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Brownies: A Collection of Favorites

I grew up on doctored boxed brownies, so I actually did not bake brownies from scratch until my mid-twenties. Over the years I’ve tried many brownie recipes, only to find they were basically cake or not chewy enough, too sweet or not sweet enough. After many bakes, exploration and a bit of trial and error, I’ve created my favorite brownie recipe and I have a couple other options from some wonderful bakers I’d love to share with you here. What may or may not be surprising about brownies from scratch versus boxed mix is that brownies are truly so simple to make. Usually all you need is a whisk and a bowl. A few ingredients, some mixing and a decent amount of baking time easily creates one of the most well-loved desserts in our time. I personally favor a fudgy, rich brownie with a gooey texture that is loaded with nuts and some extra pieces of chocolate. Let’s get into it!

1. A fool-proof, staple brownie recipe that I keep coming back to is from Sarah Crawford at Broma Bakery. This recipe uses just enough of everything from butter to sugar and eggs to chocolate. I’ve found these brownies to have the perfect amount of chocolate and the instructions are straightforward. I’ve frosted these, added nuts and this time around, I’ve added peanut butter baking chips which we know is a winning combo. This may sound strange, but I love that there’s not a laundry list of ingredients; you are mixing the essentials here and the outcome is fantastic! Here’s the recipe:

2. These Fudgy Sweet Potato Brownies are shockingly delicious and filled with all the good stuff and can be enjoyed by everyone. Since working through some of my own health issues this year, I’ve cut out nearly all sugar on the regular, most dairy and have gone gluten-free and these brownies have been a life saver when I want a special treat. Don’t get me wrong, I still indulge from time to time but I could make these brownies on a weekly basis and feel good about it! Made with sweet potato puree, almond butter, and sweetened with maple syrup, these are just as incredible as a traditional brownie. The texture is thick and fudgy, and these are very chocolatey with just the slightest bit of earthiness at the end. If you never told me these were vegan and gluten-free, I wouldn’t have known.

3. Lunch Lady Brownies are as old school as they are delicious. From my memory, they’re typically topped with a chocolate frosting but I’ve sprinkled some powdered sugar on mine. This recipe is simple, straightforward and demands very little effort. Spread them in a jellyroll pan or 9 x 13 casserole dish and you have a delicious try or brownies in less than 30 minutes. For an even richer brownie, use Dutch-processed cocoa instead of regular baking cocoa.

4. My Soft and Fudgy Mocha Brownies are my go-to when I’m asked to bring a dessert to an event, or I want to treat friends, neighbors, or family. These are traditional brownies, elevated. The Dutch-processed cocoa is dark and adds an extra richness to these and the espresso enhances the chocolate flavor and compliments the mocha frosting. These are brownies to impress!

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