There are two types of homemade brownies - the kind you make to impress your friends and the kind you make to satisfy a craving.
When you are looking to impress your friends, you pull out all the stops. You grab the recipe that takes 2 hours, 3 different types of flour, fifteen bowls, and twelve hours in the oven (okay, I'm exaggerating, but you get the point).
When you are trying to satisfy a craving, you look for something fast and easy, something that won't require you to drive to the grocery store for ingredients or wash a lot of dishes afterward.
I had a brownie craving. Guess which kind of brownies I picked. :-)
I found a recipe on Tasty Kitchen that took only the ingredients I had in my cabinet, required only one bowl, and baked in less than 30 minutes. And these were good! I wouldn't be ashamed at all to feed these to my guests. In fact, now that I think about it, they may just be the perfect cross-over brownie...good for both situations. May I introduce you to Easy From-Scratch Brownies...
By the way, this is the only finished picture you are going to get...I ate them too fast to cut them up and make them look cute.
First, put 1/2 cup of butter in a mixing bowl and melt in the microwave. I obviously didn't measure this exactly...I was in too much of a hurry for chocolate. I didn't notice any negative side effects.
Add 1/2 cup of baking cocoa to the melted butter and mix well.
Add a cup of sugar, and mix it in.
Then add 2 eggs and beat those in until everything is nice and smooth.
At this point, add 1 teaspoon (or more, if you are like me) of vanilla, 1/4 t. salt, and 1/2 cup flour.
You might have noticed that I've used gluten-free flour in some of my recent recipes. I found a bag of it on clearance a few weeks ago and decided to try it out. Generally, gluten-free baking calls for a lot of ingredients, including xantham gum (it acts as a thickener in place of gluten). I haven't messed with the xantham gum or any of the other specialty products - I've just been adding the gluten-free flour to recipes in place of all-purpose flour to see how they would turn out.
Let me tell you...gluten-free flour works great in this recipe, even without the added xantham gum. The person who submitted the recipe to Tasty Kitchen also recommended using oat flour. I haven't tried that method yet, but it sounds delicious (and high in fiber!).
Okay, back to the brownies...
If you want to add any extras, this is the place to do it. I added the last few chocolate chips I had in the cabinet. I think nuts, marshmallows, dollops of peanut butter, etc. would all be great.
Stir everything together with a spoon - don't over-mix!
Pour into a greased 8x8 pan. Just for fun, I drizzled leftover caramel topping on the top of the brownies. It gave them a fun look after baked and tasted really good when the brownies were warm. I wouldn't recommend it if you plan on serving the brownies cold - the caramel gets a weird texture when not heated up.
Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool for a little while and then dive in to enjoy the chocolaty gooeyness. Just don't eat them all at once!
Easy From-Scratch Brownies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1 t. vanilla extract
1/4 t. salt
1/2 cup flour
Optional add-ins - chocolate chips, nuts, etc.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt butter; add cocoa and stir until mixed. Add the sugar and stir until well mixed. Add eggs, beating until well combined. Stir in vanilla, flour, salt, and any add-ins until just combined. Pour into a greased 8x8 pan and bake for 20-30 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean.