Brownies, pure and simple

Why are the Moosewood Cookbook Brownies so legendary?  They are simple, deceptively rich, and taste doubley good after sitting in the kitchen for a night (that’s how you know a really good dessert, it gets better with a little bit of age). These brownies, pure and simple, are a vintage classic. An oldie but a goodie. Like when you see ______ (insert oldie but goodie film)  on tv after not having seen it for years and you can’t figure out why you let yourself go so long without seeing it.   Purely and simply, it was time for me to renew my long time love affair with a Moosewood classic.

I only had a half cup of butter to work with last night, but still wanted something of quality made with bittersweet chocolate.  When I bake my drug of choice is Ghirardelli bittersweet chocolate.  It’s a a higher quality but still not expensive enough to break my bank account if I bake two to three times a week.   Maybe its just me, but its HARD to find a chocolate recipe that only uses half a cup of butter.  If you know of any other quality chocolate dessert recipes that only call for a half cup of butter, post them up!

The way melted chocolate deepens in color as you mix it with other things like flour and sugar is beautiful.  The aesthetics of baking, if you take the time to notice them, are lovely in their subtlety.  Texture, smell, taste, color.  In something as simple as a brownie these four aspects of composition are perhaps even more powerfully experienced.  Enjoy them.


1/2 cup butter

3 squares (1 ounce each) unsweetened chocolate

1 cup lightly packed brown sugar

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

2 large eggs

1/2 cup unbleached white flour

*I deviated and used bittersweet chocolate, oops.*

  1. Preheat the oven to 350
  2. Butter an approx. 8 inch square baking pan
  3. In a heavy large pot, melt the butter and chocolate together, stirring occasionally.
  4. While they melt,  assemble the rest of ingredients (if mixing by hand, beat the eggs with a fork in a separate bowl).
  5. When the butter and chocolate have melted, remove the pot from the heat.
  6. Add the brown sugar and vanilla and beat by hand or with an electric mixer.
  7. Add the eggs (crack directly into the pot if using an electric mixer).
  8. Stir in the flour, and mix until the batter is thoroughly blended and smooth.
  9. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 20 minutes, until the brownies are just beginning to pull away from the sides of the pan and are fudgy in the center.
  10. For more cakelike brownies, bake and additional 5 minutes.