I believe brownies were the very first cookie I ever made. I was nine. And, because of my lunatic father’s devotion to the wilds of Idaho, we were living in the Clearwater Mountains and cooking on a wood-burning stove. So you can see why I truly do not understand why anyone would make brownies from a mix. I mean, if a nine-year-old can make brownies from scratch and bake them in the oven of a wood-burning stove, anyone–absolutely anyone–can make brownies.
There are zillions of recipes for brownies. There are entire books devoted to variations, and I’ve tried a lot of them. This is my version. It’s easy enough for any nine-year-old to tackle, and the results are always delicious.
2/3 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup good cacao (I use Callebaut)
2 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cups chocolate chips
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
Heat the oven to 350 degrees (and take the time to appreciate the fact that you don’t have to chop the damned wood for it!). Grease a 9×11-inch baking pan.
Mix the cacao, vegetable oil, sugar, eggs and vanilla together. The batter should be smooth. Stir in the flour, baking powder and salt by hand. Don’t use a mixer; it will add too much air to the batter. Stir in the nuts and chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan and smooth the batter to fill the pan.
Bake for 22 to 25 minutes. Check at 22 minutes; brownies should always be slightly underbaked. You want crumbs to stick to the knife but you don’t the batter to still be liquid.
You can let the brownies cool before you cut them into bars, or you can just start digging them out with a spoon and eating them hot. I like them with vanilla ice cream melting over them.