This is the only basic brownie recipe I will ever need or use. It is simple, easy, delicious, and can be doctored to your liking in many ways. I usually make them just like this, but in the past I have added chocolate pudding, which made them a bit fluffier/cake-ier, as well as chocolate chips which makes them more chocolatey! You could also add nuts, or whatever else your heart desires to the recipe to personalize them. This recipe makes a brownie that is moist, but not too rich.
I first experienced these brownies when I was only five years old… In 1997 my Grandfather, who us grandkids called Poppy passed away due to complications from a recent heart attack. My younger brother, Matthew, who was only two, and I were deemed to young to attend an open- casket funeral ( I am now very thankful for this for several reasons) so instead we were sent to the house of my mom’s life-long friend, our “Aunt” Lucille to play with her kids who were around our age. It was a strange and confusing experience. I was dressed up in all black because once the funeral was over, my brother and I would be picked up and brought to the dinner that followed. I knew Poppy had died, but I didn’t understand it- here I was being sent out for a play date!
Cousin Jack, Cousin Brian, Poppy, Matthew, Me, Meagan
Well, as we played, Aunt Lucille made us brownies from scratch. I can still remember clearly how good they smelled coming out of the oven, and watching her cut them into perfect squares. They were (and are) SO GOOD. We were all allowed a taste, and then the next thing I knew I was leaving, paper bag full of brownies (and the recipe!!!) in hand. Matthew and I were reunited with our big sister Meagan, parents, and the rest of the family at an Italian restaurant. Everyone was dressed nicely, in dark clothes, and I knew something sad had happened and Poppy wasn’t there, but everyone seemed happy as they reminisced over Poppy’s life. Needless to say, I did not understand what was happening, but I did understand that there was a bag of brownies waiting for me to gobble up later.
In psychology there is a lot of debate about so-called “flashbulb memories.” The most common example used is September 11th. Basically they are memories for emotionally impacting or important events, which people often have very detailed and vivid memories for. There is empirical controversy over whether these memories are actually better than normal memories, and I haven’t formed much of an opinion myself, but the events of that January day fifteen years ago are still fresh in my mind, and the same brownies are fresh in my belly! Though I wish Poppy had been around for more of my life, I will never be sad that I inherited this brownie recipe (Thank you, Aunt Lucille!!!).
- 3/4 cup salted butter, melted
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 large eggs
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Preheat oven to 350 Degrees.
- Grease an 8×8 pan with vegetable shortening and set aside.
- Mix butter, sugar, and vanilla in large bowl, then add eggs one at a time.
- In a separate medium bowl, mix flour, cocoa, and baking powder together.
- Slowly add flour mixture to egg mixture in even increments.
- Pour into greased pan and bake for 40-45 minutes.