Dessert Directions: Brownies

I have decided start my quest to bake my way through Dessert for Two with the basics, such as chocolate chip cookies and the brownies I am presenting today. Everyone should have solid recipes for these classics on hand. Additionally, starting with the fundamentals will help me judge the quality of Lane’s recipes, since I consider myself to have a solid baseline for what a good cookie and brownie tastes like. After all, this is almost my 20th year consuming baked goods.

All of the ingredients for this recipe are the common staples for baking that you will probably already find in your pantry. I picked up a Ghirardelli bag, but I think the chocolate brand you pick will determine what your brownies taste like. I thought my brownies had an almost artificial chocolate taste to them, but both of my roommates thought they tasted fine. I occasionally make brownies from scratch; however, I am much more likely to use a boxed brownie mix, so this may be why I’m a little more sensitive to a taste difference. The recipe takes about 10 minutes prep time and 23 minutes cooking time:

Ingredients:
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup + 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
¼ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ teaspoon salt
1 large egg white
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup all-purpose flour

Steps:
1. Preheat oven to 325°F, line a 9 x 5 x 3- inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
2. In a bowl, microwave the butter, sugar, and cocoa powder for 30 seconds on HIGH. Stir, and microwave for another 30 seconds
3. Stir, and add salt and vanilla. Add the egg, and stir just until it is incorporated.
4. Sprinkle in the flour, and give the batter about fifty brisk strokes.
5. Spread the batter evenly in the pan. Bake for 23 minutes.

I did not own a fancy 9x5x3 inch loaf pan. I was, however, able to borrow muffin tins from my roommate. I adjusted the cooking time to about 15 minutes, but I would keep an eye on them if you do use muffin tins. Additionally, I do not know whether a precise fifty strokes will affect the consistency of the brownies; I just mixed mine until all the ingredients were blended together. Finally, I added chocolate chunks to my brownies, because I wanted an ultra-luxurious brownie. This recipe produced about six brownie-muffins, so there is a lower chance of you eating the entire brownie pan.

-Maggie Simon
Photos by Leah Sprague

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