of a trusted recipe and ventured off into the confectionary wilderness. It was a bold move for a gal who tends to shy away from potential failure in favor of a sure thing. Considering how little I know about the science of baking, this recipe is nothing short of a chocolate miracle.
The process started innocently enough. I stood in my kitchen one Friday night, hungry and restless, and was forced to face a hard truth: I had nothing to eat for dessert. I checked the cupboards for something sweet, but the cupboards were bare. So Ellie and I took a walk to the grocery store to buy the little package of brownies I always get, and it hit me: I didn’t want to just eat brownies; I wanted to make them. I wanted the satisfaction of baking my own decadent, gooey, rich batch of homemade brownies. I wanted to lick the bowl with my finger. I wanted my home to smell like brownies. I wanted the total brownie experience.
What I came up with was a recipe that fulfilled all of my necessary criteria: A) Easy to remember, so I can spontaneously scratch my baking itch, whenever, wherever (even after a couple glasses of wine); B) Ingredients that I’d likely already have on hand; C) Easy clean up; D) Pratipaksha bhavanam-worthy results (brownies that had the power to shift my mental and emotional gears). But it took some work. I went into this process feeling 100 percent comfortable with failure, figuring that even a brownie disaster would still be edible. Accepting failure, I found, was the key to my success; it kept me engaged in the present instead of consumed by the result. Even though I tried (and failed) a few times before getting this recipe just right, I remain undeterred. I noticed that my attitude was determined but soft, just like the kind of brownie I hoped to make—a crusty outside with a fudgy center. I had a genuinely good time, and I think it’s because I remained committed to my quest and yet somehow unattached. It was yoga in action, and it brought out a bright, optimistic part of me that I’ve missed.
Foolproof Homemade Brownies
2 bars (3.5 oz each) of chocolate, roughly chopped. I used Green & Blacks 70% Dark Chocolate. 2 sticks unsalted butter 2 cups sugar 3 eggs 1 teaspoon vanilla 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/3 cup coffee (freshly brewed or leftover from the morning) 1 1/4 cup flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 8 x 11 inch baking pan (you can play with the pan size, but it will affect the thickness and cooking time of your brownies). Melt the chocolate and butter in a pan over medium heat, stirring well. Once it’s all melted, turn off the heat and add the sugar. Add the eggs, one at a time. Then add the vanilla, salt, and coffee. I recommend sifting the flour to avoid getting lumps, but to be honest, it tastes amazing regardless, so if you don’t care about lumps of flour, don’t bother sifting! Pour the batter into your baking pan and bake for 45 minutes. (Depending on the size of your baking pan and the temperament of your oven, you might want to start checking your brownies around 30 minutes to see where you stand. Insert a toothpick or knife into the center — if it comes out clean, they’re done.) Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting them out of the pan.